Attics represent one of the ideal indoor places for animals to find food and shelter. A warm place for animals to live, attics are magnets for insects, spiders, birds, and even feral cats.
Various species make it indoors through small openings and cracks in walls or around windows and doors. Getting rid of animals in attics is possible through different measures, mainly depending on each species.
Signs of Animal in Attic
Detecting animals in the attic may be difficult. Each species is different and requires different detection practices.
Bugs may be found in attics together with other insects and even larger animals. Some of the signs of their presence in your home include the following.,
- Cracks and noises
- An unpleasant scent
- Wall and gutter damages
- Possible power problems
- Bugs and animals in other areas of the house
Animals can get in the attic by accident or seek out food or shelter. Typical animals in the attic include the following species.
21 Common Animals in The Attic
All of the following species may end up in the attic if attracted to food, moisture, or warmth indoors.
1. House Mice
Some of the most common animals in attics are house mice. These types of mice are native to Asia but are now present widely in each US state.
Both new and old homes can be invaded by these types of small mice.
Attics are of particular interest as dark areas with reduced human activity in the house attract the species the most.
Certain factors such as having crawling space behind roof insulation facilitate the habitat for mice to feel comfortable and even to breed indoors.
Apart from having plenty of areas to hide and crawl under in the dark, house mice are also interested in attics with stored food.
If the species eats insects and other types of foods outdoors, it prefers to eat stored grains indoors. It may even eat all other types of stored foods for human consumption.
Females are known to give birth in high numbers every few weeks. Known for their solid climbing skills, small and agile house mites can get into attics either from the outside or from any other room in the house.
Roof rats are identified by their location and the length of their tails. As their name implies, these types of rats love to live in attics.
They have long tails that are even longer than their bodies. Together with the tail, roof rats can measure up to 18 inches, with most adults measuring anywhere between 13 and 15 inches.
Roof rats are among the species that also nest in the attic.
They are often heard at night as they are nocturnal, only coming out for food during the night.
These types of rats are known to be very cautious when it comes to venturing out of their nests during the day.
A similar type of caution is shown when you try to lure them into a rat trap. Most attempts fail either because there are too many rats to catch with a single trap or because these rats see the bait as suspicious.
Rats in the attic may wander into other areas of the house but they eventually end up back in the attic before sunrise.
You may need to purchase different types of baits and lures to spread out around the attic to eliminate them.
Wasps in the attic are common problems if there’s a small opening for them to go inside.
This means there’s a high probability your attic is the place of a wasp nest. This type of nest is difficult to eliminate as wasps become aggressive to any person attempting to approach their nests.
Furthermore, killing just the wasps and not removing their paper-like nest also leave a small chance for them to return the following year.
Nesting wasps live in small colonies led by queens. A queen wasp looks for good nesting sites.
Most of these sites are above the ground in areas many predators cannot reach. This is the main reason attics are a well-sheltered location for wasps to establish a new colony in.
Removing wasps from the attic may be a complex task that requires the help of an exterminator.
Timing is crucial when it comes to removing their nests and exterminators may be looking for the periods when the wasps our out to remove their nests.
Attics are ideal places for house spiders to live. They can set up spider webs and they have almost no contact with humans.
As long as flies can enter attics, spiders have a food source and no actual reason to live in the attic.
Various species of spiders can live in attics. Wolf spiders may be the largest species you can find here.
Other types of spiders in the attic include the garden spider, a yellow, white, and black species that make it up to attics from the garden.
Even venomous species such as Black Widows may live in attics.
Removing spiders from attics doesn’t require the help of a professional exterminator.
Proper vacuuming and frequent cleaning should remove all spiders, their webs, and their eggs.
It’s also important to seal up all cracks in walls and openings which may allow spiders to get into attics from outdoors.
Cockroaches may sometimes be found nesting in attics. They may not be living in attics all of their lives as they might only be using them for nesting locations.
Most cockroach species are nocturnal. This means they may be in the attic feeding and looking for food or they may be looking for food elsewhere during the night.
Going up to the attic to check for roaches during the day might also not expose them.
Roaches are very good at hiding under clutter or in insulation as long as they find a small opening to crawl through.
Since they don’t make any noise, detecting them in the area of the attic they hide in can be difficult.
Roaches like to eat both meat and plants. Decaying food in the attic is most likely to attract cockroaches here.
Stored fruit in the attic is one of the main reasons these large bugs enter the space in the first place.
