Squirrels may be cute when they’re chasing each other up and down trees, but they aren’t so adorable when they end up in your attic or walls. If a squirrel infestation gets out of control, it’s important to take immediate action. Otherwise, these creatures can cause all sorts of damage to your home and create an unsafe environment for your family. Plus, the sounds of scurrying squirrels in the walls can keep you up all night.

Got a hunch some squirrels have moved in? You’ll want to pay close attention to this brief guide.

What are some common signs of a squirrel infestation?

If you’re worried about squirrels making your home into their home, you’ll want to keep a sharp eye, ear, and nose out for some common signs. They include:

  • Strange noises
  • Droppings
  • Chewed or damaged entry points
  • Damage to insulation, duct work, soffits and fascia, roofing, or other areas
  • Nests
  • A foul odor
  • Increased squirrel activity around the property

If you’ve seen one or more of these signs, squirrel removal (or even carcass disposal) may be in order. To be sure, you’ll want to call a professional animal control specialist ASAP.

What are the dangers of having a squirrel infestation?

Animals in attics pose many risks for homeowners, but a squirrel infestation can be especially serious. Squirrels will gnaw through almost anything, including electrical wiring. Their presence could easily lead to a devastating fire in your home. Their urine and fecal matter will create uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions for your family. And if a squirrel dies while in your home, the odor can lead to headaches and nausea. That’s why it’s so important to pursue professional help for removal and carcass disposal.

Can I remove the squirrels myself?

You can try, but it’s not recommended. You may think you’re saving money by going the DIY route, but you’re actually putting yourself and your home at further risk. The tactics you try may not be effective in the long run and you could potentially be hurt. Last year, the revenues of pest control services in the U.S. were projected to reach $12.29 billion, and these experts know how to handle rodent issues correctly. Whether you need live or dead squirrel removal or not, it’s better to get some assistance from professionals.

How can I prevent a squirrel infestation?

Inspect the exterior of the house and determine areas that might allow access for squirrels. Repair any holes and gaps.  Use chimney caps and attic vent screens to seal any openings. Make sure you don’t trap any animals in the attic. If you think squirrels might have already entered your attic, stuff newspaper in the holes first.  If the newspaper hasn’t been disturbed after a day or two, it is likely that the attic is clear.  Then, go ahead and perform the screen installation or repairs.

Don’t make it easy for squirrels to get on your roof and into the attic or chimney.  Keep all tree limbs growing over or near the roof to within about 8-10 feet of the edge of the roof.  This will prevent squirrels from jumping from the tree limbs onto your roof.  Also, squirrels love to hang around bird feeders.  If you see squirrels near your bird feeder, it might be necessary to remove the feeders.

If you find that squirrels have already moved in, you should contact animal control specialists immediately.  You could be at risk for hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage to your home.  If you allow squirrels to take up residence in your attic you could wake up to new residents in your living space.  Squirrels won’t confine themselves to just your attic.  If you think you might be dealing with a squirrel infestation, take care of the problem sooner rather than later. Get in touch with your local pest removal professionals to have them inspect your property and make their recommendations.