Can you hear tiny taps and weird noises behind your walls? It’s not a ghost, but rather a more ominous problem: squirrels. As winter inches closer, squirrels will look for a safer place to get through the snowy season. Unfortunately, your well-heated home is the most convenient and attractive refuge. If you discovered the critter indoors, you should know how to get rid of squirrels in the walls as soon as possible.
In this post, we discussed signs of a squirrel problem and how you can get rid of it safely and using humane methods.
How to get rid of squirrels in the walls
If you confirm that your walls are harboring squirrels, it’s time to perform removal steps. Take note that you should only use humane and non-violent solutions. While squirrels can be pests, it’s not humane to kill them.
Instead, you should do these steps:
Step 1. Find and seal the exit point
First, locate the exit and entry points of the squirrels on your walls. You can do this by putting an ear to your walls. And if you have one, a stethoscope can greatly help in detecting sounds and movement inside.
The most common hideout of squirrels is in the attic. This spot is often undisturbed, giving them a peaceful refuge. Also, attics have easy access outdoors, especially if the squirrels chewed a hole into the roofing material.
Once you found holes on your wall, place a small mound of flour near each one. Leave it for one to two days and see which one of the holes has the most disturbed flour. That one is the main entry point.
Upon identifying the main entry point, you now have to seal other holes you found. Remember that you need to keep the main entry point open for the next step.
Step 2. Set up a bait and trap
In the main entry point and other holes you left open, set up a bait trap. You need to use box traps (at least two feet long) similar to the ones used to trap live rodents for release later on. Its door is spring-loaded and will shut tight once the squirrel bites the bait sticking on the trigger.
Peanut butter is a good bait for squirrels as they can’t resist the nut smell. Smear a dollop into the trap trigger to encourage the critter to lick vigorously. Aside from peanut butter, you can also use marshmallows or bread. Feel free to try a bunch of food items to see which lures the most squirrels.
You can keep and feed the live squirrels in a larger cage until you caught enough for release. We recommend driving at least three miles from your home and then releasing the squirrels back to the wild. Preferably, choose a spot with trees or near a forest where they can find a home.
Remember that poisoning squirrels in your walls aren’t practical. First, it’s inhumane. Second, it will require a massive cleanup since you have to remove the carcasses. This includes peeling your wall off, which isn’t the cheapest way to go with the infestation.
Step 3. Repeat until all squirrels are gone
Keep placing the traps back until no squirrels are being caught for days. Take note that you should check the trap daily so the squirrel you caught won’t die or starve.
Overall, you should keep setting up traps and wait for a whole week with no squirrel sighting before stopping the operation.
Step 4. Seal and monitor
Next, seal all the holes and monitor your walls for the next few days. Make sure that you put an ear on it to check whether there’s still movement inside.
Since there could still be squirrels hiding inside, it’s best to use a temporary sealant. This way, you can open the holes again and set up a trap. Overall, it’s safe to assume that the infestation is gone if it’s been 3 to 4 days without any squirrel sounds.
Step 5. Clean up the space
Lastly, clean up the area where the squirrels have nested. Make sure that you disinfect walls, floors, and surfaces critters could have touched.
After that, you can seal the walls permanently to prevent pests and moisture from getting in.
Signs that you have a squirrel problem at home
While squirrels are sneaky enough to enter your home unnoticed, they aren’t as inconspicuous as other pests. These critters often give themselves away with the following signs:
- Scurrying and scratching. Squirrels will produce a series of tiny sounds inside the walls. You’ll notice pitter-patter, chirping, and squeaking. Take note that the same sounds can also be a sign of a rodent infestation instead.
- Squirrel droppings. Squirrels often get in and out of their hiding places to collect food. In the process, they may leave droppings around the house or near the walls they infest.
- Foul smell. In just a matter of weeks, the squirrel infestation behind your walls will emit a foul smell. This is due to the feces and urine squirrels produce. And if a squirrel gets trapped and dies, the stench will be horrible and intolerable.
- Chewing damage on exterior walls. If you see damage on your exterior walls, which resembles tiny teeth, you should suspect a squirrel or rodent infestation. These damages can also be seen in your roofing, which squirrels use as an entry and exit point.
- Seeping moisture. Does your wall look like it has water damage? Before you call for a water damage remediation service, you may want to give it a sniff. It could be squirrel urine pooling behind your walls.
It’s important to perform removal steps once you notice these symptoms. The longer squirrels stay inside your home, the more damage they could cause.
