How to get rid of bats
- How To: Get R >
- PROJECT SUMMARY
- STEP 1: Research local laws
- STEP 2: Identify the bat type
- STEP 3: Determine bats’ entry point
- STEP 4: Seal the opening
- STEP 5: Clean, clean, clean
- Bat Removal and Control
- How to Get Rid of Bats
- How to Keep Bats from Hanging Outs style=’display:none;’> 1 Comment
- Choose an appropriate time for removal
- How to Get R >Forget mothballs, aerosols, and ultrasonic deterrents. They don’t work, particularly if you have an established colony of bats in your house. The easiest way to get rid of bats is through a process called exclusion.
- Bats as a Motif
How To: Get R >
The good news: Bats are not aggressive. The bad news: If there are bats in your house, it’s only a matter of time before their waste begins to pose a serious problem.
Health concerns aside—and there are indeed viable health concerns—bat droppings and urine can actually destroy wood and other building materials, gradually compromising the structural integrity of your home.
So even if you are not skittish and don’t mind the idea of bats dwelling under your roof, there are very good, rational reasons to act fast. Follow the steps outlined below about how to get rid of bats and prevent them from returning.
- Research local laws and consider installing a bat house on your property.
- Identify the type of bat you’re dealing with (and if it’s maternity season for that bat type, put your effort on pause temporarily).
- Locate the bats’ entry point to your home. – Seal the opening with a oneway valve or tube.
- Clean the vacated space thoroughly.
Continue reading for tips and full instructions on ridding your home of bats, once and for all.
STEP 1: Research local laws
Familiarize yourself with local laws. In most states, bats are a protected species, which means that it’s illegal to kill them. One humane approach is to install a bat house on your property prior to evicting your unwanted guests. Chances are that once barred entry to your home, the bats would take up residence in the new accommodations you’ve prepared. From there, you could count on the bats to continue their beneficial service of eating the insects on your property.
STEP 2: Identify the bat type
When you’re trying to get rid of bats, it’s essential to figure out what type of bat you’re dealing with. So the first thing to do is learn what types of bats are common in your neck of the woods. Next, try to get a good look at the bats, if you haven’t already, so you can compare your observations to your research. Vampire aficionados could easily guess that your best chances of seeing a bat are at dusk and dawn.
Once you know what kind of bats are in your house, you can move on to determining whether or not it’s maternity season for that particular species. If you prevent the mother bat from regaining entry to your house while the babies are still inside, those babies are going to die. And no matter how you feel about that, you’re definitely not going to like how it smells. So if it’s maternity season, wait it out.
STEP 3: Determine bats’ entry point
Sure that maternity season is over or has not begun yet? OK—time to get serious. Watch your home closely at dusk or dawn, with the aim of pinpointing where exactly the bats are entering and exiting your home. Bear in mind that a bat colony usually has more than one access point, and these can be as small as a half-inch. You may need more than one evening to locate the different openings being used.
STEP 4: Seal the opening
Cover each distinct opening with a one-way exit valve, one-way tube, or even just anti-bird netting, which you can buy online at low cost (and which couldn’t be easier to use). The ingeniousness of these designs is that, while they allow bats to exit the house with ease, they provide no way for the bats to return. If your chosen device seems to be working, leave it in place for a period of about three days.
STEP 5: Clean, clean, clean
Once there are no more bats left inside, you have a messy job on your hand. Inevitably, the bats will have left droppings and urine in their wake. When cleaning, it’s imperative that you wear the proper protective gear—full-sleeve clothing, work gloves, and a respirator. In fact, think seriously about hiring a professional cleanup crew. Once the area is no longer toxic, proceed to seal all the holes you identified.
Bat Removal and Control
|Bats are usually classified as a pest species due to their habits of living in houses. The most common complaints include the following:
For these reasons, many people wish to have colonies of bats removed from the building. Please be aware that this is a specialty service.
Since it’s a very common problem, I have here an advice article with photos on how to get bats out of the attic. If you just have a single bat (or two) flying around inside your house and you need to get it outside safely, read my bat in the house page. I have also written a page about how to get rid of bats in the chimney. Below is a short guide about getting bats out of buildings. Please read the advice and click on the supplemental information. In the end, I have to be very honest with you – it’s not easy work, especially for beginners. I myself did several dozen bat jobs, and made many big mistakes, before I got good at it. If you need bat removal, for the sake of your health, property, and even for the sake of the bats, please consider hiring a professional. My list is probably the best resource of bat control experts in the country, because I’ve researched it myself.
