Squirrels nesting in the attic are a common complaint for homeowners. During mating season, or when the weather is cold, squirrels will move into attic spaces and nest in the insulation to keep warm. The problem is that they can produce a lot of noise and have a tendency to chew through wiring located in the roof space. They may also be carrying diseases, ticks and fleas. Deterring squirrels from the attic is not a foolproof science, but there are a few things that can be tried.
The best way to stop squirrels from nesting in an attic is chemical repellent. These can be bought at any good household goods store, but can also be made at home. The key ingredient in these is cayenne pepper, or more specifically the capsaicin in it. There are a variety of recipes that can be used. Cook onion, jalapeno chilies and cayenne together with water and pass through a sieve. Alternatively just mix the cayenne with soap, water or oil. Crushed chilies and water also have the same effect as does a diluted hot pepper sauces from the supermarket. Pour these liquids into an atomizer and spray around the attic. This also works for keeping squirrels away from plants.
Putting mothballs in the attic is a hit and miss method of deterring squirrels. A lot of mothballs will be required and there is no guarantee they will stop the squirrels from nesting. Alongside that the mothballs create a smell in the house and can drop in between attic floorboards making them impossible to retrieve. It may be worth a try, but may not succeed. To make your own mothballs mix cloves, rosemary, mint, thyme and ginseng together and tie up in muslin bags.
Trim back branches of trees at least 10 feet from the roof of the house. Again this is not a fool proof way, but may deter squirrels enough as they will not be able to jump onto the roof and find a way into the attic.
Patching the Roof
The most likely time of year for squirrels to nest in an attic is from March to June when they will be giving birth. In February it is a good idea to give the roof a check for any obvious means of entry for squirrels. Squirrels may be able to find another way in, but eliminating possible entry points is a start. Do not cover holes if the squirrels are already nesting as this will trap them inside and may result in more damage to your attic.