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How to Keep Squirrels Out of a House

Squirrels can wreak havoc if they find their way into your house. While many squirrels use existing openings or holes to enter your home, they are capable of chewing through wood and can cause substantial damage to fascia, trim and roofs. Keeping up with basic home maintenance is the key to keeping squirrels out of your house.

Trim back tree branches at least 10 to 15 feet from your home. Squirrels use branches as a convenient pathway to your home. Check branches each spring and fall for growth.

Inspect your home several times per year, looking for small openings that squirrels or other small animals could use to enter. If you find an opening, replace the damaged wood or cover the hole with 1/4-inch wire mesh hardware cloth. If the hole is very tiny, push steel wool into it, completely covering the opening.

Cap your chimney. Squirrels are drawn to the heat from your chimney in cooler months, but the carbon monoxide produced by a furnace can kill them. When they die, they fall down your chimney. Often you won’t know this has happened until you smell a very unpleasant odor in your house. If you can’t reach the squirrel, you will have to pay for an exterminator to come to your house and remove it, which can be costly.

If squirrels are entering your attic and you haven’t been able to determine how they are entering, consider buying a strobe light specially made to repel squirrels. While the light does not hurt the squirrels, it bothers their eyes, encouraging most squirrels to find another home.

Things You Will Need

  • 1/4-inch hardware cloth
  • Steel wool
  • Replacement wood
  • Saw for trimming branches
  • Strobe light
  • Hav-a-hart trap

Tip

  • If you have squirrels in your home, be sure to remove all of them before sealing any openings or holes. You can buy Hav-a-hart traps at many home improvement stores. Humane societies sometimes rent these traps and you may want to check with your local humane society before buying a trap. Havahart traps capture squirrels without killing them. Once you have caught a squirrel, you can release it outside. Be sure to release the squirrel at least five miles away from your home or it may find its way back.

Warning

  • Don’t use poison to kill squirrels. In addition to being inhumane, poisoning squirrels may result in a squirrel dying in the attic or walls of your home. Dead squirrels can be hard to find and remove without tearing apart your walls.

About the Author

Working at a humane society allowed Jill Leviticus to combine her business management experience with her love of animals. Leviticus has a journalism degree from Lock Haven University, has written for Nonprofit Management Report, Volunteer Management Report and Healthy Pet, and has worked in the healthcare field.