Picked apples or even walnuts that are often stored in attics attract all types of bugs, including roaches.
Eliminating these bugs from the attic involves getting rid of all of their favorite foods, including cardboard boxes which may be eaten in the absence of other foods.
Sealing all entry points including any pipes that aren’t properly insulated is recommended against roaches.
The female raccoon is one of the animals that can live in attics. They may live up there for a short period, typically for the period of giving birth, or for a long period, as long as there’s food around.
Female raccoons look for secluded places to give birth.
Attics are warm and dry, providing a good retreat for females of the species to give birth.
The presence of various foods keeps them in the attic. Female raccoons may eat mice, insects, dried stored fruit, nuts, and various eggs of other species that nest in the attic.
Kits or baby raccoons are born in early spring if the weather is warm.
Female raccoons may give birth to several up to 5 kits. This is why the period from March to April marks the highest chance of raccoons in attics.
These large animals are typically noisy and are easily detected in attics as they move.
Raccoons might also be present in attics up to June. This is marked by late birthing or by a female that tries to give birth again if the first litter hasn’t survived.
7. Cluster Flies
Organic matter in the attic attracts various types of insects. Cluster flies are just one of the species interested in these types of flies.
Their larvae are typically not found in attics unless you grow plants in pots in the attic. The larvae of cluster flies are laid in the soil, preferably in moist soil outdoors where it feeds on worms.
Adult cluster flies may be up in the attic if there’s a fruit, plants, or another type of organic matter to feed on, flying in from the vicinity of the house.
Since flower nectar from plants is rare as most attics aren’t ideal places for potted plants, fruits and organic matter buildup from a leaky roof are among the first reasons for these flies to make it into the attic.
Coldblooded creatures such as snakes need to find a way to get warm. They do this by laying on warm rocks in direct sunlight or by moving indoors.
Snakes may move into attics as they look for a warm place with food.
Attics provide an ideal habitat for snakes that eat spiders and flies. With warmth, food, and almost an undisturbed habitat, snakes might be tempted to live in attics for a long time.
Not all types of snakes can live in attics. It’s the various types of climbing snakes that are most likely to make it into attics on purpose or by accident.
Snakes such as Yellow Rat Snakes have good reasons to climb into attics for food.
Other common species such as Rough Greensankes can also live in attics as they climb for food.
Most species of snakes in the attic are non-venomous. Still, some of the larger species are known to inflict painful bites.
Various species of birds can be found in the attic. Pigeons are a typical species known to live in attics.
Having the tallest house in the area is known to attract pigeons. Many birds of the species are known to favor the tallest structures for the best views. They might be seen on the roof, looking out for food during the day.
Pigeons can also nest under the roof or in the attic.
One of the problems with pigeons is they don’t necessarily need food to nest in the attic as they can look for food elsewhere.
Barn swallows are another highly common bird species in attics. This is a type of blue bird with a red face that likes to live in open areas with plenty of vegetation.
Homes in areas with low vegetation are often ideal nesting sites for barn swallows.
Even more, barn swallows are known to prefer habitats with short vegetation that have homes and barns for them to nest in, which also inspires their name.
Eliminating these birds from the attics and the roof is subject to preventive measures such as installing anti-bird netting.
House sparrows are among the smallest birds that can nest or hide in the attic. These types of small birds are highly associated with inhabited areas where humans live.
Having any type of puddling water around the house is known to attract these birds which love to batch and drink here.
Silverfish may be among the species found in moist attics. Seeing these types of bugs in an attic is an indication of a moisture problem.
Silverfish only live in areas of high humidity, typically bathrooms and kitchens when indoors.
These bugs may find plenty of food and shelter in attics that suffer high humidity caused by a leaky roof or by a burst pipe.
Silverfish might also persist in an attic without any water leak problems which only has high humidity through bad ventilation.
Installing a dehumidifier may be a solution to eliminate these bugs in the attic.
Outside of the house, silverfish eat organic materials such as plant matter. These bugs show a high preference for proteins and carbohydrates indoors.
Silverfish may even eat cardboard or wallpaper in the attic which means they will survive indoors for a long time as long as there’s sufficient humidity.
Ladybugs may be found in the attic as this is a warm place for them to hide and lay eggs.
Unlike other species, ladybugs pose no real threat to homes as they only eat other bugs. Still, some people might show allergic reactions to these predatory bugs.
