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How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic

How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic

Remove the squirrels from your attic and take back your house!

If you’ve heard scratching sounds in your attic, you may have squirrels. Squirrels might be cute when they’re in your backyard, but you don’t want them to share your house—especially if they start to cause damage. Although getting rid of the squirrels in your home may seem impossible, you can take back ownership of your attic! Just follow our handy guide to eradicating squirrels from your attic, below.

[Edit]Things You Should Know

  • Drive the squirrels out by placing ammonia-soaked rags, bright lights, or commercial squirrel repellent near their nest.
  • Catch the squirrels with traps. Use a catch-and-release trap and let the squirrel go outside, or use a deathtrap.
  • Keep the squirrels out by using mesh wire to repair any holes through which they could re-enter the house and by keeping the attic uncluttered.


[Edit]Squirrel Repellents

  1. Soak a rag in ammonia and place it near the squirrels’ nesting spot. The strong smell of the ammonia will irritate the squirrels and make them view the attic as a bad place to nest. This may get them to leave on their own.[1] Be sure to don a mask and protective gloves when using ammonia, as it can irritate your skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes.[2]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • If you don’t have ammonia, use another strong household cleaner instead.
    • Pepper-based and mint-scented repellents may also be effective.[3]
  2. Turn on bright lights in your attic. Use the overhead light or install temporary lighting if there’s no light in the attic. The squirrels will feel uncomfortable and exposed under the lights, so they’ll likely leave your attic in favor of a new home.[4]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Just like with ammonia, it’s best to use this repellent alongside other techniques to increase your chances of success.
    • If you know exactly where the squirrel nest is, direct the light toward the nest. In this case, you only need a flashlight to get the job done.
  3. Disturb the squirrels with a loud radio placed in your attic. Turn the radio to a talk station so the sound of human voices fills the attic. The squirrels will likely decide your home is unsuitable, causing them to go elsewhere.[5]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • If you find the nest, put the radio as close as you can to the nest.
    • You don’t need to turn up the radio loud enough for the entire house to hear. As long as the sound fills the attic, the radio is loud enough.
    • Avoid ultrasonic pest repellers. These devices plug into electrical outlets and emit a high-pitched sound intended to drive away squirrels (and other unwanted pests). Unfortunately, they have little science backing them, and are often ineffective.[6]
  4. Use a commercial squirrel repellent for an easy option. Choose either a natural or chemical repellent. Natural repellents often use the scent of predator urine to scare away the squirrels. Read the label on your repellent and apply it directly to the area where the squirrels seem to frequent, such as near entry holes, around urine and feces, and where you see tracks.
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • Make sure you’re using the product as directed.
    • Find a squirrel repellent at a hardware store or online.
    • Look for products that list capsaicin as one of the active ingredients. This chemical compound comes from chili peppers. It’s what makes them so hot, and squirrels, like many people, hate it.[7]
  5. Avoid using mothballs, as they can be toxic to humans and pets. Additionally, they may not work against squirrels and have a very strong smell that many people find offensive. It’s safer and more effective to use one of the proven squirrel repellents.[8]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • In some areas, mothballs are illegal to use against squirrels, so check your local laws if you’d like to use them anyway.

