Update on Mission: Squirrel Eradication

You may recall we recently encountered a bit of a problem with a certain family of furry vermin taking up residence in our attic.


After this guy stared me down through my master bedroom window, I realized it was time to get serious or we would soon become the subject of an Alfred Hitchcock film.

In my post on stuff you won’t see in Better Homes and Gardens, I mentioned the hubs was using some interesting tactics to get rid of our squirrel problem.


Why is the trap on the outside of the house, you ask? Won’t that just attract all the squirrels in the neighborhood, you ask? Well, let’s just say that after being married to my man for 13 years, I’ve learned it’s best not to ask questions. 😉

Using his method, we trapped and relocated an entire family tree of squirrels (What? That isn’t your idea of a fun weekend activity?), but we weren’t confident the problem was solved.

So I decided to try some different tactics. I started with the old mothball standby.

In case you don’t recall from hiding in your great grandma’s closet, mothballs stink. Seriously. And apparently, squirrels hate the smell of mothballs and won’t come near them.

So I armed myself with a box of the stinky pellets, then climbed through the scuttle hole into our attic space where I planned to drop a handful of them. Note: Upper arm strength is a definite plus when attempting to climb into attic hatches.

After I made it into the attic (and immediately vowed to do more push-ups and pull-ups on a regular basis), I took a mini flashlight in my mouth and proceeded across a path of boards to the other end of the house. I had to make sure I stepped in the middle of the boards to avoid Chevy Chase’s attic experience in Christmas Vacation. The only difference between his experience and mine was about 500 degrees. I knew I needed to complete this operation quickly or I would pass out from the heat and be found days later face down in a pile of insulation.

During my quick attic inspection I discovered quite a bit of damage. This family of squirrels had nearly chewed completely through our electric and cable wires and had made a nest in the insulation. I now understood why my dad calls them “limb rats.” I was ready to move from Mission: Squirrel Eradication to Mission: Artillery Attack.

But I kept my cool – despite the fact I was drenched in sweat – and looked for holes where the squirrels might be getting into the house. I found one obvious spot and filled it with expandable foam sealant (from a spray can).

I then scattered some mothballs strategically around the place. After that, I violently choked and gagged on a bit of fiberglass insulation I had inhaled, so I called it quits and lowered myself back down the attic hatch.

A few days later, you could literally smell the mothballs before you entered our home. That’s how strong the odor was! Turns out, mothball gas is denser than air, so the smell easily permeates through the ceiling into your living space. Nice.

So I took another trip to the inferno, this time to retrieve all the mothballs I had laid out. Cue Phase 2 of the mission, which basically involved my husband in the backyard with a pellet gun shooting every squirrel and chipmunk he laid eyes on. Good thing we live in the country. 😉

The verdict? So far no squirrels have returned to our attic. With the holes sealed, the faint odor of mothballs in the air and my husband on 24-hour combat surveillance, I think we may have solved our problem. For now …

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14 Responses

  1. Michellelhb says:

    I built a desk for my sister and my dad and were bringing in all of the parts to install it. In pranced a squirrel and down the stairs it went into their basement! After install was complete my dad visited the local tract supply and got traps. Thankfully it was caught 3 hours later as my sister was coming back from California! What a homecoming gift that would have been:)

  2. Ruth says:

    Good job now tell me how to get rid of bats? I am a afraid of them and want them gone.

    • Cheryl says:

      Hi Ruth,
      Bats are difficult. We had them and my son and husband would set their alarm in the middle of the night to go in the attic when the bats were outside. Then they would use some of that expandable foam sealant to fill in gaps. A bat can enter in a space that is quite small. it took several efforts but they finally got rid of them. Good luck!!!!

  3. Shell We says:

    LOL you crack me up! Hope you stay squirrel free & they dont decide to visit & play soccer with those mothballs.

  4. Becky says:

    I’m so happy to have found your blog (thanks to your comment on mine!) Mercifully, we do not get many squirrels in our neighborhood. My parents’ backyard (and garden) are full of them, however. My father has been operating a “squirrel relocation program” with a Have a Heart trap for several years now. We joke that they hitchhike back from the park where he takes them. 🙂

    • Susan says:

      Loved your ant trap idea, Becky! I shared it on my Google + page. So clever! I’ve been told you need to relocate squirrels at least 5 miles away so they won’t return. Would you believe my husband started spray-painting the tips of their tails so he could tell if they returned? I am going to be on PETA’s hit list for sure!

  5. Dianna says:

    Thank you for your humor and excitement about life.

  6. Marla says:

    too funny – we’ve had problem with squirrel (we think it’s a squirrel – very noisy, but we haven’t seen it). Traps were set by the animal control people, but completely ignored by the critter. We had the traps in the attic for 4 or 5 weeks, didn’t hear anything for 2 of those weeks, so thought the critter had left or died, then as soon as the traps were gone, heard it again that afternoon. Whew!!! What a pain.
    I love your blog and loved this post – too, too funny!
    We haven’t heard the critter in a few weeks now, so hope its gone. and we’ve put mothballs outside to deter the cats that hang out and you’re right – very aromatic (not!!)

  7. Pat says:

    We live in Florida and are over-run with little lizards. Sizes run from 1 inch to 10 inches – nose to end of tail. Their different colors are green or tan or black. They try to come into the house whenever a door is opened. They are not afraid of our cat. How do we get them to move to another location. Please help me !
    Thank you so much.

    • Susan says:

      Wow. I have no experience with lizards so I’m sorry I can’t help. Perhaps you should post your question at Hometalk.com. There you’ll have a great chance of having more folks give you advice regarding your problem.

  8. Elvira Menut says:

    When my youngest daughter was about 2 years old I was “loading” the kids into the oversized SUV when I discovered a squirrel had entered the car also! My 2 yr old was already buckled in the car seat and I was terrified she was going to get bit. I put some peanut butter in a squirrel trap and put it in the rear of the car. Thanks to my older boys we caught the squirrel and, as per training from my dad, drove the critter to some remote location where my brave boys set it free. Truthfully, I was never so terrified for my kids as much as I was that day. I suppose the squirrel might have been a bit miffed, too, having found itself (however possible) inside a carload of wild indians! LOL I am ever so grateful for my dad’s training about getting rid of squirrels, for my boys’ bravery, and for God protecting my daughter from being bit. To this day I ask myself, How/why in the world would a squirrel decide to get into a car?!

    • Susan says:

      Oh my goodness. That is crazy! I’m so glad everyone was safe and I’ll bet you get a good chuckle out of the whole thing now. I sure did. 🙂

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