squirrel on roof image

Attic Invaders

When you have a squirrel in the attic, your first response is likely a logical one: an overriding desire to get them out, and fast.

Sometimes, though, a well-intentioned effort to eliminate a pest entry point can backfire.

Depending on the time of year, certain pests may be having their young, and the results can be disastrous if exclusion work coincides.

“You have to know when it’s OK to exclude these kinds of pests. If a mother squirrel is up in an attic with her babies, and then you exclude her, she’ll tear down the house to get back in there.”
– Jennifer Brumfield, Training and Technical Specialist

Finding a Squirrel in the Attic

Squirrels can come into attics through holes the size of a golf ball to raise young or escape the cold. Common points of entry include:

  • Areas where utility lines enter walls.
  • Crevices around eaves and vents.

Another way the pests enter is through uncapped chimneys.

The first sign there’s a squirrel in the attic is typically hearing scratching and scampering sounds during the day, when the pests are active.

Damage Caused

Attics provide a wide variety of resources invaluable to a squirrel.

To wear down their constantly growing teeth, squirrels gnaw through:

  • Boards
  • Electrical wiring
  • Plastic water pipes

The pests are even known to chew their way through ceilings.

Unfortunately, having squirrels in the attic is always detrimental to homeowners. Piles of feces and urine create not only a foul odor, but also the risk of disease.

In addition, their acorn and seed caches can attract other unwelcome pests like rats, mice, and birds.

Attic Nests

Expecting mothers frequently see attics as the ideal place to safely raise their young.

One must be careful that mother squirrels in the attic are not removed without their young or the mother will frantically try to reenter.

Nests are usually located near openings such as unscreened vents or loose and rotten trim boards. They are typically made of readily available materials like insulation, cardboard, and leaves.

Problems with Squirrels

Sometimes, squirrels in the attic fall into wall voids. Pests in this unfortunate situation often end up dying there, creating a foul stench that travels long distances.

Trying to locate and remove these carcasses before the smell gets worse or begins to attract insects can be a difficult and costly process.

Dead or alive, a squirrel may also transmit diseases such as:

  • Tularemia
  • Plague
  • Encephalitis
  • Colorado tick fever

Getting Rid of Squirrels in Attics

Prevention requires that all holes the size of a golf ball or larger be covered with metal flashing or steel wool.

The inside of chimneys should be checked for loose or broken bricks, and all vents in the attic should be covered with screens.

Due to the high risk of damage, if there’s a squirrel in the attic already, it’s best to enlist professional removal services from Western Pest as soon as possible.

Additional Issues

Along with potential damage, if excluded pests try to get back in to their nests, aggression can be an issue, and it can be dangerous to try to remove them yourself.

Homeowners sometimes misuse traps, or put them in the wrong place. Western specializes in humane treatment of these types of pests, so consider calling a professional.


Learn more about Western’s comprehensive Home Pest Control Plans.

Call for service: (877) 250-3857