Colder Temps Causing Squirrel Drama? Trap Them!

Friday, January 13th, 2017 by James Hartkorn


Have a sneaky suspicion that you might have an uninvited guest taking up residency in your attic? With the freezing temperature it's hard to blame anyone from attempting to find a respite from the cold. But that squirrel in your attic cannot stay. Of course, we know this, but what do we do?!? Call the exterminator? One option. The other option is trapping and relocating it yourself and while no one will call it "fun," it isn't as hard as you might think. Here are five steps to trap and release that pesky squirrel.

Step 1 – Get yourself a Trap

There are many, many options for you to choose from. Your trap options will range from simple to complex, lethal to ones that are much more humane. The type of trap could very well depend on the circumstance that you are in. Whether you are attempting to keep squirrels out of your garden, the birdfeeders or your attic, do some research on the right trap for you. For squirrels in your home, we recommend a more humane live squirrel trap. Below you will see two popular options.

 Squirrel Trap

Step 2 – Figure out where to put it.

This might be more difficult for some than others. If you know you have a squirrel in your attic, but you're not sure where they enter, finding a position for the trap could be more difficult. No matter the location, make sure the trap is on a flat surface. If you are placing it in your attic, place it against a wall or where you suspect the animal is entering and exiting.

Step 3 – Bait and Set the Trap. And Don't Forget to Check on it.

Now it’s time to bait your trap. You will want to choose something that is appealing to the squirrel, obviously. Fortunately, squirrels are not too picky, especially in the winter. When baiting your trap, use the following tips to aide in your success:

  • Select a bait that the squirrels can't easily steal. The use of peanut butter is perfect for this very issue.
  • Make sure you place the bait in a position where the squirrel will have to engage the trigger of your trap.
  • Wear gloves so that your scent is not transferred to the trap.
  • Make sure the bait is unreachable outside of the trap.

Now follow the instructions for your trap and set it. Make sure that you are checking the trap frequently.

Step 4 – Caught one… Now what?!?

This is both good news and bad…. First off, it worked! You've caught what you were aiming to catch and that's good news, obviously. But now you have to get rid of the critter. Great. The first thing that you will want to do is put those gloves on. Hopefully you purchased a cage or trap with a handle. If not, figure out a way to transport the trap without any chance of coming in contact with the squirrel. As you know, squirrels carry with them disease.

Next, escort your fuzzy friend away from your home. Depending on your local laws (yes there are laws concerning this!), you may want to drive your critter at least 10 miles away. And while ten miles is a bit longer than you deem necessary, releasing your squirrel at least a mile away is a good idea. You do not want it returning to its hideout. Once its release, make sure to disinfect the trap in order to prevent spreading disease.

Step 5 – Keep Squirrels Out.

Now that your uninvited guests have been removed, make sure you take some preventative steps to keep out any other critters. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your attic is completely free of anything that could attract the next squirrel. Food or garbage of any kind should be gone.
  • Make sure tree branches are trimmed so that they are at least 10 feet away.
  • Install chimney cap or inspect the one on there now.
  • Repair any holes in your home's exterior.
  • Apply squirrel repellent.

The Nebraska Humane Society discourages trapping squirrels, and offers some other options to getting them out of your home, but if they have become a safety hazard in your home, you might feel there is no other option.

Lastly, be sure to inspect the areas around your gutters to find any areas where rot may be that could lead to holes where squirrels can access your home. If you need help, call your local gutter experts and we will help!

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