Bat Removal – How To Get Bats Out of Buildings
Step 1: Perform a full inspection of the building. This is to determine exactly how the bats are getting in and out. Click here to read more about how to do a bat inspection.
Step 2: Perform an attic inspection, and learn to identify the species of bat. This is important because different bats have different birthing and hibernating seasons. Read more here on my colonizing bat species page.
Step 3: Exclude the bats – DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TRAP THEM. Read here why you should not try to do bat trapping, but rather bat exclusion, which is the process of letting them fly out, but not back in, to the building.
Step 4: Seal up the house to keep bats out permanently. In fact, much of this is done prior to the exclusion – just be sure not to seal up the primary exit points while any bats are inside!! Read more about how to seal up the building properly on my bat prevention page.
Step 5: Clean the attic or walls, or space where the bats lived and defecated. Read more on my how to clean bat guano page.
A while back, I made these instructions on how to get bats out of buildings for a friend starting his own wildlife removal business, and it’ll also be helpful, with many good photos and instructions.
BAT BIOLOGY: North America is home to many species of bats, but these are the three most common nuisance (colonizing) species in the US: First is the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) which is common in most of the US, especially the more northward states. These bats are small, with a wingspan of 8 inches, and a weight of less than half an ounce. The females form large maternity colonies, often in buildings such as attics or barns. Young are born in June, and can fly by August. They can live up to 30 years apparently, though average lifespan in the wild may be about 7 years. They hibernate in the winter. The Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) is also common in the northern areas. It has a wingspan up to 13 inches, and can live up to 19 years in the wild. They mate in October, before winter hibernation, and after a delayed fertilization and a 60 day gestation, give birth to one or two baby bats in early June. The Mexican Free-Tail Bat Tadarida brasiliensis is common in the south. It has a wingspan of about 8 inches, a weight of half an ounce, and can live up to 16 years. These bats will form huge colonies, up to several million members in some cases. They mate in the fall, but delay fertilization, and one pup is born in early June, and can fly about eight weeks later. All of these bats often roost in man-made buildings, and love the attics of homes. None of these animals are actually blind, but they do use echolocation in order to aid in navigation on the wing. They are all insectivorous, catching insects on the wing. Read About Colonizing Bats species info.
BAT BEHAVIOR: Bats are nocturnal. They sleep in roosts during the daytime, and emerge at dusk. If it’s a colony of bats living in a building, they crawl to the edge, and fly out. First they head for water and get a drink, skimming the surface on the wing. They then feast on flying insects, primarily moths and beetles. After a while they get full and head back to the roost in order to rest. They then fly back out to feed some more. They may make several trips per night. Bats use echolocation in order to aid in navigation and feeding on the wing. They emit high-pitched chirps and read the sonar-like returns of the sound waves as they bounce back off of objects. Roosting preference depends on the species and even gender of the bats, but we are only concerned with colonizing bats such as the three mentioned above. These colonies are composed primarily of females. The males roost alone in solitary areas, such as trees. The females form huge clusters, very frequently in man-made architecture such as church towers, attics, bridges, etc. They tolerate and even prefer very high temperatures. Many of the southern bats migrate to different areas as climates change. However, bats in the north hibernate in colder weather.
NUISANCE CONCERNS: The primary concern involves large colonies. If it’s just a few bats, it may not be a big deal. However, if you’ve got a typical maternity colony of bats in your home or building or even barn, it can be a big problem. A large colony is not only noisy and unsettling at dusk and dawn as swarms of bats fly in and out, but the main problem is that they leave their droppings and urine behind. With a large colony of bats, this really adds up. After a while large piles of droppings form. Not only do the droppings and urine corrode wood/metal, but the weight of them can collapse the ceiling below the attic – I’ve seen if a few times. The waste has a foul odor, but it can also grow fungal spores that people can breathe in, leading to the lung disease Histoplasmosis. How Dangerous Are Bat Droppings?
