Removing squirrels in walls can be a painstakingly slow process, but patience is key to ensuring you get the job done safely, humanely and efficiently.
Join us today as we go over how to identify squirrels in walls and then take you through a step by step guide on how to remove get rid of squirrels in walls.
Let’s get started.
Identifying Squirrels In Walls
Sounds in your walls during the day like scratching or scampering are likely caused by squirrels.
There are a few different types of animals that can find their way into your home. Squirrels are certainly some of the most common, but others include rats, chipmunks, raccoons, bats, mice and skunks.
Before you begin executing your squirrel extraction plan, it’s important to make sure you do indeed have squirrels in walls and not something else. Luckily, squirrels leave behind a number of telltale signs to let you know they’re there.
Squirrels are not quiet animals. They scamper, run, jump and scurry. Most of the sounds you’ll hear will be scratching, running, and gnawing sounds that come from inside your walls around dusk and dawn.
While other animals and rodents make similar sounds, squirrels are unique as they are not nocturnal and sleep during the night like we do. If you hear sounds at night when you’re trying to sleep, you likely have rats, raccoons, or something else other than squirrels inside your walls.
The below video discusses the different sounds you may hear if you have wildlife in your walls and helps you identify what you’re hearing.
The longer a squirrel has lived in your home, the more you’ll start to smell it. As feces and urine build up, you’ll begin to smell a foul odor that is unmistakably that of a wild animal. You may also notice “water damage” seeping through your ceilings or walls that is…well…actually not water, sorry to say.
One of the easiest ways to identify squirrels in walls, attics or crawl spaces is to identify their nests. Squirrel nests generally consist of whatever material squirrels have on hand. Outdoors, this is usually bark, twigs, leaves, and other materials they can combine into a den-like structure.
In your home, squirrels can make their nests out of these same materials they have collected from outside, but they may also use insulation and other materials they find inside your walls, crawl space or attic.
Most nests are often surrounded by evidence of squirrel activity including droppings, tunnels, chew marks, and stored food like nuts or acorns.
Squirrel droppings can look very similar to rat and chipmunk droppings, but the difference between squirrels and many other species of wildlife is that these critters tend to go in one designated bathroom spot.
The good news is that this bathroom habit can make cleanup a bit easier for you in the end, but the bad news is that the accumulation of feces and urine can cause more damage to that particular area.
How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In Walls, Attics and Crawl Spaces
Before you begin evicting the squirrels, try and identify how many squirrels you’re dealing with inside your walls.
Once you’ve properly identified that you do indeed have squirrels, it’s time to devise a plan to evict them.
Step 1 – Try and Identify The Severity Of Your Squirrel Problem
If possible, try and identify the number of squirrels that are in your home. This will help ensure you don’t wind up with squirrels left behind in the end when the time comes for you to seal up all the entry and exit points.
Most squirrels nest alone, but it’s not uncommon for home owners to unwittingly house up to eight squirrels at a time.
This is especially prevalent during mating season, where you run the risk of accidentally hosting a mother and her babies.
Mating and birthing season happens twice a year for squirrels:
- December – February
- June – August
If you have squirrels in your home during these two times a year, you may be dealing with a family of squirrels. Baby squirrels are completely dependent on their mother in their early life, so removing them along with their mother is incredibly important. You never want to remove a mother and seal off her babies, otherwise they will surely die.
Aside from this being cruel, the dead squirrels inside your walls will leave a foul odor inside your home and this may lead to more problems and even more time and expense, especially if you require professional help finding the dead squirrels, removing them, and cleaning up the decay they left behind.
If you do have baby squirrels nesting in your home, it’s best to contact your local wildlife control experts and have them conduct a safe and humane removal. Remember, many regions have strict laws about removing and relocating wildlife, and this may be especially critical when it comes to removing and relocating nests with young.
Step 2 – Locate The Main Entry Point Along With Other Entry and Exit Points
Look for and identify all potential entry and exit points and keep in mind that squirrels can squeeze into openings the size of a quarter.
Squirrels generally get into your home via the attic due to vulnerabilities in the roof. However, they can also get into your home by chewing through air vents, ridge cap vents, plumbing stacks and even your chimney.
There are likely going to be several entry points leading to the squirrel nest inside your home, but there is usually a main entry point that the squirrels use most. Finding the main entry point is important because squirrels tend to use this same entry and exit point continuously.
You can establish the main entry point by sprinkling flour or something similar down near the holes you find. Keep an eye on these holes for about two days. The hole with the most disturbed flour is likely the main entry point.
Step 3 – Seal All Entry Points Except for The Main Entry
You can seal holes using a variety of products from hardware stores including wood, steel wool, metal, or wire mesh. If you do use wire mesh, make sure it is at least ½ of an inch or smaller.
When sealing entry points, it’s vital that you leave the main entry point (or at least one entry point) open for the squirrels so they can get out of your home. Otherwise, you run the risk of even more damage to the interior of your house as squirrels attempt to get out. Worse, you could wind up with dead squirrels in your walls.
