Squirrels in the Attic!
By Chris Williams on November 19, 2012.
I’ve seen a lot of squirrels on our roof lately and I’m worried that they might be trying to get into our attic. They do that, don’t they?
They do. As fall approaches, young squirrels are fighting over winter territory since mom has kicked them out of the nest. And there are probably more squirrels than ever looking for nest sites in your yard thanks to our warmer weather. Squirrels usually build leaf nests in trees or den in tree holes, but occasionally a squirrel will decide that your home looks pretty warm and inviting. Often, gray squirrels or flying squirrels will move into an attic, or they may nest in wall voids, chimneys, garages, or sheds.
Squirrels get into attics by following tree branches that touch the roof, by jumping from nearby trees, by climbing walls (especially if brick or covered with ivy), or by traveling along cables or lines that enter your home near the roofline. Once on the roof, squirrels will enter through any existing opening, or they will chew an opening into the attic if they can find an edge to start from and if they want to get in there badly enough. They will often find a gap around attic vents, or dormer corners, edges of fascia boards, or even knot holes. They’ll gnaw to enlarge that gap to 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Weak wood from moisture or insect damage is especially attractive to squirrels looking for an opening.
Inside your attic, squirrels can do a great deal of chewing damage to wood, wallboard, ceilings, and most importantly, to electrical wiring. They will tear up insulation and other soft items to use for nest material. The nest is usually an accumulation of leaves, insulation, chewed up paper or fabric, or other soft materials.
Squirrels will urinate and defecate in the attic. Squirrel droppings are brown, oval, and smooth, and about ½-inch long. Squirrels also hoard food in the attic, leaving piles of nuts, seeds, chewed twigs and bark, pinecones, acorns, This hoarded food can attract insect pests. In the worst case scenario, squirrels can chew or find their way out of the attic into living spaces in your home.
Once squirrels have established a nest in an attic, it’s very difficult to convince them to leave. Give us a call. We are experts at handling nuisance wildlife problems. At Colonial, we have trained technicians who specialize in humanely removing squirrels and their nest material, and sealing up openings that squirrels can use to get inside. If you end up with squirrels in your attic, you definitely want to get them out of there before they do damage and before they have young, which can happen as early as February. If you don’t end up with squirrels in your attic this winter, have our techs come out and squirrel-proof your home anyway so that you don’t have to worry about this all over again come spring nesting time!