Keep squirrels out of your attic

"It’s a pretty common problem," says John Vallerand, president of highly rated NW Pest Control Inc. in Waltham, Mass. “They do it for shelter from cold weather and also as a place to breed,” he says.

Squirrels that get into eaves can chew wires, according to Matt Grady, owner of highly rated Batguys in East Taunton, Mass. “They can do a lot of damage to a home’s electrical system and potentially cause fires,” he says.

Vallerand says squirrels urinate and place their droppings in the walls and the attic. “The longer squirrel problems continue, the harder they can be to prevent in the future,” he says. “If they leave their odor, it will entice others to come.” To prevent the problem from occurring, Grady says a homeowner should trim trees away from the house. “If there’s even one branch that comes close to the roof, that’s like inviting them to come,” he says.

Also, Vallerand recommends replacing any badly rotted fascia boards, and Grady suggests replacing wood eaves or reinforcing them with aluminum. If squirrels already inhabit your home, Vallerand and Grady recommend trapping and removing them. To patch one or two holes and set cages that are checked daily, Vallerand estimates the price between $400 and $500.

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