[Edit]Trapping and Removing Squirrels

  1. Place a squirrel trap near the entry point or where the squirrel is active. You’ll have more success catching a squirrel if you place the trap in a location the squirrel frequents. However, they aren’t as likely to enter a trap that’s placed in the middle of the floor, so position it in a corner or near the wall. To find the best spot for your trap, look for the hole where it enters your home or a place where you’ve noticed tracks, urine, or feces. Choose a trap that catches the squirrels for release or a trap designed to kill the squirrels.
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • Before you attempt to trap a squirrel, contract a wildlife specialist in your area to ensure it’s safe and legal to do so.[9]
    • Find a squirrel trap at a local hunting and fishing supply store, hardware store, or online. Make sure your trap is specifically intended for squirrels, as the wrong type of trap may cause unintended harm to the squirrel or allow it to escape.
    • If you’re handy, build your own trap. However, some areas have laws concerning squirrel trapping, so it’s best to use commercial cages that comply with regulations.
  2. Bait the trap with peanuts or peanut butter. Put the bait inside the trap, far enough away from the opening that the squirrel can’t reach in and pull out the bait. Then, set the trap. The squirrel will likely enter the trap to get the bait, triggering the door.[10]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • If you don’t have peanuts or peanut butter, use walnuts, soda crackers, bread crusts, or apple slices as squirrel bait.
    • If you’re using a catch and release trap, you’ll need to take the squirrel outside as soon as you can after catching it.
    • A deathtrap will kill the squirrel humanely after the trap is triggered.
  3. Remove a live squirrel from your home and release it. Put on thick, heavy work gloves before handling the cage. When you’re ready to release the squirrel, put the cage on the ground at your release site. Then, slowly lift the cage door using your gloved hand or a string tied to the door. As the squirrel exits, keep a distance between you and the squirrel so it doesn’t bite or scratch you.[11]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Check your local laws and ordinances to find out if you are able to remove the squirrel from your property, or if you have to release it near your home. Although it’s best to release the trapped squirrel at least from your home so it’s less likely to find a way back into your attic, this is not always permitted.
  4. Dispose of a dead squirrel in the garbage. Wear thick, heavy-duty work gloves while handling the cage so you don’t get germs on you. Take the cage to your outdoor trash can, then transfer the dead squirrel to the trash.[12]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • You may want to seal the dead squirrel in a trash bag to minimize the smell.
    • As another alternative, bury the dead squirrel on your property. However, this will become very laborious if there are multiple squirrels in your attic.
  5. Reset your trap if more squirrels remain. You’ll need to leave the trap in place until all of the squirrels are gone. Most traps will only be able to hold 1 squirrel at a time, so it may take a while to get rid of an entire family of squirrels.
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 10 Version 3.jpg
  6. Hire a professional if you have trouble eradicating the squirrels. If you have a lot of squirrels, dealing with them on your own might become overwhelming. A professional can determine how many squirrels you have. Then, they’ll remove all of the squirrels humanely and efficiently.
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Find a wildlife removal expert online through a simple internet search. Alternatively, ask friends and family for referrals to professionals in your area.

[Edit]Preventing Re-Entry

  1. Cut tree branches overhanging your home so squirrels can’t get to your roof. Check the area around your roof for branches that allow easy access to your roof. Then, use a chainsaw to remove the branches, effectively cutting off access to your attic.[13]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • Squirrels will use tree branches as a bridge to your attic. They may even live in the tree most of the time but venture into your attic for nesting supplies or comfort during bad weather.
    • If you aren’t experienced in cutting tree branches, hire a professional to do it. Not only could you get injured, you could also accidentally cause damage to your roof.
  2. Repair any holes in the exterior of your home. It’s a lot easier to keep squirrels out of your attic than it is to remove them once they get there.[14] Check both the exterior and interior of your home for visible holes. Then, use animal-resistant patches to cover the holes, which will prevent the squirrels from coming through them.[15]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Avoid patching large holes with wood or foam sealant, as the squirrels will still break through. Patch any large holes with metal flashing or a steel screen, and attach them with a power screw driver to ensure they’re tightly affixed.
    • If you’re not sure how to repair the holes, hire a general contractor to do it for you. Ask around for a referral to a good general contractor, or conduct an online search to find one in your area.
  3. Cover air intake and exhaust vents with a mesh screen. Secure the mesh screen by screwing it down with a power driver and screws to ensure it’s firmly attached. This will prevent the squirrels from entering your attic through the vents.[16]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • These screens will not interfere with the effectiveness of your vents.
    • A general contractor can also help you install the mesh screens, if you’re having trouble doing it yourself.
  4. Apply seals around wiring and plumbing fixtures so squirrels can’t enter. Use a power driver and screws to affix mesh screens or metal flashing over any gaps around your wiring or plumbing. Fill in the space around the plumbing or electrical wiring with caulk or canned spray foam. This will help reduce the risk of the squirrels squeezing though the holes or gnawing around the gaps to make them bigger.[17]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 15 Version 2.jpg
    • Since squirrels are rodents, they can squeeze through very small holes. Additionally, they can gnaw around an existing hole to make it larger.
  5. Put a chimney cap or wire mesh over your chimney. Measure the perimeter of the top of your chimney, called the crown, as well as the size of your flue. Purchase a chimney cap or mesh screen that is larger than the flue but smaller than the crown. Clean the top of your chimney to remove any debris, then fit the chimney cap or mesh over the hole, making sure there are no gaps around it. Use a drill to screw the chimney cap or mesh screen in place.[18]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 16 Version 2.jpg
    • This allows the smoke to escape your chimney but prevents squirrels from using your chimney as an entrance to your home.
    • Make sure you don’t leave debris around the chimney, as this could become a fire hazard.
    • Clean your chimney cap or mesh screen every few months during use, as well as before winter arrives. Soot buildup can cause damage or may become a hazard.[19]
    • If you live in the UK, there are rules and regulations for how chimney caps are installed. Once it’s in place, a building inspector will need to check your chimney cap to make sure it’s installed correctly. For this reason, it’s best to hire a professional to do it.[20]
  6. Install a one-way trap over the entry point. A one-way trap is a long cage-like trap that you install outside your house, with the entryway positioned over the hole. There is a one-way door inside the trap. Place food inside the cage to encourage the squirrel to wander into it. Once inside the trap, the door won’t reopen, and the squirrel will be stuck outside your home.[21]
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 17 Version 2.jpg
    • Install the cage over the squirrel’s entryway using a screw driver. Once the squirrel is out, patch up the hole.
  7. Bait the end of the tunnel if you want to speed up the process. Put a handful of peanuts, some peanut butter, crackers, or apple slices at the end of the tunnel or just outside of it. This will entice the squirrel to make its exit quickly.
    Get Rid of Squirrels in the Attic Step 18 Version 2.jpg
    • You don’t need to use bait, as the squirrel will eventually leave to collect more food. However, using bait can encourage the squirrel to leave your home sooner.

