How do you get rid of squirrels in the walls?

diddlydooJanuary 18, 2006

Well, I'm asking for my co-worker. She comes in tired every morning because of the squirrels playing around in her home walls and keeping her and her husband up.

It's an older home with the older wiring and they are also afraid the squirrels might cause a fire.

Any tricks? They are thinking of trying moth balls and putting those in walls. They don't know exactly how they are getting in. They go out in the day and come back in during the night to play...that's what they think anyhow.

Thanks if any advice or experience.

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Sure these are not mice? They can make a lot of noise.

They will have to seal off the perimeter and find where they are getting in. Mothballs? Give them a try. I would want to seal off everything though as a permanent solution - a squirrel would need a pretty big hole!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 9:05PM
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The entry needs to be determined. Then I would suggest some traps baited with peanut butter near the entry to catch them and then dispose of them. If you use poison, you run the risk of the rodent dying inside the wall and the resulting smell associated with decomposition. If your friend can't locate the rodent's access, she should call an exterminator for some professional help.

Left unchecked rodent WILL do damage. I suggest she confront this problem and stop it immediately.

FWIW: squirrels are very territorial and like to return to thier birthplace to mate and nest. If they have a litter in your house, then you've pretty much bought the next generation as residents, too. until you eradicate them.

Once residence is established, blocking the entries will not cause them to move on to other places. They will continue to peck away until they are back in where they were.

Ask me how I know.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:16AM
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I always thought that mice are nocturnal and squirrels aren't.

So if it's at night, squirrels seem unlikely. I vote for mice.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 2:44PM
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Thanks so much for your responses. I'll relay these to my friend.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:10PM
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First, breakeroff is correct: squirrels are diurnal. They have horrible night vision, so they just don't move after dark.

Second, I know no one wants to hear the R word, but rats are more likely than either mice or squirrels.

Traps are messy and notoriously slow but are generally adequate for eliminating a domestic rat infestation. Place a few traps in the attic and check them periodically. One drawback with rat traps is hearing the little buggers get caught and die. Another drawback is that someone has to dispose of the bodies. Be sure you wear rubber gloves and handle the bodies as little as possible. Bag 'em and dump 'em immediately. If you use old-fashioned snap traps, you might want to consider the traps disposable and dump them along with the bodies. That way you spend less time handling the bodies and reduce the likelihood of inheriting any of the rats' disease-ridden vermin.

I know this won't be a consideration for those concerned about animal rights, but live traps absolutely are not an option with rats. It's not safe to keep or handle them (they carry plague and rabies), and where the hell would you release them? Rats are like fire ants: they must die whenever and whereever they are located.

Rat poisons all offer their share of problems, but the multiple-feed anticoagulants (warfarin, chlorophacinone, diphacinonene) are the safest. The death of the rats involves much internal bleeding. Toward the end of the process (2 to 6 days, I think), the poisoned critters feel that they're suffocating (bleeding in the lungs) and get out into the open in order to get a clear breath. The up side of this is that you won't have rat bodies in your walls and attic. The down side is that dead rats will likely show up in neighborhood yards and driveways, where dogs, cats, and scavenging birds can get to the toxin-laced bodies.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:30AM
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Occasionally I will get a wood rat under my house or in an out-building. I have used a humane cage trap successfully for many years. I live in the boonies, so relocating them is not a problem. These are rather wholesome rats compared to Norway or brown varieties, so the stigma that burdens belisarius is not an issue. Trapping and relocating is humane; poisoning is cruel.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:03PM
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at the house we used to live in wood rats were a major problem. the fences were lined with trees and shrubs all the way down the block, and at night the rats wandered from house to house searching for food. i used to sit in the back yard with a BB gun and shoot rats while i drank a beer or six.

at our current house we had literally about a hundred mice living there when we moved in. the PO was an old man, and he kept all sorts of junk iin and around the house, so the mice had lots of places to live. when his family cleaned all this out, the mice got stirred up and moved into the house. i had to find and seal the entrances, put out some traps both in the attic and outside near the entrances, and some poison in the attic. it took about a month to get rid of all the mice, but so far i have not seen any new ones nor evidence of them.

if you do use poison, be sure to place it in areas where no kids or other animals can get in it. most poisons will not kill a dog or cat if they eat the dead rat, as the level is too low to harm larger animals. it WILL however make them sick, this info comes from several reliable exterminators. the raw poison CAN kill them, but a dead rodent usually won't hurt. in either case, dispose of the dead rats ASAP to minimize risk.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 1:28PM
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We had squirrels in our walls and they would move around most during the evening and early morning. I assume they were coming home in the evening and leaving in the morning.
we finally got rid of them by putting rat traps in the attic. We put peanut butter on the traps and they worked really well.
I think that we "caught" five animals total, four were red squirrels and one was a HUGE chipmunk. I have never seen such a fat chipmunk before and I have no idea how he got in our attic, as they don't really climb trees or anything.
I think that was about 2 years ago and things have been quiet since then, thank goodness.
We did try those have-a-heart traps also and they didn't work at all. The squirrels always seemed to get the food and never were trapped in. After about 2 weeks of waiting I couldn't stand it anymore and we bought the traps.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 2:57PM
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They could be flying squirrels which they are nocturnal.I have them in my home and been trapping them with live traps and releaseing them about 10 miles from my home.One of the species of flying squirrels are on the endangered list.The electronic pest repellers don't work at all for them.The only thing you can do is find out where they are comming in from and block it after you have trapped them all.But a small squirrel like that can crawl thru a hole the size a little larger than a quarter.So far I caught 8 of them in 3 months and I think there is only 1 smart one left to get out of here.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:46PM
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I would make some attempts to get them out as has been stated above, but if those measures do not show results fairly quickly I would definitely recommend you solicit the services of a pest control pro.

