Squirrel in your attic? Now what?

Squirrel in your attic? A grey squirrel is more than just annoying.  A common grey squirrel can destroy insulation, damage wood siding by gnawing their way into your home and last but not least cause fires.  It’s a well documented fact that fires in residences of unknown origin are many times blamed on squirrels and mice chewing through live electric wires.  In this post were going to talk about the eastern grey squirrel; what it may be doing in your attic and how to get rid of them.

Basic grey squirrel biology

A Squirrel in the Attic of a Connecticut Home
Typical Eastern Grey Squirrel

The eastern grey squirrel is abundant in CT.  In fact, it’s a rare person in CT that can’t properly identify one.  Most people see them dead or alive in roads or climbing from tree to tree in their yard.   The eastern grey squirrel is predominately grey,but in northern areas like CT it’s not unusual to see some which are black.  They have two litters per year spring and late summer.  The number of young varies, but typically it’s 2-6.  The young are weaned in about 2 months and the average grey squirrel can live 8-10 years.  However, some captive squirrels have lived up to 15 years!!

Grey squirrels prefer mixed forest areas with nut bearing trees.  They’re active year round and primarily feed on the nuts they’re able to store to survive harsh winters.  Last, our lovely Ct grey squirrel has fine taste in living environments.  They build leaf ball nests at least 25 feet off the ground for the young, but would prefer hollow trees and your attic.  The population of the grey squirrel is about 6-18 per acre and they’re typically out and about from dawn till dusk.

Grey squirrels are fun 

Have you ever really watched a squirrel?  They’re so adept at climbing and aerial acrobatics that they can be very entertaining to watch.  These acrobatics are also the same reason why they’re likely able to gain access to your home.

How’d they get in and why are they there?

Grey squirrels are active chewers.  Most (not all) people who call our office and complain of squirrels can walk around the exterior of their home and find a softball sized chew hole somewhere near the roof line.  This hole is the entrance and exit hole for squirrel.  Some squirrels will also chew gable vents, water damaged gutter line areas or gain access where roof lines come together.  The reason for entering your attic is simple.  A squirrel can live far better while living in your attic than it could in a tree outside.  Squirrels are smart and very good at what they do.

Getting rid of the squirrel

Getting rid of a squirrel doesn’t have to be difficult.  There are 3 methods of control:

  1. Live trap catching
  2. Kill trap catching
  3. Exclusion

The method used is dependent upon the company that is providing the service.  However, there are some constants with the procedure:

  1. Prebaiting: Essentially this means that a trap is baited (peanut butter works well), but not set.  The offending animal will get used to seeing and using the trap for a food source and then becomes far easier to catch.
  2. Trap location:  Kill traps are typically placed around the gutter area, near entrance holes or other areas that have been observed to be active paths.  Using kill traps isn’t for everyone, but they’re effective if the person knows what they’re doing.
  3. Live traps:  Live traps can be used inside or out.  It’s far trickier and more labor intensive to do, but it can be effective.  Traps must be checked every 24 hours and the animal relocated off site to prevent reentry in the home.
  4. Exclusion: No squirrel job is complete without closing the area where the offending animal has gained entrance.  The best material to use for this is 1/4″ hardware cloth.  The cloth can be cut, bent and shaped to match the size of the hole and easily attached with nails and washers.  Hardware cloth is also very effective and stopping squirrels from damaging areas before they get in and gable louvers, water damaged siding etc.

If you have an animal in your attic and need help.  Call Envirocare Pest Control, LLC at 1-888-879-6481.  Our team of wildlife specialists can help diagnose and solve most all squirrel issues.