It’s a common problem: squirrels create holes in certain parts of our homes and make a nest there. They can get into attics, garages, basements, crawl spaces and a host of other inconvenient places.
Not only is it bad news for your structure and wires, it’s bad news for a squirrel who chews a live wire!
So, if you know you have a new squirrel inside your walls, attic or crawl space, get them out as soon as you notice the activity. Because once they have a viable nest, you’ll have to be a bit more strategic.
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Best Time to Seal Up a Squirrel’s Access Hole
Generally, before early spring or in the middle of fall or autumn will be ideal. Then, seal the hole as soon as you see the squirrel leave in the morning. Sealing squirrel holes at these times will significantly reduce the probability of killing babies, or trapping them inside.
But, the best laid plans require planning, and regardless of season, this requires a little planning and investigation on your part.
Why Squirrels Enter Homes
While certainly this is frustrating, you must exercise some compassion. Understand that your home was the best option for this squirrel. They want to live in trees, but maybe they lived in a tree that was just chopped down.
And with constant encroachments on forests, it creates a lack of space for the squirrels to nest. So, this squirrel found your home suitable enough for its needs.
The Reason Squirrels Chew Wood and Wires
Squirrels are destructive rodents but not in a malicious way. Squirrels need to chew because their teeth grow for their entire lives, which is why squirrels need lots of calcium.
If squirrels didn’t chew hard objects, they would suffer malocclusion (1r), which is when their teeth grow up into their nose and skull, ultimately killing them. So chewing hard items, including your rafters and wires, is out of necessity, and not intentionally, bad behavior.
So, let’s get a plan to save your home and the squirrel!
Squirrel Removal Plan
When you’re looking to seal the hole, avoid the willy nilly approach. A good plan will ensure squirrels don’t get trapped inside or separated from their mother.
If you do seal a hole with babies in the house and mom outside, she will find a way around this and further damage your property. This frequently happens when squirrels gain access to your cars.
Ergo, you have to evaluate the problem.
Ask yourself the following:
- How many squirrels are residing in your home?
- When did you first notice them?
- Are there any babies or juveniles?
- How big is the hole they created?
- Aside from structural damage, did the squirrel(s) destroy electrical wiring, plumbing, gas lines and etc.?
- What kinds of problems is it creating for you and how urgent are they?
Remove Squirrels: DIY or Pro?
Once you’ve answered these questions, consider the level of urgency in removing the squirrels and sealing the hole.
For instance, if you have a serious infestation of squirrels wreaking havoc on your power lines, then call a professional.
You can’t handle this alone.
Mom with Babies
But, if you have a mother with a handful babies and there’s no wires or utilities for them to access, your problem is rather mild.
Yes, it’s a horrible nuisance, and you’ll have to do some major disinfecting, but you can probably handle this on your own with a little tact and patience. More on this later….
One Wayward Squirrel
In the event you only have one squirrel without babies around, if the whether is not freezing, you can simply wait for the squirrel to leave for the day (usually right after dawn) and seal up the hole.
But, you should first time the squirrel’s activity so you know how much time you have to seal it.
You could also blast a heavy metal radio station inside the nest and/or aim a strobe light into the space. Squirrels like their beauty sleep and if it’s too loud or makes them dizzy, they may vacate on their own within a couple of days.
Extra Care when It’s Moms with Babies
For a mother with babies, you must wait until they are old enough to leave the nest on their own before you evict them.
Please note that the time of year matters. If you eject a mother and her babies in the dead of winter, they will die – yes, all of them, possibly even the mother.
If this is your situation, it’s best to lookup your city, or county and search for “wildlife rehabilitation” or “licensed wildlife center.
Often, they can be of great support over the phone and assist you with a solid plan.
TIP: If this is happening to you, you might want to invest in a deer antler or cuttlebone and toss it where they are living. That’s because a squirrel would much rather chew these calcium rich supplements, than your wood or wires.
If the whether is really nice out and you can commit to protecting the babies from predators, you may be able to try a one-way door to the hole. When the mother has left to go fetch some food, she won’t be able to get back in when she returns.
This should buy you enough time to grab any babies or juveniles and put them outside. Ideally, place the babies somewhere the mother can see them when she returns.
While the you handle the babies, you may notice them making noises or sounds of distress. It’ll sound like high-pitched chirping or screaming.
If you can, record this noise. This is because if the mother doesn’t see where you placed the babies, you can play this sound loud near them and she’ll find them in no time.
Check Other Entry Points
When you finally have the nest clear with the seal in place, check every area of your property for gaps, holes and soffits that a squirrel can get into.
This means inspecting the edge of your roof (on your home and garage) and sealing up cracks, along with capping chimneys and vents with steel mesh.
All this will help ensure a reduced need to evict another squirrel. Unfortunately, if a squirrel wants to get in, it will find a way, regardless of your best efforts.
Once you’ve sealed up any possible places where a squirrel might reenter, then you have to make it undesirable for the squirrel to want to return.
This can be done with used cat litter, spikey mats that hurt their paws, or in severe cases, rodent repellants.
It’s always preferred to try the easy deterrents first.
A squirrel in your living space can be a serious problem and you should handle this with the utmost care and delicacy. Your first concern should be to NOT harm the animals so as to prevent further property damage.
For serious infestations, or when wires have been chewed, it’s probably best to call professionals for help.