Did you know that squirrels do not hibernate, but instead build nests to stay warm throughout the winter? These are busy little animals in the fall, running around, burying acorns, and gathering nesting materials. They’re cute – I love watching them run around in our backyard! – but you don’t want them in your attic; just ask my next-door neighbour! Squirrels will chew on electrical wires, damage the insulation, and cause a stench. Best to leave them outside, where they belong. Learn how to prevent squirrels from entering your attic this fall by reading the following tips:
Get Rid of Food in Your Yard
Squirrels come nesting in attics where they can access nearby food. So, do what you can to restrict their access to food. Use lidded garbage cans and store them away from the house, in a shed or garage. Switch to squirrel-proof bird feeders or hang feeders from branches, far enough away that it is hard for squirrels to reach. Cover your vegetables with mesh and pick up fruit as soon as they have fallen.
Clean the Gutters
Gutters get blocked with leaves and twigs, which are the materials that squirrels use to build their nests, as well as acorns. Squirrels will nest in the gutters or come looking for food if they are not clean, then make their way into your attic. To prevent squirrels from entering your attic, clean your gutters every spring and every fall. Scoop everything out, then run a hose down the gutters to make sure that they are not blocked.
Trim Trees Back
If there are large trees on your property, make sure that their branches do not hang over your roof. Trim them a few feet away from the roof to make it harder for squirrels to jump onto your roof. Branches that hang over the roof also clog the gutters in the fall, potentially causing them to break. You should also trim any vines on the walls and move large plants away from the sides of your home. Call an arborist if you cannot trim the tree branches yourself.
Protect Your Soffits
Soffits are popular entryways for squirrels because they can be chewed and pushed through. Check your soffits for holes and damage, then repair them by patching holes with steel mesh. Look for spaces between your soffits and the walls of your home, then seal them shut with silicone caulking or more mesh. Reinforce the soffits sitting above the downspouts with steel mesh as well. Squirrels and raccoons like to use downspouts as leverage to push and chew their way into the attic.
Keep the Attic Clean
If you store things in your attic, avoid putting anything up there that is edible, like Halloween candy or edible Christmas decorations. Squirrels and other pests can smell this food from a mile away. Store things in clean, plastic containers and keep the attic free of food.
Cover Roof Vents
Squirrels have strong teeth that never stop growing. This allows them to chew through tough materials like wood, plastic, aluminum, and rubber. Squirrels often reach the attic by chewing through the roof vents, so you should cover vents with a thick steel mesh. You can purchase 16-gauge, galvanized steel mesh from the hardware store or by contacting a wildlife removal company. Screw the mesh over your roof vents and chimneys to keep pests out. Cover the mat that surrounds the plumbing vent as well.
Seal the Edges of Your Roof
The edges of your roof are vulnerable to animal entry because, with time, they often split away from the house. Natural wear and tear create a divide along the dripline of the roof, which results in openings for squirrels to chew through. If you can, check the edges of your roof carefully. Run your fingers along the edges and gently lift the shingles to check. Seal any gaps you find with caulking, mesh, or metal flashing.
Use Natural Squirrel Deterrents
Spray some apple cider vinegar onto the edges of the roof to keep squirrels away. Apple cider vinegar smells like predator urine, so squirrels tend to avoid it. You can also sprinkle cayenne pepper and hot pepper flakes in your garden to keep squirrels out. The heat of the spices will help prevent squirrels from eating your plants.
Hire a Wildlife Removal Company for Help
If your efforts fail to prevent squirrels from entering your attic, wildlife removal companies provide squirrel-proofing in addition to their squirrel removal services. They will inspect your roof, pointing out potential entry points squirrels could use in the future. After the inspection, they will squirrel-proof everything to ensure that no squirrels can get in. Many companies offer warranties with their services, so it is worth checking out. This kind of investment will protect your attic from severe animal damages for years to come.
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