What About Mothballs, Will they make Squirrels leave my attic?

You may have heard of the idea of using mothballs to drive away squirrels. When I first heard of this idea I was intrigued for all of about 60 seconds until I easily discovered that using mothballs for anything other than their intended purpose is not only illegal but a tremendous health hazard.

Mothballs are saturated with either one of two pesticides, Naphthalene or Dichlorobenzene. Long term exposure to naphthalene may damage or destroy red blood cells, causing a condition known as hemolytic anemia. Long term exposure to Dichlorobenzene, of course, causes cancer.

Using mothballs in an attempt to deter squirrels is a bad idea for several reasons. In order for a “mothball treatment” to be effective you would have to cover all areas of your attic with them. Once this is done the mothballs will give off heavy fumes and may or may not discourage the resident squirrels. These fumes will often seep down into the living-space of the house and produce an unbearable stench. Mothball fumes produce headaches, sore throats and long-term exposure can even cause poisoning. Another thing to consider is that once you spread a couple hundred mothballs through your attic they will roll into cracks, crevices and other voids and it is impossible to retrieve them. Mothballs are not made to deter squirrels or any other animals for that matter.