Author Topic: Animals in our attic  (Read 4655 times)

Lifeblood

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Animals in our attic
« on: June 04, 2014, 11:21:37 AM »
I can hear animals - birds and possibly a squirrel - scurrying around in the attic in two separate areas. In one place, I can see that the birds are using the ventilation holes, and I need to reattach the  screens to keep them out. I am not sure of the other entrance location. My question is how to go about this without endangering myself in the attic. Will the animals leave as soon as I go up there? Will they attack me? Is this a DIY or do I need to hire a specialist. If anyone has direct experience I would love to hear it!

Greg

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 11:30:53 AM »
Depending on the animals and what they have up there, like a nest, they could get momma-bear defensive on you.  Best to do some noisy recon.  Make lots of noise so you don't surprise anyone, and be fully covered, like in coveralls.

Nesting birds can make a ton of noise so it might just be birds.  Make sure to remove the nest (and any eggs or babies) before closing up the access point.  You may have to use some hardware cloth or something quite strong to deter the birds.

Spudd

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 11:38:30 AM »
We had a squirrel in our attic a few years ago. We could see where he was getting in, so we bought a Havahart trap and put it up in the attic baited with peanut butter crackers. Once we had him captured (took a couple of days) we closed up the entrance with hardware cloth and drove the squirrel 10km away to release him. We read online that they can't find their way back if you take them at least 10km away. No more squirrel so it seems to have worked.

The reason we used the trap was because we were afraid of trapping him in the attic by closing up the entrance would cause him to make a bigger mess in there (gnawing things trying to escape, pooping, etc). Maybe we could have had one person go up to the attic first to scare him off and then the other person close the entrance, but we were afraid he might just hide somewhere in the attic.

If you don't know where the entrance is, you will have to figure that out as the first step. It's possible that both the birds and the squirrel are using those ventilation holes.

Louisville

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 12:30:49 PM »
I know we're DIY around here, but the very fact that you're asking these questions suggests to me that maybe you shouldn't be up in your attic shooing critters. Take that thought or leave it.
I was able to get a family of racoons out by putting a radio and a bright light on an extension cord up in the attic. I put it on a timer to come on at random times of the day and night. That ran them off, then I fixed the vent (their point on ingress) from the outside.

Milspecstache

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 05:18:46 PM »
When I lived in a 100+ year old house I had squirrels/rats that liked to run around in the attic at night.  I'm a hard sleeper but would get woken repeatedly by the sound of something running around, and sometimes falling, feet from my bed (gambrel roof).  Repeatedly I would try to close off openings and they would chew new holes or find other accesses back in.  Finally I just tossed rat poison up there and that finally solved the problem.  Don't even remember a stench.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 08:14:14 PM »
When I lived in a 100+ year old house I had squirrels/rats that liked to run around in the attic at night.  I'm a hard sleeper but would get woken repeatedly by the sound of something running around, and sometimes falling, feet from my bed (gambrel roof).  Repeatedly I would try to close off openings and they would chew new holes or find other accesses back in.  Finally I just tossed rat poison up there and that finally solved the problem.  Don't even remember a stench.

the rat poison makes them really thirsty and they will leave to go find water, so wont die in your attic (hopefully). the only problem is if there are pets or something that can get up there and eat the poison, or eat the dead poisoned rat. It may cause secondary poisoning.

I would gear up and try to shoo them out, if they didnt leave i would use a BB gun.

Chris

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 08:55:24 PM »
We had a squirrel in our attic a few years ago. We could see where he was getting in, so we bought a Havahart trap and put it up in the attic baited with peanut butter crackers. Once we had him captured (took a couple of days) we closed up the entrance with hardware cloth and drove the squirrel 10km away to release him. We read online that they can't find their way back if you take them at least 10km away. No more squirrel so it seems to have worked.

Same here. I like this option best because you can plant the trap when they're not around, and then you have evidence that you caught it. Also, Haveahart traps are reusable.

George_PA

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2014, 11:15:47 PM »
I would do exactly what Spudd described.  A squirrel is not dangerous, I would not worry even if it is a bird or bates, 99% chance that the animal will not let you get that close to it to risk getting bit or anything like that.  I recommend a humane trap that simply traps them in a cage, so that you can carry it away and release it in the woods somewhere, bait it with peanut better. 

Even after you catch the first animal, reset the trap a few more times, or alternatively use a couple traps, because you could run into a situation where there is a mom with babies, thus, if you only take mom away and think you are done, the rest will not survive and will still be up in your attic.

the Book YMOYL says that whenever something breaks or you have an issue in your life (like this), it is reason to celebrate because you get to learn a new skill.  After you are done taking care of the animals, congratulate yourself on expanding your skill set.

ephillipsme

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 11:52:14 AM »
a couple years back we had Red Squirrels get into the attic.  We went up and made a fair amount of noise and  determined the ingress point and how to fix this. We then bated a haveaheart trap and placed this in the attic.  waited a day and then went up and retrieved the trap and removed the squirrel and patched the hole.  we did not send the squirrel that far a away. let them out down the road about a mile.  Once concern was the squirrels getting aggressive if captured, this is where a good amount to noise and let them know you are coming.  a fine wire mesh is a good and useful patch matcher, can be cut into shapes or different sizes and stapled into place fairly quickly.  One thing you should try and figure out by the time of the noises is this a daytime critter or a nocturnal one and plan you trip in to the attic accordingly.

Spork

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2014, 02:15:01 PM »

We had a hail storm that caused every roof within a square mile to be replaced.  This caused a big stir and the nice old hoarder lady across the street's rats all moved out and into all the houses around her.   I believe my final count was 35 rats I caught that summer.

It can be very difficult sometimes to locate where the little guys are getting in.  But you absolutely must find that and fix it.  And... there may be many entrances.  These animals consider your house to be "their home" ... so ... they'll work really hard to get back in.   In my case all the entrances were where one roofline merged with a soffit of another roofline.  There was only a tiny crack where the shingles hit the soffit... but a rat can get in.

I have pets and DO NOT like rat poison.  I don't care what the guy at the DIY pest control place says... it's wicked nasty stuff.  I caught all my rats with the good old fashioned snap traps.  If rats are what you have... you don't even have to bait the traps.  You just need to place them where the rats run ... along walls and along long rafter runs.   Tie the traps off (in case you don't get a clean kill).  Check them often!  For the most part the traps are very quick and effective... but I hate the idea of a suffering critter ... even if it's a nasty rat.

Lifeblood

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2014, 02:13:43 PM »
Update and questions. I finally opened the hatch and took a look around in the attic, as we have not heard the animals in awhile. They appear to have vacated, and I think I have some time to repair the screens on the ventilation holes without having to actually worry about the animals. I am sure they will eventually return unless I take preventive action. As you can see from the photos, the space is quite tight near the the ventilation holes. Any tips for maneuvering around up there? Also, any tips for what supplies to get? I assume I need some plastic screen and something to attach it. But I also see cardboard sheets or something similar just under each set of holes, perhaps to catch debris that comes in from the holes?


Lifeblood

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2014, 02:23:12 PM »
I had assumed the mesh would be installed from inside; is is better to do it from outside?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2014, 08:51:37 AM »
I've repaired several places on our house where the soffit became detached.  I was able to just staple or nail everything back into place from the outside.  Can you post pics from the outside?

Lifeblood

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Re: Animals in our attic
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 10:54:54 AM »
Not a great picture, but you get the idea. There is no mesh on the outside, and installing it there would cause problems later on when repainting.