Hazards squirrels bring to your home
Squirrels will become destructive animals once they infiltrated your home. Here are some of the hazards and health risks they may pose:
- Insulation damage. Squirrels can gnaw through your insulation to create nests. This will make your heating system less efficient during winter.
- Wiring damage. As with wall material, squirrels can chew electrical wiring. This can lead to a fire and expensive damages in the long run.
- Leptospirosis. Squirrels are notorious carriers of the Leptospirosis bacteria, which is transmissible to humans. It can cause jaundice, fever, vomiting, and even life-threatening consequences if not treated properly.
- Salmonellosis. Salmonella is present in squirrel feces, which can spread as the animal navigates your home. And since squirrels can target your kitchen for food, salmonella may transfer to your food left on the counter.
- Tick and flea infestations. Squirrels are hosts to fleas and ticks, which could spread to your household pets. Take note that ticks and fleas also bite humans for blood
The most effective solution: professional pest control service
If you don’t want to go through all the steps above, the best solution is a professional pest control service. Make sure that you hire a company that practices humane squirrel removal.
Take note that squirrels can get aggressive when handled, so it’s best to let a professional deal with them. This is the case if the infestation is massive and multiple walls in your home have critters nesting in them.
Moreover, professional pest control specialists are trained to handle wildlife properly. They will also release the squirrels in the wild and ensure that they won’t find their way back to your home.
While this service costs a fee, it provides a safe and guaranteed way to get rid of squirrels on your walls. The specialist can also check whether there are squirrels still left inside using specialized tools.
Some of them use thermography imaging to detect the specific spot where the squirrel is located inside the wall. Others also use camera probes, similar to an endoscope.
Why are squirrels attracted to my house?
Squirrels become attracted to your home because of the following reasons:
- Food source. A house is an endless food source for squirrels. As they hide inside your walls, they can sneak into the kitchen or garbage can for sustenance. Unfortunately, this can lead to food contamination at home.
- Warmth. During winter, squirrels look for a warm space to survive the freezing temperatures. Your home offers this safety, especially within the walls. They will nest inside your walls using insulation material and other items they can chew.
- Predators outside. Threatened squirrels will find a way to escape predators. This could mean hiding inside your house walls. Some of the notorious squirrel predators are weasels, coyotes, and raccoons. If your area has a large population of these animals, squirrels may try to seek safety in your home.
- Entry points. Squirrels wander around to find food and better shelter. If they stumble upon an entry point to your home, the critter will not hesitate to tour itself inside. This is often the case in neglected attics where squirrel nests can be left unnoticed for months.
How to protect your home from squirrels
After the squirrels have been removed from your house walls, it’s important to observe preventive methods. This is to ensure that the critters won’t re-infest your home.
Here are some of the steps you can take:
1. Trim outdoor trees
It’s important to cut overhanging tree branches over your roof. Squirrels and rodents can use this as a bridge to access your roof and eventually chew their way in.
As much as possible, no tree branch is touching or too near any part of your house. The same goes for branches near the telephone or electrical lines.
Aside from trees, you should also trim overgrown bushes where squirrels may hide or use as camouflage in your garden.
2. Keep bird feeders away from your home
Squirrels are specifically attracted to bird feeders since it’s packed with food. If you have a bird feeder, relocate it as far away as possible from your house. This way, squirrels won’t be attracted to your property and invade your house walls.
While it’s fun to watch birds flock to your yard, it can also lure squirrels. Over time, squirrels may nest on your property to stay close to the food source.
3. Cover your garbage bins
Squirrels are dumpster divers who will feed on food leftovers in the garbage can. This is why you should cover your trash bins at all times. Aside from squirrels, open garbage cans also attract raccoons, rats, skunks, and other pests.
Also, you should consider switching to metal garbage cans if squirrels keep chewing on plastic ones.
4. Fix rotting fascia, siding, and roofing
Squirrels can get into your home easily by chewing their way through rotting roof shingles, fascia, or sidings. It’s important to repair these parts to block the entry of critters and other pests.
You should also inspect your roof from time to time. Check for holes, which may indicate the entry of squirrels into your house.
5. Stop feeding the squirrels
Many people are guilty of intentionally feeding squirrels by hand. While this isn’t a bad thing, such a habit can attract squirrels into your home. It also takes away the wildlife’s fear of humans, so it’s not surprising that they will help themselves in your house.
If you want to feed squirrels, do it in the park, forest, and other open areas. It’s not a good idea to do it in your yard.
Methods on how to get rid of squirrels in the walls should always be safe and humane. Live traps are the best way to deal with these critters, so you can release them back into the wild. But if you don’t want to do it on your own, you can always call a professional pest removal service.