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Darrell Blackwelder column: Squirrels in the attic

I had a question a few weeks ago from a person who was hearing noises in her attic. She suspected it was a squirrel and needed to know what to do to remove them. When there is a squirrel or other pest in the attic area, the very first thing to do is to determine where the pest is entering the house. It may be very obvious, but most often is a somewhat inconspicuous location. Squirrels must leave the attic in search of food and water, so crafty homeowners can observe how they are entering the home. The next step is to install a one-way squirrel exclusion door on their major exit hole. The exclusion door can vary from a flap to a cone shaped device that allows the squirrel to escape, but renders it unable to reenter the attic. These devices can be readily found online from Amazon and other wildlife sites. Setting baited traps in the attic may work, but in the end, you’ll have to find out how the squirrel is entering the building to keep them permanently out. If the squirrels are nesting, they will be very difficult to remove. Time and patience are the key for removal. If all else fails, contact a licensed animal control person. They are experienced and will eventually solve your squirrel intruder problem. Go to https://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/WildlifeProblems/documents/Coexisting-squirrels.pdf for more detailed information on squirrel control.

 Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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