If you hear the sound of animals running around above your fireplace, you may have a squirrel infestation. In the colder months, squirrels often seek refuge inside chimneys and attics. Often, they bring their nesting materials into the chimney with them, which presents a fire hazard when the fireplace is used. Squirrels can also drop down into your fireplace from the chimney and wreak havoc on your home. You can bait and remove the squirrels without harming them or presenting a fire hazard.
Slide a thick rope down your chimney, tie the end around the chimney to secure it, and leave it there. This will make it easier for squirrels to climb in and out.
Set a 6-by-6-by-18-inch steel cage trap next to your chimney's opening. Place peanuts and peanut butter inside to bait the squirrels. Eventually, squirrels will exit the chimney in search of food.
Check on your traps after a day and release the squirrels inside.
Call a wildlife professional if you are still having problems. See Resources for a nationwide list of wildlife professionals.
Install a steel chimney cap to prevent future squirrel infestations. The chimney cap will allow smoke to escape, but will prevent squirrels from entering the chimney.