Saturday, June 23, 2018

Squirrels in the Attic

When we moved in, the house across the driveway had been empty for a while (as had ours), but while ours was maintained and improved by the elderly owner's sons, this house was headed for bank sale.  It didn't look too rough from the outside, but I spoke to the couple who did most of the renovation for the new owner/landlord, and plumbing, wiring, walls, floors all needed redoing.

Another issue the house had was squirrels.  One of the neighbors called it Squirrel Manor, and they were right.  You could see them popping in and out of vents, downspouts, under the eaves.  Wherever they wanted to.

One by one, the openings were blocked up, and the squirrels had to look for new housing.

Guess where some of them moved? 

We have an ornamental drop ceiling in the bedroom that I considered ripping out when we moved in, but it was in good condition and it was pretty, not that metal grid office drop ceiling, so we let it be.  I'm regretting that now, because while the critters apparently entered through the attic, there must be a breach in the original plaster ceiling (isn't there always, in the case of drop ceilings?), and they decided it was much more snug and comfortable in the 3" space between the plaster and the fiberglass drop.

And the sound of their little claws on that drop ceiling . . . makes me crazy.  Like, can't sleep in the bedroom underneath them crazy. 

Now I'm in the midst of dealing with animal control, wild animal removal, humane traps and homicidal fantasies.  It's amazing how your feelings about cute fuzzy animals change when they invade your home. 

Animal control found a few small openings in the stucco (squirrels only need a 1.5" opening) and packed them with sharp metal mesh.  I found 2 more narrow openings in the attic crawlspace which were hidden behind the roof edge/gutter on the outside, and Mario stapled multiple layers of metal screening over them. 

But they're still up there, and obviously there has to be another exit because it's been days since we did the work in the attic, and the sounds are not the sounds of frantic-to-escape, hungry, thirsty squirrels.  It's a squirrel party, all the time.

A different company is coming out this week.  The tech is planning to remove a small section of the drop ceiling (which I no longer have any attachment to whatsoever, surprisingly), and then he'll be able to diagnose the situation better.  He said that the amount of noise we're getting at night doesn't say squirrels to him, unless they're flying squirrels.  He thinks it could just be mice, and the small space they're in is magnifying the noise.

Much as I don't like the idea of mice, I can handle mice.  They're nowhere else in the house, I've seen no droppings or mess, no food packets have been ripped into in the cabinets, and the cats aren't bothered in the least.  Mice can be trapped in a variety of ways, plus they don't like peppermint oil, which I have in abundance from the time we had mice in the mudroom off the old house.

Either way, mice or squirrels or Rocky the Flying Squirrel, I will prevail. 

I just won't sleep much in the meantime.


Nursebennett said...

Even growing up in the country, and being a country girl most of my life, mice (or rats as I call them ALL), are the on one thing I cannot abide. However, in this instance I’m praying that’s your issue, as I have friends that had squirrels in their attic who did major damage when they chewed the wiring. Bless you!

Summer Flies said...

Oh my I do not envy you but feel your pain as I have just got rid of 2 possums and some rats from the yard (bush) they just cleared behind me. It took me weeks and lots of sleepless nights. I was shaking my head - I was hoping it was rats as they would be easier to get rid of. The possums not peeing all over my deck and outdoor table is so nice again. Hope it's a quick fix.

edj3 said...

Ugh--hate, hate, hate squirrels. They are so destructive.

Karen said...

Thanks for the m oral support, everyone. Looks like the squirrels are gone, but the animal control people did find evidence of mice in the attic as well. Looks like they might have followed the squirrels inside, because there wasn't much. Mice I can take care of on my own. This game is on!