Squirrels in a tree are cute, but squirrels in the attic are a major nuisance. Squirrels can cause quite a bit of damage, and they can be vectors for diseases as well as other pests, like fleas.
There are several possible access points on the typical roof. Attic and soffit vent covers can be pried off by squirrels, who may be attracted to the vents by the warm air that emanates from them. Squirrels may also chew through the rubber boots that are placed around plumbing vent pipes, thus gaining access to the attic.
A determined squirrel may make its own access point by chewing through wooden eaves or pulling up shingles and chewing into the wood beneath. This is more likely to occur if damage on the roof makes it easier to access the wood beneath the shingles.
The main attraction of your attic is that it provides a warm, dry, and safe place to make a nest. Most attics are going to be completely free of predators, which is very enticing for a squirrel.
Ease of access can make the attic even more attractive. A vent without screening, for example, is easy to pry up or squeeze through. Damaged or curling shingles may inspire a squirrel to dig beneath them and chew up the wood below.
Although these rodents may be small, they can cause major damage. This is beyond any damage they make when gaining initial entrance. Much like mice and rats, squirrels will leave urine and droppings everywhere in an attic. They are also incessant gnawers. They can chew through wood as well as through any wiring that runs through your attic.
Squirrels will also tear up insulation, in part to use it as nesting material. Any items stored in the attic will also be fair game for the squirrels to damage and destroy.
Removal and Mitigation
If you already have squirrels, you will need to bring in a professional to trap and remove them. You do not want to accidentally seal any squirrels in the attic. Poison also isn't recommended, as the squirrels may die in the walls or spread poison to local wildlife if they leave the attic to die.
Once the squirrels are out, every access point must be sealed. Vents require screening and any damage must be repaired. The final step is to thoroughly clean the attic so the scent doesn't attract new squirrels to your attic.
Contact a pest control service like Elite Wildlife Control to learn more about your squirrel removal options.