Bats are amazing little creatures until they turn your home into their home… and then.. not so much. Here’s how to get them out of your home . . .
How to Safely Remove Bats from your Home
Above all, (some) Bats are federally protected animals. It is illegal in most, if not all states to harm them.
Here are a few facts about bats that you should know before you proceed:
1. Bats are not Blind-.
2. Less than 1% of Bats ever contract rabies.
3. Bats are not rodents, they are mammals classified in their OWN unique classification called ‘Chiroptera’. They do not have large litters of pups, most actually only have 1 baby at a time.
4. Bats are meticulously clean, continually grooming themselves. The smell that people most often associate with bats is actually urine and guano which has a tendency to accumulate below their roosting areas.
5. Here is the important part that you should never ignore, a Single Brown Bat can consume as many as 1,000 mosquitoes per hour.
You might, at this point be thinking to yourself, “That’s great, but I still don’t want them in MY house.”, which is perfectly reasonable. Here’s how you can remedy the bat issue in your home.
Remove Bats Safely by Exclusion
Exclusion is the most important step in removing bats because failure to do this First will more than likely result in a horrifying experience of bats finding their way into the main areas of your home as they desperately seek out a way to get OUT of your home. Exclusion is the process whereby you ensure the bats are OUT of the house before you seal up any possible entrances.
Herein lies the problem, because bats have their babies towards the end of May thru early August, you cannot do a thorough exclusion during this time. The pups are often still Inside the house during this time, unable to fly. If you seal out their mothers, they’ll die in your walls and I promise you not only is this inhumane but if you think the smell of guano and urine is bad, wait until you smell a rotting bat.
When sealing possible entrance areas, it is important to realize that any hole 3/4″ or larger is a potential entry point. Such as, but not limited to: Holes alongside TV cables, water pipes, cracks in drywall or plaster, gaps in ceiling tiles, Gaps under doors leading to attics or closets, etc.
Bats naturally hibernate from late fall (Oct/Nov) through to early spring (March/April). Your best removal times will be mid-April to mid-May and then again Late August- thru Mid-October.
How to Remove them:
During the day, carefully scrutinize your home, make a list of common entry points that you need to seal shut. Wait until the evening when they are likely out hunting for a meal of delicious pesky bugs, and once you are sure that you’re efforts won’t be sealing bats in, carefully seal every entrance point with a 3/4″ gap or larger.
Alternatively, if you cannot be sure that the bats have exited, you can fashion a one-way netting device (much like that of the entrance to a crab or lobster trap turned inside out) so that the bat can exit but will be unable to enter. To do this simply cover the opening with a piece of lightweight flexible netting extending 18 inches below the bottom of the opening. This should be left in place for 5-7 days to allow all the bats to exit. Keep in mind, doing this during maternity months as noted above will result in baby bats dying in your home, so be sure you’re paying attention to the time of year.
Common Entry Points:
- lifted shingles
- fan vents
- Chimney caps (use a screen)
- gaps in siding
- Areas where walls meet eaves/gable ends
- broken or poorly fitted screens
- Improperly flashed areas
Sealing Entry Points:
You may be wondering what type of materials you can use to seal entry points. The following are quite effective, silicone caulking, caulk backing rod, hardware cloth, heavy-duty netting, shredded steel wool.
If you must clean the guano, be aware that you should be using respiratory protection. Inhalation of bat droppings can cause histoplasmosis (flu-like symptoms). Wearing a mask, lightly spray/mist the guano with water to help keep the dust down while you remove it. Bat guano is an excellent fertilizer, so don’t toss it, use it to your advantage.
Things that people often try but are useless:
- Bright Lights
- Noise- bats use echolocation to find their way around, while this disturbs them, you’ll likely just confuse the poor things.
Other things that May Work:
Bats are attracted to areas that offer plenty of food. Be sure to remove standing water (where mosquitoes have a tendency to breed), to help reduce the attractiveness of your property.
Kicking Them Out Permanently
If you’re kicking them out of your home, be sure to provide them with a new home. Bat houses are simple to make and bats have a tendency to return to the same place year after year to raise their babies. If you provide several bat houses away from your house, they’ll be less likely to attempt reentry into YOUR house, as they’ll have an easily accessible home of their own.
As we mentioned above, a single bat can eat 1,000 mosquitoes an hour. With the rise in West Nile Virus cases the past few years, it might not be a bad idea to keep those little flying bug munchers around after all!