Squirrels are crafty little rodents, building complicated nests and hiding thousands of nuts in the fall. Though it may seem unlikely, lots of squirrels break into Toronto’s attics. They chew their way through roof vents and other holes in the roof, then nest in the insulation. Attics are like big hollow trees, giving squirrels a safe place to raise their young and nest throughout the winter.
The problem with these invasions is that they cause a lot of damage. Squirrels will contaminate the insulation with their feces and urine. They also tend to chew on cables, risking fire and power outages. The holes that squirrels leave in the roof expose the attic to rain and snow, and invites other animals, like raccoons, into the attic as well. It is best that you keep your roof protected from a squirrel invasion.
The following lists what every Toronto homeowner can do to keep squirrels out of the attic.
Get rid of the bird feeder
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Bird feeders are wonderful if bird watching, but they are magnets for rodents. Squirrels have no trouble climbing them and they spill seeds onto the ground. Get rid of it, or switch to a suet feeder and hang it far away from the branches of your trees. Feed the birds only in the summertime.
Protect your plants
Squirrels are omnivores that will feed on your fruits and vegetables. Keep them off-limits by covering them with mesh. You can find all kinds of covers online or in garden centres. Cover your bulbs with chicken wire before burying them completely.
Maintain the roof and the gutters
Squirrels will take advantage of the vulnerabilities on your roof to access the attic. Look out for damages and if your shingles could use a pick-me-up. Asphalt shingle roofs usually last for about 20 years. Call a roofer if you need major repairs. Smaller gaps in the edges of the roof can be sealed with mesh, caulking, or metal flashing.
What you can do is keep the roof and gutters clean. Don’t let leaves pile up on the roof. Clean out the gutters every spring and fall, scooping everything out and running the hose through them to ensure that it flows freely. Leaves and nesting material can accumulate here, drawing squirrels in.
Trim the trees
Overgrown trees that reach over the roof drop leaves into the gutters and provide squirrels with easy access to the roof. Trim branches back so they are a few feet away from the roof. If you can’t do it safely, reach out to a local arborist. You should also maintain your hedges and vines.
Cover the chimneys and roof vents
Squirrels often get into the attic through the roof vents. They may also nest in the chimney, dirtying it with feces and debris. Cover these with a half-inch mesh to keep squirrels out. The thicker the mesh, the better. Remember that squirrels can chew through plastic and soft metals. If you can’t get the right material, or if you cannot reach the roof safely, contact a wildlife removal company for help. They can squirrel-proof your vents for you.
Reinforce the soffits
The soffits are another vulnerability. Squirrels can squeeze their way through gaps between the soffits and chew their way through. Look for gaps between the soffits and the exterior walls of the home, then block them off with caulking, flashing, or mesh. Fix broken soffits and reinforce them where squirrels can reach, such as above the downspouts.
Keep the attic clean
Do not store any consumables up in the attic, such as Halloween candy or edible decorations. A squirrel would absolutely love to feast on a popcorn garland or candy cane. Keep the attic as clean and organized as you can.
Call a wildlife removal company
Many wildlife removal companies offer squirrel-proofing services in addition to removal. Whether you are currently dealing with a squirrel problem or not, you can give them a call and ask them to exclude your property for you. They can identify weak points and points of entry, then block them off with squirrel-proof materials.
Author Bio: Isabelle Provencher is a writer at Squirrels Toronto, a blog that shares helpful information on squirrels in the city. The blog is a subsidiary of Wildlife Shield, a wildlife removal company in Toronto with affiliations in landscaping, renovation, and more.