Squirrels in your attic can bite into electrical wiring, insulation, and boards, causing significant damage. In this article, the This Old House Reviews Team explains how to get rid of squirrels in the attic and how to prevent them from infesting your home. We also recommend two of the top-rated pest control companies for wildlife removal.



Signs of a Squirrel Infestation

Before enacting treatment, confirm that the animal you’re hearing in your attic is a squirrel. Here are a few signs that these fluffy-tailed animals are present in your home:

  • You hear scurrying, scratching, or chewing sounds coming from your attic, crawl spaces, or ceiling.
  • You notice teeth marks in wires or wood, air vent damage, or chewed electrical wires.
  • You notice squirrel footprints (the front paws have four toes, while the back paws have five).
  • There’s water damage on your walls and ceilings.
  • You smell a foul odor coming from your vents (this could be from decaying squirrels that failed to escape your home).

Squirrels are often mistaken for other rodents, such as mice and rats. The best way to confirm the infestation type is to schedule an inspection with a professional pest control company.



Steps To Take When There Are Squirrels in the Attic

Once you determine there are squirrels in your attic, take the steps below to remove them from your home:

Locate the Squirrel Nest

Squirrels living in your attic will construct nests with materials such as cardboard, leaves, and tufts of insulation. You can remove the nests to encourage squirrels to move elsewhere, but keep in mind that squirrels bear young in the early spring and late summer. It’s best to wait a few weeks until the babies grow old enough to leave their mothers before removing the nests. 

Seal Openings in Your Attic

Squirrels, like other rodents, can fit through small entry points. When you find potential entry points, consider sealing the holes shut with caulk or another structural sealant. Leave one opening unsealed to allow the squirrels an exit path. 

Use a One-Way Door Excluder

You can remove squirrels using a type of cage called a one-way door excluder. Position the cage over the remaining unsealed entry point and check it periodically. When the squirrel exits your attic, the door will shut behind it, preventing reentry without trapping or harming the animal. 

Hire a Professional Pest Control Company

The easiest way to deal with squirrels in your attic is to hire a professional pest control company. Pest management experts are trained to get rid of squirrels and other wildlife by using live traps and other methods that prevent these small animals from coming back. Many pest control companies will inspect your home to determine the infestation level before providing a quote.



How To Prevent Squirrels from Returning

Once you have successfully removed squirrels from your attic, there are several ways to prevent them from returning, including the followinge:

  1. Trim trees near your roofline: Trimming trees near your roofline helps prevent squirrels from getting on your roof and into your attic.
  2. Change food in your bird feeder: If your bird feeder contains sunflower seeds, corn, or nuts, consider changing the type of food, as these ingredients attract squirrels. You may also want to invest in a squirrel-proof bird feeder that prevents these critters from gaining easy access to food.
  3. Scare squirrels using a plastic owl: Placing a plastic owl on your fence post or the roof may help scare squirrels away from your yard.
  4. Use a taste repellent: Spraying a squirrel repellent composed of garlic, water, and vinegar around the perimeter of your home can discourage squirrels from entering.
  5. Use a motion-activated sprinkler system: A motion-activated sprinkler system will spray animals any time they come close to your yard.
  6. Seal entry points: Seal gaps and holes that aren’t intentional components of your home’s structural design. Squirrels and other pests can get into any room of your home when there are available entry points.
  7. Consult a pest control specialist: Pest control specialists train to both eliminate and prevent pest infestations. They can help you enact a plan that will keep squirrels from reentering your home.



Compare the Top Pest Control Companies

The This Old House Reviews Team analyzed every major pest control company in the United States based on plans, customer service, pricing, and other factors. Based on our analysis, we concluded that Terminix and Orkin are the best pest control companies in the industry. We recommend contacting these companies using the table below to help assist you with squirrel removal. We compare Terminix and Orkin in the table below:




Get a free quote

Visit Site

Visit Site

Our overall score out of 100



Best for

Best Overall

Best for Urgent Service

Annual cost for general pest control*



State availability



BBB rating**



Online chat



*Quotes were for a 2,000-square-foot home in Atlanta, Georgia.

**BBB ratings are accurate as of March 2023.


Terminix offers general pest control plans and pest-specific services that eliminate and prevent infestations. This includes rodent and wildlife control to help you remove squirrels in your attic. One of the more established names in pest control, Terminix has competitive pricing and offers 24/7 customer support, including an online chat function. For annual plan subscribers, Terminix provides as-needed free reservice between scheduled treatments.


Orkin has more than a century of pest control experience and serves every U.S. state, excluding Alaska. It offers many of the same services and guarantees as Terminix and hosts educational resources on its website detailing pest behaviors and control strategies. Orkin is typically more expensive than Terminix, but many Orkin branches offer same- or next-day service to accommodate urgent pest control needs.



Frequently Asked Questions



Our Rating Methodology

The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our pest control recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review pest control plans, navigate the provider website, speak with customer service representatives by phone and online chat (if available), request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and convenience factors, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.