Squirrels in the attic can be a big and messy problem. While most squirrels do not carry serious diseases, squirrels can actually make you sick indirectly. Getting rid of squirrels in the attic and other areas of the home is sometimes difficult but it must be done to insure the safety of your health and your home.
How can a squirrel make you sick indirectly?
Well think about this for a moment. A squirrel comes into the attic typically through the eaves and burrow through the walls chewing through wood and insulation. Now think about this, many homes have been insulated with asbestos insulation. Asbestos insulation that is damaged will release asbestos fibers into the air causing harmful dust. The dust makes its way through the house as it falls onto items being stored in the attic. The items are brought downstairs into the living quarters. Even worse yet, you’ve converted your attic into a bedroom or other living space and you and your family are getting even more exposure to asbestos. The asbestos dust gets inhaled and may potentially cause lung cancer and other illnesses.
How can squirrels damage the home?
Squirrels chew through wood, wires, insulation and more. Squirrels chewing through wires may cause house fires. Thankfully, homes that are up to code should have most, if not all, of their house wires encased in a metal tube that squirrels cannot chew through.
Squirrels can chew holes through the eaves of your home which could cause water damage which may then cause mold or black mold to get into the home. Black mold is extremely dangerous and difficult to remove without a professional.
Squirrels can chew through wood floors causing damage that may be very expensive to repair.
Having a squirrel run around your attic for even one day can cause a lot of damage. Trust me on this one, I know it first hand! It took an entire day and then some to clean up and repair the damage. In our case, the squirrel got into the attic and chewed its way through the floor. Then the squirrel ran around the attic, urinating and leaving fecal matter every few inches. It left muddy foot prints everywhere. Then apparently chewed its way to the second floor of our home through a closet and ran around the house making a mess like you wouldn’t believe.
How do you get rid of squirrels in the attic?
In a nutshell, you have to remove all access into the attic so that the squirrel cannot get into the attic. This may mean chopping down trees that squirrels can leap from to get into your home. In some cases, trimming the tree back is all you need to do. You may be thinking, how far can a squirrel jump? The average squirrel can jump 10 feet. That means if you have any branches within 10 feet of your home, a squirrel can makes its way into the attic and other areas of the home.
Even after you remove trees and branches, a squirrel that has made it into your home before is going to try very hard to get back in. You’ll have to seal off all access to your home. Use steel wool or wire thath to cover the squirrels entry holes.
Squirrels may also be walking the telephone and electric lines to get into your home. Use squirrel predator decoys when and where possible to keep them off the lines. Owl decoys prevent squirrels and birds from getting into attic eaves so this may be a good choice if you are also getting birds nests in your attic eaves.