Squirrels in your attic are more than just an annoyance. They can actually cause significant property damage.

What many homeowners don’t understand about squirrels is that they can be quite destructive. Squirrels are rodents, and like all rodents they need to chew constantly in order to keep their teeth filed. Chewing is so important, in fact, that if squirrels were not able to chew, their teeth would grow long enough to eventually kill them. Once they’ve found their way into your home, squirrels will chew on nearly anything, including structural elements and wiring. Wiring that has been chewed presents a very real fire hazard.

Diagnosing a Squirrel Problem

Most of the time, noises from the attic are a homeowner’s first indications that a squirrel (or another animal) is making its home there. The homeowner may also notice signs of damage along the roofline and under the eaves – common entry points for wildlife intruders.

Determining whether or not attic noises are related to squirrels or another type of animal (namely, raccoons) requires an understanding of the animals’ biology and habits. For example, raccoons are nocturnal. That is, they sleep during the day and become active at night. If you hear sounds that indicate scratching and running around in your attic at night, it’s likely that your “houseguests” are raccoons. If you hear chewing or scurrying sounds during the day, however, squirrels are the most likely culprits.

Dealing with a Squirrel Problem

Once it’s been determined that squirrels are indeed present in your home, steps will need to be taken to remove the animals and prevent them from returning. This starts with evaluating the home to determine where the animals are coming in.

Once the access points have been identified, they will need to be repaired and then sealed against future wildlife entry. The animals themselves must be removed and then action taken to a) clean up any urine or feces; b) repair or replace damaged insulation or structural elements; and c) identify and remediate any damage to wiring.