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How do you get rid of squirrels in your home?

Sue Sanders Last reply on Jul 11, 2016

As I chronicled in my recent blog post on squirrel eradication, our family has had the recurring problem of furry vermin taking up residence in our attic and chewing on our wires! I've received some tips from my readers on how to send the "limb rats" packing for good, including using mothballs or oil of peppermint. I've tried the mothball method but would not recommend it (read why here: http://bit.ly/15aWp56). However, I have yet to try the oil of peppermint. I was wondering if anyone else struggles with squirrels wreaking havoc in their homes and what methods have worked to get rid of them. Sound off ...

Ever felt like you're the subject of an Alfred Hitchcock film? I did after I caught this guy eyeing me up from the other side of our master bedroom window.
10  of  36 comments
  • Patty A
    Patty A New Milford, CT
    on Jul 11, 2013

    had numerous families birthing squirrels up there over several years of me trying everything to get rid of them. The only way is to trap them and move them more than 7 miles away. I paid a professional 650.00 dollars to check the traps every day and remove. The mother actually charged him and me to protect her babies. Very tenacious . Afterwards, you need to seal any opening, however small, with wire. Been 3 years squirrel free...they had been imprinted to continue getting in so nothing worked but removing entire family.

  • Nita Johnson
    Nita Johnson Katy, TX
    on Jul 13, 2013

    I see posts here that the major part of the solution is to find the source of entry first. WRONG! If you do find it first - cover it with saran wrap or something they can get through. You will be able to determine if they are still coming in or out by checking the wrap until you can make sure they are eradicated. Figure out what method you will use to get rid of them. There are several good options posted here. Be prepared to try more than one method. I personally, have had success with the sonar plug-ins strategically placed. Sometimes this required running extension cords up to the attic to get them in the right locations to do the trick. If you plug up their entry, first; they have no way to get out - regardless of what outside pest it is. If they are trapped inside they will continue to do damage where they are until they die. Then you have them getting between walls and other bad spots. You can't get to them to get rid of the dead smelly carcasses without some MAJOR sheetrock and structural repair. After eradication, you will need to get wiring inspected to make sure there are no future fire hazzards. I would recommend this is where you get the professional expenditure. If they don't die from being trapped inside; they can continue to populate for a long time. They can find water and food inside an attic easily from hvac water pans, etc.. Flush them out first......THEN fix the hole. Also, stuff the found entry with SOS pads before sealing it off from the outside.. They won't chew through that again if they decide to re-open the entry by chewing through where they know. Have a secondary backup elimination method for any that were reluctant to relocate after the hole is fixed. I don't know if the glue traps would work on squirrels. They come in assorted sizes and the larger ones would be worth a try. They are a good method to keep smaller pests from getting somewhere and dying in obscure places as a backup method. It is gruesome to check those traps, but a lot easier than crawling around everywhere up there trying to find where they died. Good luck.

  • Sia@South 47th
    Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
    on Jul 18, 2013

    I can emphasize with you after living on 10 acres in the country and having these little 'darlings' take up in our attic. I am all for natural, human remedies ( my nearest neighbour even suggested that HE come over to 'trap them' so he could eat them!), however with squirrels, and rats all gloves are OFF. Call in a PRO. They will survey and find any and all entry problems and FIX them. It isn't cheap, but for me? It was worth it. The best of luck to you in whatever decision you choose.

  • Sia@South 47th
    Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
    on Jul 21, 2013

    @Z You can also plant Peppermint around any 'vents' you have around the foundation, OR if on a raised foundation, then around the raised part. I did this for over a decade when I was in the Country and the mice didn't enter (though the places the peppermint was planted). Squirrels Raccoon's, Rats, Bats, Snakes, Black Widows, Brown Recluse....Peppermint won't keep them away. LOL!!!!

  • Z
    on Jul 21, 2013

    @Sia, that's too much trouble. LOL Besides we promised each other this year there will be NO plantings what so ever. Besides the cotton balls work perfectly. The only mouse that has gotten in our house since we started using them was accidentally brought inside in something I brought in from the garage. We are now using the cotton balls in the garage too.