Step 4 – Bait the Squirrels Out of the Main Entry Point
Bait the squirrels out of the single entry point you left open for them. Many people choose to use a funnel-like tunnel that allows the squirrels to get out of the hole but not back in. If you use this route, be sure there are not baby squirrels inside your walls that are immobile.
We also suggest using a live trap to capture and relocate squirrels in walls. Oftentimes if you don’t relocate squirrels they will simply continue to try and find ways into your home, even if you’ve sealed old entry and exit points.
With that said, it’s also very important to make sure you look into the laws and regulations of your county to ensure you are legally relocating these animals. In some regions it is illegal to relocate wildlife without a permit. If this is the case, you may be better off contacting a professional to help you get rid of squirrels in walls.
Step 5 – Temporarily Seal Holes And Then Wait A Few Days To Ensure All Squirrels Are Gone
Even if you’re confident you’ve evicted all the squirrels in walls, we still suggest you wait a few days before permanently sealing the entry points. Instead, we suggest using a temporary sealant like steel wool to plug holes and then waiting and listening for at least two to three days for any sounds of squirrel activity inside your home.
Step 6 – Inspect, Clean and Remove Debris
Once you are sure the squirrels are gone, you can attempt to inspect, clean and repair the space in which they were nesting. Squirrels are wild animals and as such they are not particularly clean, so make sure you protect yourself while doing this dirty job.
Make sure to keep an eye out for any chewed wires, weakened support beams, damaged wood, etc, as squirrels can cause serious structural and electrical damage that can be dangerous if left unchecked.
Step 7 – Permanently Seal All Entry Holes and Reinforce Your Home’s Exterior
Permanently seal off any remaining holes with your method of choice and then do a once over of your house. Look for any areas that may be vulnerable and reinforce them as you go to ensure you don’t encounter more squirrels down the road.
Step 8 – Take Steps To Prevent Future Squirrels in Walls
Taking preventative measures is an important step in any pest control regime, and dealing with squirrels in walls is no different. We will talk more about the best preventatives you can use for squirrels in walls, attics and crawl spaces further down, but for now let’s go over a few of the best methods and products we recommend for helping you to get rid of squirrels in walls below.
Bests Products For How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In Walls, Attics and Crawl Spaces
Relocating squirrels using live traps is often the most effective way to ensure they don’t come back.
Most experts recommend using live traps or humane traps to capture and relocate any squirrels in walls. While there are kill traps and poisons available, these methods are not always necessary or even recommended.
Poisons are especially advised against by experts as they could lead to future problems with dead squirrels in your home. We should also note that it may be illegal to kill squirrels in some regions.
When using live traps in an attempt to relocate the squirrels, be sure to read up on the local laws regarding the capture and relocation of wildlife in your area first.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best products we recommend for how to get rid of squirrels in walls.
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Removing squirrels in walls can be difficult without the right products, so we recommend using either a homemade funnel that allows squirrels to get out but not back in, or using something like the Tomahawk Excluder which we’ve listed above.
This is a one-way exit point for squirrels, allowing them to get out of the property through a door that only opens out, but not back in. You can choose to capture the squirrels in the trap to relocate them or leave the other side open to let the squirrels out in your yard before sealing the entry point for good.
Havahart One-Door Squirrel Trap
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The above trap by Havahart is a humane live animal trap that captures squirrels without harming them. If you have squirrels in walls, simply place this trap near entry and exit points and bait it with peanut butter.
Remember to make sure it is legal to relocate any squirrels you catch and do your best not to separate a mother squirrel from her infants.
Rugged Ranch Squirrelinator Live Trap
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Another live trap we recommend is by Rugged Ranch and is designed to catch multiple squirrels in just a few hours. This is ideal if you believe you have more than one squirrel in your home or even potentially a family of older babies who are able to leave the nest.
Catching multiple squirrels at one time should help you remove all the squirrels in walls at once and relocate them to another home before sealing entry points and moving on to preventative measures.
Best Products For How To Repair Squirrel Entry and Exit Points
Once you have removed all the squirrels in walls, you’ll want to get to work cleaning nests sites and patching entry points. Since squirrels can easily squeeze themselves into spaces the size of a quarter, picking the right products to seal squirrel holes is important.
We have listed some of our favorite products for you to take a look at.
Metal Flashing Rolls
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Metal flashing works well to patch up squirrel holes on the roof as squirrels can’t chew through this material. It is also waterproof, rust-proof and long lasting. The above metal flashing is available to be ordered in different sizes and comes in a roll. It includes fasteners to make application easier as well.
If you need a specific size, the company may even be able to customize your flashing for you.
Stainless Steel Woven Wire Mesh
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Also known as a steel screen, woven wire mesh is perhaps one of the easiest ways to patch entry and exit holes and to keep squirrels from gaining access back into your home.