For reasons known only to mice, rats, squirrels and rabbits they all seem to have an affinity to chewing on the vinyl coating of electrical cables or PEX water lines and they can cause serious problems in a very short time.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:25AM
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There is another possibility. BATS. This is very common here in central South Carolina.

My inlaws thought they had mice in their walls until I went into the attic and discovered a colony of bats living between the brick face of a chimney and the wall. The noise heard from inside, at night, was a scratching noise. It can be difficult to know what it is you're dealing with until you actually see what it is.

They also had a rather large snake (rat snake?)living in the attic, presumably living off of tasty bats.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 6:55AM
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Please help. I have rats between my first floor ceiling and second floor. They are driving me crazy. I have bought poison, but should I wait to put it out until it is warmern outside so they will come out? Should I put it in the gutter closest to where I hear them in the celing? What are the chances I will have a BIG mess if they die between the ceiling and the floor?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 5:53PM
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I may be mistaken but aren't moth balls made of naptha? (same as lighter fluid). We used to throw a few in our gas tank when I was a teenager, to raise the octane of the fuel before a drag race. That was a few years ago so they may have changed what they are made of. I'd still be careful where I put them.

I was told rats and mice stay within 12 feet of their water supply at night.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Neighbor a few years back was moved in, watching tv, and suddenly realized the big holes in the wall were created by squirrels, who loved running through the attic so much they left trails in the insulation. Our part of the country this is not unusual, rats opt for the garages where many store pet food. Besides, squirrel's bushy tail is unmistakeable compared to a rat's - I won't go into the droppings. You must block off breezeways and other vulnerabilities with chicken wire.

Nocturnal or no, they'll adjust their habits on their terms. Find entry points, load house with insect foggers, 1 per room (ABSOLUTELY CANNOT do with gas flames or pilot lights), and in the attic to boot. Set 'em off, give it 30 minutes or so, and block off the entrances to eliminate re-entry. You can do at night, trust me the squirrels will find their way out. Won't even have any corpses to dispose of.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 3:06PM
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We had a major problem with squirrels in our attic. We sealed the outside with heavy duty wire & cut branches off trees & still had issues. We tried the ultrasonic noise things... no luck. We finally trapped all the squirrels & relocated them. It was 70 squirrels at last count.
We set a humane trap near our birdfeeder in the front yard & baited it with a pinecone covered in peanut butter & birdseed. Every day we would catch at least 2 & relocate them. You have to take them at least 10 miles away so they don't come back.
We had to have a new roof put on & the workers found several squirrel remains in the attic. We now have all the openings blocked with layers of wire both inside & outside of any openings. The worst damage they did was to our a/c ductwork. They had eaten all the plastic outer coating off to get at the insulation. That was a nice $500 spent to replace that.

Squirrels are cute in the park but I now call them tree rats.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 7:25PM
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Sealing the entry is essential. And they will still find their way in, so check your perimeter periodically, crawlspace, attic, etc. We've had squirrels in our attic & walls for years - YEARS! We keep patching and sealing, and they keep breaking thru. I suspect there is a hidden hole somewhere that is not reachable by an adult human. The critters dig holes to get under the foundation, they chew holes in wood siding, tear hardware wire screens, and once gained access thru plumbing vents on the roof, clogging our plumbing with pine cones!

Recently they've been chewing their way into the interior of the house - there are two big holes in our interior wall panel near the ceiling. I keep patching them up, and the squirrels keep chewing them open. I came home recently to find one critter had entered our living space thru those holes, run around the house chewing up anything paper like, and then climbed back up the wall and out the same holes. In it's attempt to climb back up the wall, it knocked over two lamps, a hanging picture, and some large items on a nearby shelf. Interestingly, there were no droppings anywhere in the house after this, though in the past I've found urine dripping from the ceiling. If I knock the ceiling panel in various places of our house, I can hear gravel (nesting? pine cones & seeds? rocks? droppings?) bouncing around.

I've called several "pest control" companies, and no one even wants to touch this one. They all give us the same advice: Bait them into humane traps, then seal the point-of-entry. Problem is, it's not just a one time thing - where I live, there are more squirrels than humans. We're having our roof replaced soon, so maybe they'll find something there.

Friend: They're sooo cuuute!

Me: They're destructive, disgusting, and evil!

Friend: What's wrong with YOU today?

Me: You have no idea the hell these critters have put me thru.

Friend: But they're sooo cuuute!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 6:22PM
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To some of you that are doubting squirrels because they are 'diurnal', FLYING Squirrels are Nocturnal.
If you're hearing them exit at dusk and enter the home at dawn and create a lot of commotion, they are flying squirrels.
I trapped over 200 of them in the roof of my Log Cabin in WIsconsin. Some in a Hav-A-Heart and and some in traps and some in a devise called the Rat Zapper that kills with electric shock. That worked quite well.
After many years of frustration, and professionals, we put on a whole new roof and then sold the cabin. We hadn't heard one in nearly two years since new roof but now learn...
They're baaaack!
I told the new owners that my next step was going to be
an infrared camerat at night, especially a cold night when we could see where 'heat hole' was evident.

Good Luck,
You must find point of entry or they'll just keep coming.
If your Have-A-Heart isn't working because the squirrel is too light to press the pedal, put a little weight on the pedal or a glob of Peanut Butter, but not enough to set off the trap.
Do NOT USE glue traps, as the squirrels will even start eating off their own feet to free themselves. Very inhumane! I had one on Mouse glue once that I didn't intend for the flying squirrel.


This post was edited by lilsunfish on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 9:50

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:34AM
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This thread is eight years old.

In some jurisdictions you can not trap, humanely or not, squirrels. (I know this was the case in Charleston, SC, in the early 1980s.)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:08PM
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