  • Sia@South 47th
    Sia@South 47th Sacramento, CA
    on Jul 21, 2013

    @Z I completely understand!!! Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I use the cotton balls in ALL of my drawers, pantry, closets and anywhere else I can find to stuff them into. I made a list of the areas, with the dates they were put in, so I could 'refresh' them. hehehe Plus? I only use top of the line Peppermint Essential Oil. That seems to be the best for the horrible creepy mice. The cheap stuff didn't work for me at least. ;) And? I know I'm strange, but I wrap soaked and dried cotton on a stick, then light it, like a "Smudge" and let the smoke permeate areas of 'interest'. I also DIY Incense sticks and cones and burn those. (the cones work fab in the truck). Tells you how I hate MICE. LOL!!!

  • Z
    on Jul 21, 2013

    Hey no worries here. I'm good at keeping secrets. When hubby first read about this it said to only use 100% Pure Peppermint Oil that you find in a health food store and that's all we've ever used. It makes the house smell great too. As for scheduling it, we usually did it each October. I'm now working on my file card system again and it will have a reminder of when to do it.

  • Trina Moers
    Trina Moers Katy, TX
    on Jun 22, 2014

    Also if you are using only in the attic or in a storage area where you are sure that family pets won't get a hold of it, the amazing solution to not only squirrels but almost every bug in the Houston, Tx region to my knowledge so far ... Is Bay Leaves. Yes the bay leaves that you find in the spice section of your grocery store! In fact if you read the back label of the container it says very clearly "REMOVE BAY LEAVES BEFORE SERVING FOOD FOR CONSUMPTION"! It is crazy but it works! Although I am now going to try the peppermint method in addition to the Bay Leaves. Just one warning - BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO TRACK IT INTO HOUSE IF YOU HAVE CATS! My husband is deathly - and I mean carry an epi-pen throat closing deathly allergic to Flea & Tick treatments. And I have always used Bay Leaves in my storage units & my outdoor shed bc the Bay Leaves are toxic to the squirrels & other mammals. So yes you do have to do a daily check to make sure if there are any stupid enough to eat the leaves & not flee the area like ALMOST ALL IF THE SMARTER SQUIRRELS DO - momma's do not like setting up shop where their babies could eat toxic food - bc yes if you let an animal rot in the attic or WORSE IF A BABY FALLS OFF MOMMA & DIES IN WALLS - that is awful but just temporary as opposed to those demon critters burning your house down by chewing through wiring like mine had already done. The other VERY IMPORTANT step is to make sure if you have dogs or cats - do not accidentally track the Bay Leaves in the house with you. My 13 yr old cat got a hold of a leaf & did a little light munch b4 she spit it out & came to tell me that she had made an almost grave error. $2500 dollars later to flush her system, admit her to Emergency Animal hospital for 3 days, non stop IV fluids, & lots of prayers I had not killed my cat & she is fine. And that is why we call her "The Tank", she has survived more trauma that should've killed her, way more than 9 times but she is The Tank. But it is amazing to think we cook with something "natural" that warns you to remove it and no one knows it is actually very toxic!! Good luck w/ the squirrels bc anyone who has ever had to deal with them has all said the same "OHHHH NO! They are almost impossible to get rid of once they have moved into your home!!!

  • Mandy Loriot
    Mandy Loriot Lawrenceville, GA
    on Jan 10, 2016

    I am about to have our pest control company do an exclusion on our attic because we've heard what apparently are flying squirrels. They look kind of like chipmunks, and because our house was built in 1995 the roof edging was done in a way that has a gap under the roof edge that the flexible skeletal system of flying squirrels can snake through. With the exclusion letter they put galvanized steel on all of the open areas those pests get through, leave traps, an monitor them for several weeks to make sure none are trapped and left behind. It costs about 2K for our attic (house is huge) but it fixes the problem for good. I love the idea of mint, though, and it sounds like a wonderful plant to put in a few places (potted since it grows out of control otherwise) around in the landscaping.

  • Sue Sanders
    Sue Sanders Broken Arrow, OK
    on Jul 11, 2016

    To keep the pests from getting under the hood of your vehicles I was told to spay the wheel covers underneath with the Deer Begone spray at least twice a year. Had to have wiring replaced in my truck as it sits a lot as only use to haul off downed limbs and to take gas cans to station to get gas for my riding mower....now I spray. Almost need a list to keep up with all the things one needs to do.....keep dates on my calander to know when to change my filters every 3 months. Its a good idea to keep limbs trimmed away from your house to stop the pathway of other pests.

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