Keep squirrels out of your attic

Keep squirrels out of your attic by finding their access points, blocking entrances, and considering alternate ways they may be gaining entry into your house.

Unless your attic is part of your house's day-to-day living space, you may not be aware of animals that sometimes take liberty with its interior. Squirrels, as cute and fluffy tailed as they can be, are quite destructive when it comes to both entry into an attic and what they do once they have managed to get inside. Besides chewing apart items you might have stored to create bedding and nesting areas, they can potentially chew wiring, including electrical. They also will not give a second thought to using the space as a large litter box. For these reasons, keeping the squirrels out of the space to begin with should be your top priority.

Investigate to discover where they are gaining entry. Also, examine the outside of the house to see if you can discern how they are getting up the side of your house to the roof area.

Are there any branches or trees close enough for a squirrel to gain access to your roof? Remember that they do not have to be touching, just relatively close. Squirrels are quite good at jumping moderate distances. Trim back branches at least six feet. Do not overlook downspouts. I once watched a squirrel scamper up a slightly rusty downspout all the way to the gutter at the roofline. From there he made a beeline across the roof directly into a window vent. The effort for him to climb the downspout was no more than it would be for the average person to walk across a room. If you have anything on the side of your house that can provide a foothold for a squirrel, you might as well put out a welcome mat. Consider lattice boards that you have for climbing plants, or any series of items that they could use as a ladder.

Once you have removed any potential ways that the squirrels may be gaining access to your roofline, figure out how they are actually getting inside the attic itself. If your house has an older style vent that is open slatted, a squirrel or other small animal will easily squeeze through. Cover the inside of the vent with heavy-duty ½" wire mesh. It may be tempting to go with a lightweight mesh, but squirrels will easily chew through too thin a wire.

Inspect areas around ductwork and pipes. Seal any openings, no matter how small and innocuous that you may feel them to be, with steel wool, patches of sheet metal, even small amounts of easy mix cement if necessary.

If you cannot find an entry point near the attic itself, consider that they may have entered your house via the ground floor. Do a search around the outside of your house looking for any small holes that may give a rodent access to your main floor or basement. Once inside, squirrels could easily move to the quiet of an attic. An older house that was resided without the old siding being removed could easily offer a ground floor entrance with direct access between the layers of siding to the upper floors of the house.

While many people feed birds and squirrels, do not make your house too tempting. Unless you purposely feed the squirrels, keep spilled birdfeed raked up from beneath feeders. Install squirrel proof poles and feeders to deter them from feeding on the birdfeed. Keep your cat and dog's food picked up between feedings if you feed them outside or on a porch. Squirrels are attracted to pet food as much as they are to birdseed.

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