Will Repellents get Squirrels out of the Attic?
Thumping and scratching sounds that seem to originate in attics, ceilings and walls are a pretty good indication that you’ve got company. And if you’ve got a population of squirrels in your area, there’s a good chance that a mother squirrel has found your house to be a good place to bear her young and get them ready for the wider world. Her comings and goings can be a nuisance. Worse, her nest and her nibbling on electrical can pose a fire hazard. She cannot stay.
Various solutions have been developed to discourage the presence of squirrels and while some of them have limited effectiveness, usually they do little to chase the animals out. Most of the commercially available products are repellents that create an odor that the squirrels don’t like. These include nathalene/mothballs, ammonia, bleach, coyote urine and even human hair. Most are available in liquid and/or granular form and are usually deployed around or near the area where the animal has nested. But once a squirrel has taken up residence it’s generally reluctant to move out and more likely simply to move to a more hospitable sector of the same space: so, back to square one.
One solution that has been shown to have actual potential for ridding the property of the varmints is eviction fluid, which actually is available in both liquid and paste form. Developed to combat raccoon invasions, eviction fluid is made from the gland secretions and urine of male raccoons, which are known to kill litters of newborns that they have not sired. The product premise supposes that the nesting female knows that a male raccoon is a threat to her babies and that when she detects the male scent she will move them elsewhere. A nesting mother squirrel will react similarly to the scent and, theoretically at least, move out with her newborns to evade the threat.
Many pest removal specialists are vocal in discounting the commercial available products, while conceding that eviction fluid can be successful much of the time. They generally recommend that the pests be physically removed and relocated, preferably by humane trapping, but that even this remedy should allow time for the babies to open their eyes and get their scamper on. Once the squirrel family has been evicted, the homeowner should survey the property and close off any openings that would allow other squirrels to reoccupy the space.
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