How Do I Know If I Have Squirrels In My Attic?
Sounds are the #1 complaint, and most obvious sign, of having squirrels in the attic. Odors may not be noticed right away, but be certain that squirrels will decide which area of your attic will be used as their personal bathroom throughout their stay.
Many homeowners are shocked to find that they have more than one family living inside their attic!
Homeowners will often hear clicking sounds coming from the ceiling as squirrels move throughout the attic or crawlspace.
Squirrel Sounds in Attics
Active at dusk and at dawn. You'll hear the most movement early morning and again towards sundown. Squirrels will leave the attic during the warmer parts of the day. Attics get hot quickly, and become too hot during the Summer.
Cooler Temperatures = More Noise During cooler seasons, you may report hearing much more noise. Scurrying, Scratching and Chewing are the most common noises. Chewing is the most dangerous because they could be ruining the integrity of your home and creating a fire hazard. Gray Squirrels will work diligently on your home and try to remain as undetected as possible when it comes to gaining access to your house.
Homeowners rarely catch a gray squirrel in the early stages of figuring out an entry point.
What if the noises are happening at night?
Flying squirrels, on the other hand, are nocturnal! Active throughout the night. You'll hear the most activity beginning at dusk, and on through the night. Chewing, Scratching, and Bumps are the most common noises. Flying Squirrels not only scurry, but they glide from place to place. Large Groups = High Noise Levels! Flying Squirrels live together in large groups. Groups can contain up to 15 adults per group! Flying Squirrels are much smaller than the Gray Squirrel, and can fit in tiny crevices around your attic. The entry points for Flying Squirrels are so small, they're hard to find. Homeowners can watch out for flying squirrel activity as they start to leave the attic at dusk.
Squirrel Odor In Attic
Odor is another tell-tale sign of squirrels in the attic. Squirrels will use portions of the attic as their bathroom, and this scent will be noticeable. In some cases, you will see staining in the ceiling or down a wall. Even if you do not hear the squirrels and you don't see any stains...if squirrels have been in your attic at one time, the odor of their occupation is still there. If there is a foul odor coming from the attic or seeping through a particular room, this means you have or have had tenants in the attic. Flying squirrels will also cause an odor from defecating/urinating in your attic.
Squirrel Nests in Attic
If you find...
A LARGE MOUND made up of Loosely Placed...
shredded paper goods
and your own insulation...THIS IS A Gray Squirrel's NEST
A SMALL MOUND made up for Softer Materials...
your own insulation...THIS IS A Flying Squirrel's NEST
Flying squirrels have nests that look soft and delicate. All materials used are cushy and come together neatly.
Gray squirrels have nests that look well-built, but a little sloppy. The materials used are much larger and loosely layered.
Damage to Attics by Squirrels Chewing Rafters or Beams
Squirrels may damage rafter beams, chew electrical wires, or generally disrupt things stored in attics and crawlspaces. The biggest threat squirrels pose to homeowners is the possibility of an electrical fire caused by a squirrel chewing on a wire.
Why Do Squirrels Inhabit Attics?
In their natural habitat, squirrels live in trees. Squirrels either choose a hole in a tree to call home, or build a squirrel's nests up high, and securely between branches. Attics are high, dark, warm, and rarely disturbed areas perfect for a squirrel to take refuge from the winter weather.
How often do you go into your own attic? If you rarely use your attic, this is ideal for a squirrel! Attics in houses offer security from the elements and protection from predators for squirrels.
Attics provide a space where squirrels can set up a warm home, store food, and raise a family every year.
Squirrels inhabit attics because of accessibility and security.
How Do Squirrels Enter The Attic?
Squirrels are experts at climbing, leaping and chewing. Squirrels can jump five feet in the air, and 10 feet from one point across to another.
Now consider how a squirrel deals with obstacles...a squirrel can pull apart terra cotta and slate roofs. A squirrel can chew straight through good quality shingles and sturdy wood to gain access to your house.
Aluminum fascia capping and louvered aluminum gable vents are not impenetrable to a squirrel. Brick is not impenetrable either! Have a loose chimney brick? Squirrels may spot this fault and push that brick in to gain entry.
Squirrels will often widen holes that were previously gaps in construction of fascia board or along ridges leading to attics and crawlspaces. Attic gable vents are favorites for squirrel entry and damage.
How small does a hole have to be for a squirrels to enter?
Gray Squirrels can move through a hole about the size of a US Quarter.
Flying Squirrels can fit through a hole the size of a US Nickle.
Although squirrels can fit into a small entry point, they will widen these holes to make travel easier. Squirrels often will make an entrance and an exit hole into an attic or crawlspace. Squirrels want a quick escape from predators in case one hole is under attack! Squirrels will also mark the entry and exit holes as their territory.
Squirrels have the biting power of 22,000 pounds per square inch. They have deep masseter muscles that facilitate this strong gnawing ability. Couple that squirrel trait with a squirrel's evergrowing teeth, and you can see why the squirrel is not only able to chew through some incredible material, but a squirrel must chew!
When you have teeth that are continuously growing, you have to keep them in check. Therefore, gnawing through materials is a must. Vents, pipes, shingles, fans, bricks, wood beams, and unfortunately live wires are all susceptible to squirrel gnawing and access.
If you have an existing hole or loose component to your home, the chances of a squirrel testing it out are high.
Feeding birds from a window mounted bird feeder can also feed nearby squirrels if the feeder is too easily climbed to or jumped on.
When Are Squirrels Most Active In Attics?
