Case Studies

Cowleys Pest Services Case Studies: Squirrels Set Up Long-term in Forked River, NJ Attic

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 by Bill Cowley


A homeowner in Forked River, NJ, was hearing wildlife noises in his attic in the early morning and well as right before dark. These times reflect the typical activity of eastern grey squirrels. Squirrels are more active during the day than at night. If you hear wildlife noises during the day, it’s a good chance that you are dealing with a squirrel infestation since, from my experience at least, squirrels are the most common attic invaders. If you hear sounds at night, you are likely dealing with a nocturnal animal such as a raccoon. Squirrels are considered crepuscular animals, meaning that their peak activity times are about two hours after sunrise (dawn) and two to five hours before sunset (dusk) — just about the time that the homeowner was hearing sting noises emanating from above. This behavior allows them to minimize their exposure to the highest temperatures of the day.  

We entered the attic for our inspection. The aftermath of a wildlife infestation can be devastating just from damage to insulation and stored items from their urine and fecal deposits. The damage here was far beyond what we normally encounter. It was evident that this infestation was left untreated for years. The entire attic was blanketed by waste from one side to the other. We observed both squirrel droppings and flying squirrel droppings. Sadly, this family’s sentimental belongings that were being stored in the attic were ruined. 


Given the condition of the attic, we expected to find numerous entry points around the roof, fascia, and soffits. To our surprise, there were no gaping, obvious entry points. We taped various potential areas to determine if they were the routes being used by the squirrels. There was absolutely no sign of activity at these possible entry points. Since they weren’t entering from up above, we moved our inspection to ground level. As we were inspecting the perimeter of the home, we found pieces of insulation at the bottom of a plumbing stack (vent pipe) on the side of the home. (if you’re curious, a plumbing stack is a crucial part of a home’s drain system. It allows air into the drain line so water can flow freely and allows sewer gases to vent away from the living areas of the home so that your home does not stink like an outhouse). Squirrels were using this piping that, as you can see in one of the photos, terminated in the attic in order to gain access inside the home (often these pipes extend out through the roof). Usually, squirrels, as arboreal animals, access attics from somewhere around the roof, accessing the roof, such as from an overhanging tree branch or some overhead wiring or cables. It is highly unusual to find a squirrels’ point of entry at ground level. But as happened here, it can and does happen! 

We solved a wildlife mystery for a homeowner that, unfortunately, had been going on for years.