[Edit]Things You’ll Need

[Edit]Squirrel Repellents

  • Ammonia or household cleaner
  • Rag
  • Light source
  • Radio
  • Commercial squirrel repellent (optional)
  • Ultrasonic pest repeller (optional)

[Edit]Trapping and Removing Squirrels

  • Squirrel trap
  • Bait (i.e., peanuts, peanut butter, crackers, apple slices, etc.)

[Edit]Preventing Re-Entry

  • Chain saw (optional)
  • Tool box
  • metal flashing
  • Mesh screens
  • Caulk
  • Canned foam sealant
  • Plaster
  • Chimney cap
  • Wire mesh
  • One-way trap (optional)
  • Bait (i.e., peanuts, peanut butter, crackers, apple slices, etc.) (optional)


  • Keep in mind that mother squirrels may enter your attic to have babies. If you remove the mother squirrel but not her babies, you may end up orphaning the baby squirrels, which will eventually cause an awful smell in your attic.
  • Remove clutter from your attic to make the space less attractive to the squirrels, as they won’t be able to hide easily.


  • Red squirrels are a protected species in the UK. In the unlikely event these endangered animals are in your attic, consult the RSPCA.

[Edit]Related wikiHows

  • Keep Animals out of Your Attic
  • Get Rid of a Squirrel in Your House
  • Deter Squirrels from Bird Feeders


[Edit]Quick Summary

  1. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-get-rid-of-squirrels/
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/ammonia/default.html
  3. [v161169_b01]. 22 October 2019.
  4. https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Nuisance-Wildlife/Problems-with-Squirrels
  5. https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Nuisance-Wildlife/Problems-with-Squirrels
  6. https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/technology-you-asked/are-ultrasonic-pest-repellers-effective
  7. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-get-rid-of-squirrels/
  8. [v161169_b01]. 22 October 2019.
  9. [v161169_b01]. 22 October 2019.
  10. https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/info/431/pest_control/6489/identify_the_pest/9
  11. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/what-do-about-squirrels
  12. https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/info/431/pest_control/6489/identify_the_pest/9
  13. https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Nuisance-Wildlife/Problems-with-Squirrels
  14. [v161169_b01]. 22 October 2019.
  15. https://secure.manchester.gov.uk/info/431/pest_control/6489/identify_the_pest/9
  16. https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Wildlife/Nuisance-Wildlife/Problems-with-Squirrels
  17. https://basc.pnnl.gov/resource-guides/air-sealing-electrical-wiring
  18. https://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-install-a-chimney-cap/
  19. https://www.masonrymagazine.com/blog/2009/11/24/installing-the-correct-chimney-cap/
  20. http://www.bfcma.co.uk/regulations-and-standards.aspx
  21. https://youtu.be/KTMMquKTA7k?t=180


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