Elimination methods are typically tied to vacuuming, as pesticides aren’t needed to get rid of these bugs.
Ladybugs can lay thousands of eggs in the attic. It’s here that these eggs are protected from potential predators.
A good sign in general, ladybugs may start killing and eating other types of bugs next to the house, particularly in the garden.
Preventive solutions against small bugs that fly include sealing all small attic entry points.
A general sealant and even duct tape may be used to keep different species of ladybugs out.
Bees are most likely building hives under the roof and end up in the attic.
This is a high-elevation point bees might be interested in to avoid predators. Just like wasps, bees like being in the attic mostly due to its sheltered benefits.
Skunks, wasps, spiders, and bee-eating birds are some of the most common types of bee predators.
Many of these birds can’t enter attics which means bees can build their hives without an imminent threat.
You may eliminate bees from the attic with fumigation techniques or using different types of bait.
Spotting a bee hive indoors is also a sign there are one or multiple openings which need to be sealed.
Termites might be present in the attic for food. Damp wood or wood that has been thoroughly penetrated by water is seen as an ideal food for termites.
Spotting termites in the attic is a warning sign, particularly when it comes to structural wood.
A roof leak that hasn’t been discovered is among the first reason termites might be interested in nesting in the attic.
Water leaks from pipes or other sources also need to be addressed.
Unlike bees or ladybugs, termites in attics may only be truly eliminated by a termite exterminator. They might impact other areas of the house and even nest outdoors, next to the home.
Crickets rarely get in attics but they might be spotted indoors for food.
Most crickets prefer to enter homes looking for shelter and warmth following sudden temperature drops.
They usually get out of the house on their own. Crickets might remain indoors when they have plenty of food.
Insect larvae such as the larvae of various bugs and spiders are seen as food by the species.
Seeds and various other plants you may have around the attic also attract crickets. Climbing plants on the house might need to be trimmed if you start seeing more than one cricket in the attic.
Bats like dark warm places such as attics.
They are typically very good at hiding in attics and may be difficult to spot due to their nocturnal nature.
Bats are also some of the most common types of insect predators. They feed on various insects when they become active, at night.
While not as small as other species, bugs need larger openings to enter attics.
Wood framing in the attic is a good place for bats to settle since they can hang upside down using the roof structure.
Eliminating bats in the attic can be done with different techniques such as fumigation.
Sealing all possible entry points is also required as bats may still return to the attic once removed.
16. Stink Bugs
Warmth is the first reason stink bugs are found in attics. These bugs can fly and are identified by their distinct shield shape.
Stink bugs may leave a messy residue when handled which is also known to have an unpleasant scent.
These bugs move in from crops and gardens at the end of the summer.
September and October mark the months stink bugs may be found in attics in temperate climates.
These bugs may also attract other species that eat stink bugs, such as ladybugs.
No special management measure is needed against these bugs apart from sealing all cracks in walls and around windows.
Various species of ants might be found indoors throughout the year.
Some are only found in the kitchen, where they can survive on sugary foods. Other species, such as carpenter ants, are found in the attic.
Wooden roof structures impacted by water may provide an ideal nesting site for carpenter ants.
This is a category of ants that prefers damp wood for shelter which may also be confused with termites.
Carpenter ants can create physical damage to structural wood in the attic when present in their thousands.
A more common problem these types of ants are known for, even in smaller numbers, us with electrical damage. The wiring may be chewed up by a few hundred ants in the attic.
Squirrels like attics because they’re a safe place to give birth. Females can give birth to 2 to 4 young squirrels in the attic.
This is a high-elevation area of the house climbing species such as squirrels use to escape potential predators.
Squirrels don’t like attics with plenty of activity, typically used as a living space or a home office.
They might find attics attractive when they’re dark and unused.
Unlike other species, squirrels can chew through various barriers such as insulation or shingles to make their way indoors.
You can keep squirrels out by sealing up all entryways. As diurnal species, squirrels should be easy to spot.
Opossums can climb vertical walls. This means they can make it into the attic.
They stay in attics when looking for a warm place that’s also sheltered. Furthermore, these are some of the most resilient species when it comes to moving indoors.
Even a tree next to a house can be a bridge for opossums to make it indoors. These creatures can jump a distance a few times their body length.
A long leap from trees to the roof means opossums can easily find their way indoors.
Droppings around the attic are the first sign of opossums indoors. Baits are typical methods of trapping opossums and clearing the attic.