The above product is made with stainless steel so it is sturdy, won’t rust, and is even heat resistant. The package contains four stainless steel sheets that should be just large enough to cover squirrel holes. Steel screens are especially ideal for covering or repairing vents or plumbing stacks.
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Last, we have steel wool. This versatile hardware cloth is excellent for temporarily filling small entry holes and is an easy fix you can use when in the early stages of evicting the squirrels in walls as squirrels cannot chew through steel wool and often won’t even try.
Once you find the entry holes squirrels have been using, simply plug them with the steel wool for an effective but temporary fix. Once the squirrels are removed, you can replace the steel wool with wire mesh, a steel screen, or metal flashing to keep squirrels out for good.
Home Remedies For How To Get Rid Of Squirrels In Walls
Cayenne pepper can help deter squirrels without harming them.
You may already have steel wool on hand, as it’s a common household scrubber or hardware tool used for a variety of reasons. Of course, there are plenty of other home remedies you can use to repel and remove squirrels in walls.
Take a look.
- Peppermint Oil
There are a few different essential oils you can use to repel pests, but when it comes to getting rid of and repelling squirrels in walls we would recommend using peppermint oil. To use peppermint oil in your home, saturate some cotton balls in the oil and leave them in attics and crawl spaces, replacing them every two to three days.
You can also combine ten to 20 drops of peppermint oil into two cups of water and spray it along the siding of your home and around any potential entry points you come across.
- Garlic, Vinegar, And Water Spray
Squirrels are repelled by the aroma of garlic and vinegar, which isn’t surprising considering these two ingredients have very strong smells. And while this is a good repellent spray to repel squirrels in walls, this home remedy is best for outdoor use.
To make a natural squirrel repellent spray for squirrels in walls, add three diced cloves of fresh garlic or two teaspoons of minced garlic into one cup of water. Then add a cup of white vinegar. Mix the solution into a spray bottle and let the bottle sit for two days before spraying it around the roof and around potential entry points.
Repeat this process as necessary.
- Cayenne Pepper Or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
To irritate and repel squirrels in walls without harming them, you can use cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. Just sprinkle the spice of your choice inside entry points you find and along roofing to help deter these critters from coming back around.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re looking for the most simple solution to help repel squirrels in walls, we recommend using apple cider vinegar. Simply pour the product into a spray bottle and spray it two to three times a day around your roof and near or even inside any squirrel entry points you find.
The smell alone may be enough to drive squirrels out and can help prevent them from returning while you work on repairing the holes.
- Moth Balls
Last but not least, moth balls seem to work wonders when it comes to getting rid of squirrels in walls. In the early stages of your squirrel removal process, try tossing a few moth balls into entry points to ensure you repel any stubborn stragglers.
The mothballs’ strong, chemical smell will deter the squirrels without harming them, and this can help expedite the eviction process before you seal up entry points.
When To Call A Professional For Squirrels In Walls
If you think you have a squirrel mother and babies in your walls, we suggest contacting a professional.
Removing squirrels in walls is certainly a process and it doesn’t happen overnight, especially if the squirrels have been living in your home for a while. While many people should be able to get rid of these pests on their own, there are some instances where calling in the pros is necessary.
For example, if you find you are dealing with a mother squirrel and her young, we highly recommend getting professional assistance to remove them. We also recommend hiring a professional if you notice any electrical damage caused by squirrels in walls, attics, chimneys or crawl spaces.
If you smell the scent of something decaying, you may already have some dead squirrels inside your walls. If you come across this smell, it’s best to contact a professional to help you sort out the problem, as dead and decaying squirrels in walls can lead to other, more serious health hazards and pest issues.
How To Prevent Future Squirrels In Walls
Keep up on exterior home maintenance to avoid future problems with squirrels.
Like most pest infestations, squirrel problems begin outside. Squirrels are attracted to yards and homes that provide an abundance of food, water and shelter, including:.
- Fruit Trees
- Nut Trees
- Unprotected Vegetable gardens
- Unprotected Bird Feeders
- Unattended Pet Food
- Unsealed Trash Cans
- Food Waste
The best way to prevent future squirrels in and around your home is to make your property less attractive to them. Pick up any fallen fruits or nuts from trees around your home and try not to let vegetables get overripe in gardens.
Protect bird feeders with squirrel proof barriers and don’t leave pet food outdoors overnight. We also suggest investing in trash cans with lids and refraining from tossing compostable food waste like banana peels, apple cores, old bread, etc outside to decompose in your yard.
You Can Also Prevent Squirrels In Walls By:
- Keeping up with exterior home maintenance
- Making squirrel proof barriers around roofs, gardens, fences, sidings and trees
- Using squirrel repellents and preventatives year-round
- Keeping trees, sheds, and playground equipment at least six feet from your home
- Covering vents, drains, and chimneys with steel screens or wire mesh
We hope this has been a helpful guide on how to get rid of squirrels in walls. Remember to stay safe and stay vigilant when dealing with any wildlife on your property, and always contact a professional with any questions or concerns you may have.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.