WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT A SQUIRREL IN THE ATTIC?
By Chris Williams on April 27, 2017.
When some people discover that they have a squirrel, or squirrels, living in their attic, they immediately freak out. They can’t get that squirrel out of there fast enough. Other people are more laid back, if the squirrel’s not bothering them, they’re not going to bother it. Let me tell you a bit about the secret life of those squirrels in your attic!
Chewing and Gnawing Damage – The damage to your home begins even before the squirrel ends up inside. Most squirrel entry points are at the roof level and open directly into the attic space. Squirrels will sometimes enlarge an existing gap, or take advantage of a knothole, torn screen, or water-damaged wood. But it’s no problem for a gray squirrel to gnaw a hole 3-4 inches across to gain entry.
Once inside the attic, the gnawing continues, and can even become hazardous to your health. A pregnant squirrel will chew up stored materials, or insulation, fabric, or paper to use in her nest. Squirrels will also chew, sometimes without purpose, on wallboard, ceilings, joists, and most importantly on cables and electrical wires that can cause a short or fire.
Odor Issues from Resident Squirrels- Squirrels that have set up housekeeping in an attic are going to smell. Foul odors can seep into living spaces below through attic fans, ceiling vents, light fixtures, and any other penetrations. The smells are from an accumulation of fecal droppings and urine, and even hoarded or rotting food. Flying squirrels will leave carcasses of dead mice in an attic. They also tend to use a communal toilet space in one area of the attic, sometimes resulting in brown stains running down inside walls or outside siding. You may get odors from dead squirrels too, especially if the attic opening is sealed up when squirrel babies are inside.
Insects and Parasites from Resident Squirrels – Squirrels will hoard food in an attic (nuts, seeds, chewed twigs and bark, pinecones, acorns) and that food can attract insect pests that feed on these items and which can also infest stored foods in your kitchen pantry. Indianmeal moths and sawtoothed grain beetles are two examples. These two stored food pests will feed on just about anything.
Mouse or squirrel carcasses in your attic will attract a different group of insects such as blow flies or hide beetles that feed on dead animals.
Finally, there is the risk of squirrel parasites moving into living spaces. Like most animals, squirrels have their own blood-sucking parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites that can live either on the squirrels or in their nests. If the squirrels leave, die, or are removed, these parasites will wander looking for new hosts to feed on. They may attempt to feed on people or pets but they usually don’t survive long away from their preferred host animal.
So, think again, if you think that pregnant squirrel in the attic is no problem. And please don’t try to remove it or block it out on your own. That almost always makes the problem worse. Read Why You Should Call a Professional for Squirrels in Your Attic to see what we’re talking about, and then give Colonial Pest a call.
Photo Credit : Pixabay