Lizards are important in the ecosystem as they eat various species of insects, helping control their spread.
Over 4.000 species of lizards live around the world, sometimes sharing the same habitats with humans.
Lizards can get indoors even in the US. Species such as The Common House Lizard can move indoors from trees or power lines.
Their presence in the attic can be a rare issue, but it may become a frequent problem in attics with plenty of bugs and insects.
Clearing attics from clutter and vacuuming to eliminate bugs and insects is one of the ways to reduce food sources for lizards and the reasons why they might be found indoors.
High moisture around the house and puddling water are also known to attract lizards to the yard which may make their indoor access easier.
21. Feral Cats
A feral cat or a stray cat is not uncommon in the attic. These types of cats may move indoors looking for food.
They might attempt to catch mice and even squirrels. With the capacity to climb vertical walls, feral cats are among the most agile creatures in the attic.
Once inside, a feral cat may stay indoors if there’s sufficient food or moisture.
Feral cats may also return to attics where wildlife and carrion exist. These types of cats may choose to visit multiple homes with rodents, as they pick up their scents by droppings or urine (in the case of squirrels).
Feral cats stuck in the attic might need to be removed either using bait or opening up an access door for them to get out.
How to Prevent Animals in Attic
Attics aren’t as maintained as other areas of the house. This allows various species of animals to settle in this space and avoid being detected by humans for a long time. Here’s how to keep them out for good.
Detect animals early
Early detection is best when it comes to animals in the attic. A squirrel might soon turn into multiple squirrels.
A cockroach can soon turn into an invasion. This is why early detection of animals and bugs is crucial.
You may only detect these animals early by checking for signs such as droppings, a bad smell, or weird sounds coming from the attic.
Make sure to check your attic when you hear all types of noises, even at night, as many animals are nocturnal.
Start with the outdoor space
Clearing the area around the house is important as clutter serves as a perfect shelter for animals. You may not be able to prevent animals from getting into the attic if they’re already in your backyard.
Climbing plants and overhanging tree branches are among the first signs your attic might be the nest favorite nesting site for various species.
Trimming vegetation, picking fruit off the ground, and regularly taking out the garbage are among the first steps to keeping the outdoor area clean.
Make sure you deal with overhanging tree branches on the house as many animals and bugs on trees easily transition or even jump on the roof and make their way into the attic.
Seal cracks and openings around walls and the roof
Small openings, cracks, and a faulty roof might be an invitation for various animals.
Cats, mice, and squirrels are among the animals that might need a visible opening. But bugs use some of the tiniest openings to make it indoors.
This means you need to check for cracks and openings using a flashlight. Reduced visibility in the attic often makes you believe there are no entryways for animals into the attic.
Install vent covers
Ventilation shafts and openings need to be covered. Vent covers and durable mesh can be used around the attic so that no animal can get through.
Small windows or air vents in the roof are among the areas where animals might be tempted to enter as they feel the warm draft indoors, especially when outdoor temperatures start to drop.
Install chimney caps
Some animals can make it into the attic through chimneys. Installing chimney caps reduces the probability of having to deal with various species indoors.
Chimney caps may be installed even after the chimney is constructed, preferably by a licensed professional.
Regularly clean the attic
The main reason the attic attracts so many animals is that there’s little activity inside. Humans rarely go up to the attic which means animals can nest and even breed freely.
One of the best ways to keep animals out is to regularly check and clean the attic. Dust and leftover food in the attic is known to attract animals such as bugs.
Small animals such as bugs can attract large animals such as those that eat bugs, such as birds.
Dead mice around the attic and other dead animals may also attract other animals and cleaning routines need to be set for the attic.
While attics aren’t cleaned as regularly as the house, they should still be cleaned at least a few times per year.
This is also a good time to check for possible attic problems which favor indoor animals. Leaks in roofs or cracks around roofs may be spotted if you decide to clean your attic frequently.
Set up traps
Another common method of dealing with animals in the attic involves setting up traps. Sticky traps are among the common solutions against bugs and rodents.
You may need to install traps if you know your neighbor has a problem with bugs or animals in the house as they can easily migrate to your home.
Bait-based traps are also recommended for certain animal species.
Alternatively, you may want to consider a sonic animal repeller either in the attic or next to the house.
A similar idea is to install a motion detector in the attic.
This way, you know when there’s movement in this secluded area of the house as insulation might make it difficult to hear whenever there’s a trespasser in the attic.