Squirrels are relatively harmless creatures, but they will wreak havoc on your attic when given the chance. Squirrels frequently break into attics in the spring and fall when they need a place to nest. When inside, they dirty the insulation with feces and urine, forcing you to replace it for thousands of dollars. Squirrels have also been known to chew on electric cables, causing power outages and fire.
So, how do you keep them out? Check out the following tips.
Stop feeding the birds
Birds aren’t the only ones that love seeds. Squirrels, rats, mice, raccoons, and other pests love to come raiding bird feeders and den nearby. Get rid of the feeder, if you have one, and try growing native plants to attract the birds you like to watch. Plant colourful flowers, set up a bird house, and get a bird bath instead.
Squirrel-proof your roof vents and chimneys
Squirrels often get into the attic by chewing their way through plastic roof vent covers. Cover these with a 16-gauge, galvanized steel mesh to keep squirrels out. A half inch mesh works best. Shape the mesh to fit over the vent, then screw it right into the roof. Cover the chimney, too, and cover the rubber that surrounds your plumbing vents. If you can’t do it safely yourself, call a wildlife removal company or squirrel control expert. They have the right materials to do it right.
Seal the edges of your roof
Roofs expand and contract with the changes in season. With time, they sometimes split away from the framing of the house, creating gaps in their edges that let in squirrels and other wildlife. Squirrels can find these gaps and widen them with their teeth. If you can, bring out a ladder and examine the edges of your roof. Lift the shingles up gently and look for gaps. Then, seal them shut with metal flashing or mesh. A professional wildlife technician can also do this for you.
Clean the gutters
Squirrels use leaves, twigs, and branches to build their nests. With time, these materials get stuck in the gutters and attract squirrels, who may nest in the gutters or find a way into the attic from there. Clear out your gutters every spring and fall to prevent water damage and squirrel activity. Put on a pair of gloves and use a gutter scoop or your hands to get everything out. Finish by rinsing the gutters out.
Trim back the trees
Squirrels get onto the roof by climbing up the walls or using cables and trees. Reduce the amount of squirrel traffic you get by trimming back your trees a few feet away from the roof. Trees that hang over the roof are also a hazard; they could break during a storm and cause damage to the roof. They also shed leaves right into your gutters.
Cover your vegetable garden
Squirrels are omnivores, so there is no doubt that they will come raiding your vegetable patch. Protect your fruits and vegetables with hoops and row covers to keep squirrels out. They’ll continue to let the sunlight in without letting in squirrels. Hungry squirrels will go feed elsewhere.
Maintain the yard
Squirrels and other urban wildlife come to yards that are quiet and overgrown. Keep the grass trimmed and maintain your hedges and shrubs. Cut back your vines so they do not go far up the wall. Reduce clutter and rake the leaves in the fall. If you have a barbecue, keep it covered when you are not using it. The less food and foliage available, the better.