You will hear squirrels scampering about your attic mainly at dusk and dawn. You will hear noises early morning, and again through the evening. A squirrel may work alone or in a group to access your attic. If working in a group, these squirrels will work in shifts. During the evening hours, squirrels will mainly chew from the inside of your attic to create their access point.
Remember: Squirrels will usually make two holes into an attic or crawlspace: one entry hole and one exit.
Squirrels move into attics when the weather starts to cool. Squirrels need to prepare for the Winter season by building squirrel nests and storing food!
From Autumn (sometimes late Summer) into Spring, is the stretch of time you will hear the most activity in your attic. Squirrels mate in early Winter and produce offspring by late Spring. A comfortable home is essential for a squirrel family and squirrels will often inhabit attics if trees in yards or nearby brush are cut down and a squirrel loses a nest.
The average squirrel litter consists of four babies. A second litter in mid summer is not uncommon.
What Should I Do First to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic?
With any squirrel problem, you should first do the things that help your situation:
Remove any nearby bird feeders
Secure garbage cans
Cutting tree limbs away from your roofline will all help you make your attic less accessible and less attractive to squirrels looking to get into an attic.
EVICTOR® Strobe Lights to Get Rid of Squirrels in Attics
The EVICTOR® is a high intensity strobe light designed for squirrels living in attics, crawlspaces and other darkened areas.
EVICTOR® strobe lights hang in an attic or crawlspace from a beam or rafter and emit a high intensity strobing light that will get rid of any squirrels living in your attic or crawlspace.
The pulsing EVICTOR® strobe light is too bright for a squirrels sensitive eyes and disrupts their natural living cycle. After hanging the EVICTOR® strobe light in an attic squirrels usually vacate within 1 to 2 days.
How many EVICTOR® strobe lights will you need to evict squirrels in your attic or crawlspace?
Each 10K unit covers up to 900 square feet or a 30' x 30' area. You will need to measure your attic or crawlspace and determine the approximate number of EVICTOR® strobe lights needed.
Many homeowners with a single story or split level home need only 1 light to permanently evict squirrels in their attic.
How Do I Approach my Attic when Squirrels are Living in the Attic?
Squirrels, especially with babies, can be aggressive.
Before entering your attic, knock on the attic door or ceiling area to alert the squirrels. Play a loud radio at the entrance to discourage any squirrels from approaching the entrance and encourage them to temporarily leave the attic.
If there is a drop staircase, you may slap it against the ceiling a few times before entering the attic. The noise will scare them away so that you can enter without any issues.
Shine a flash-light into the attic or crawlspace before entering to check if any squirrels are present of if there is a nest with babies.
Prepare Your Attic to Get Rid of Squirrels
Hang each EVICTOR® strobe light at about 3 feet above the floor in a central location.
You can also try to hang the EVICTOR® near the squirrel nest, if you have located it in your attic.
If squirrel babies are present, and the mother squirrel has not removed them, she will come back for her babies. In this instance it may be necessary to move the EVICTOR® strobe light away from the nesting area to a more central location.
Each EVICTOR® should plugged directly into an outlet. A GFCI outlet is recommended. We also recommend installing a switch between the outlet and the breaker that is located near the entrance to the attic or just outside the attic door.
The EVICTOR® does not have an ON/OFF switch, so a switch must be installed to turn the outlet ON and OFF.
You can have an electrician put in a switch outside your attic for the outlet(s) that are dedicated for EVICTOR® use. This way, once you leave your attic or crawlspace you can switch on the EVICTOR®
For the EVICTOR® strobe lights to work properly, the space must be uncluttered and as dark as possible.
No other light source should be present to interfere with the performance of the EVICTOR® while in use.
If there are windows in the attic, tape cardboard over them to block off any outside light. Gable vents may not emit enough light to interfere with the EVICTOR®.
Do not seal the Entrance/Exit holes for at least 30 days.
Allowing the squirrels to enter and see the Evictor® in use is necessary and will allow them time to relocate their nest to a nearby tree. Leaving the entrance and exit holes open will also allow time for squirrels to carry their babies to the new nest.
EVICTOR® strobe lights are the most effective method to evict squirrels from your home without killing, trapping, poisoning or other harmful methods. Squirrels are not harmed in any way by the EVICTOR®.
Replacement bulbs are easy to install. Don't be afraid to use the Evictor through the entire year.
Keep Squirrels Wild
Encourage Squirrels To Stay Out Of Your Home
If necessary, close the holes thirty days after your EVICTOR® strobe light installation.
DO NOT close holes before you've started the process in this guide. You want to avoid additional damage! Squirrels will chew new holes to gain entry if the holes are closed too soon.
However, you want to leave a small opening for the squirrels to SEE inside your previously occupied attic/crawl space.
This way, whenever a squirrel ventures back to your house, a view of the strobe light is a REMINDER that this is one place they do not want to go back into.
Having the EVICTOR® Strobe Light visible to any returning squirrels serves as a reminder that your house is a place they don't want to live in.
To accelerate the squirrels move out date, and encourage living outdoors, it is recommended you install a squirrel box in your yard in a nearby tree.
Squirrel boxes provide a quick place for a squirrel to call home, rather than having the squirrels take the time to build an entirely new nest.
WARNING: REMOVING ANY SQUIRREL FECES/URINE/CONTAMINATED MATERIAL MAY PUT YOU AT RISK OF POTENTIAL BIOHAZARDS. BE SURE YOU HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THESE RISKS OR CONTACT A SPECIALIST.