BAT DISEASES: I’ve already discussed Histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lungs that results from the fungus that grows on nitrogen-rich bat droppings, but it’s also important to keep in mind the fact that the majority of the cases of rabies transmission in the United States have come from bats. Read about How Many Bats Have Rabies? The higher rate of infection may be because people are less cautious around bats than say, rabid raccoons, or because bats are very small and can bite and infect people in their sleep. Or perhaps the particular strain of rabies that bats or certain species of bats carry is more likely to infect people. Regardless, if you see a sick bat on the ground, don’t pick it up, because you might get bitten! Read about What If You Are Bitten By A Bat
HOW DO I GET RID OF BATS? Bat removal is not a simple task. There is no effective bat repellent for example that can do the job easily. The proper way to get rid of them is to exclude the colony – seal off 100% of possible secondary entry points on the home and remove all of the bats from the building safely. It is often very challenging, and it must be done just the right way. An amateur attempt, by someone with no experience, or worse, a pest control company that uses bat poison, could result in disaster – dead, rotting bats, and bats swarming throughout the walls and the home. How to get rid of bats in a building – read the above articles, which describe how to seal up all auxiliary entry points, install one-way exclusion removal devices on the primary bat entry and exit holes into the house or building, and even clean the mess afterward.
CAN’T I JUST USE A REPELLENT? There is no registered or effective bat repellent available. Some companies will try to sell anything – there’s a lot of so-called bat-repellent or bat-away products on the market, but they are bogus. And those high-pitch noisemakers? The FTC has issued a warning against them – ultrasonic sound emitters do not work. There is no quick and easy fix when it comes to bat control. It’s best to have a professional with years of experience take care of the problem.
Bat Email From Reader: Hi David, I found your site to be very informative and interesting. I do, however, have one question that I didn’t see addressed on your site; can/do bats live in walls? I am a Maine resident and I am without a doubt certain that I have something living in my walls. I’m pretty sure they are there year round, and a very strong odor has developed in the bedroom. I am aware that there are bats in my attic as I have seen them flying in there and each year I receive friendly visits inside my home on two or more occasions usually around July/August. I was led to believe that bats in Maine migrate south in the Fall; however, I have seen bats flying in my attic during the winter months as well. I’m concerned that the guests I have in my walls are not bats, but rather something of a larger size. Regardless of what is actually in the walls, is it possible to remove nests and droppings from walls without totally demolishing the home? I am considering requesting an estimate for removal from the one company that I am able to locate in the Augusta, Maine area from your link; however, how does one know if a company is experienced, effective and trustworthy such as yourself? I appreciate any guidance or suggestions you can offer. Thanks again for the great information and photo’s you have provided on your site. Laurie
My Response: Bats do often live in walls. The fly into a gap, and will roost in very tight areas, including walls. A strong odor is a good indicator that the animals are bats. I do trust the company that I’ve listed in Maine to do the job well, and it never hurts to get an estimate, but in the end, I guess you’ve got to make your own decision on who to hire. Remember, don’t hire anyone who would tell you how to kill a bat – bats are most effectively removed alive.
How to Get Rid of Bats
Bats get a bad rap. In mythology they’re considered monsters. Maybe that’s because over time bats can destroy your home. Bat urine and droppings destroy wood and ruin other types of building materials, so they can create noticeable damage. They will also eat your garden’s fruits, and some bat droppings contain microbes that can create respiratory problems in people. Don’t let your bat problem go that far, and start getting rid of them now.
In many places, bats are a protected species. This means killing them is breaking the law. There are plenty of non-lethal ways to get rid of bats without offing them entirely.
When to Act
Don’t just leap into a bat-removal project. Wait until night time before you take action. This is when bats are out hunting, which means you’re less likely to seal bats inside your home. That’s a problem you don’t want to deal with later. You also need to act before maternity season begins, or after it is over. If you don’t, you could cut baby bats off from their mothers. This means the babies will be left inside your home, where they will certainly die and stink.
Most bats have their maternity season in spring and summer, typically April to August. If you can identify the type of bat that’s pestering you, great. Look up the maternity season for that particular bat. Chances are, you’re not a bat expert. So start in March or wait until September to take care of the problem, and you’ll be in the clear.
Don’t know where bats are getting into your home? Wait until dusk, and then sit outside and very quietly observe. Look to see where bats are flying in and out of your house, and you’ll be able to pinpoint the epicenter of your bat activity.
Mothballs are despised by bats. Place mothballs inside where bats have taken up residence. Not only will the bats leave, but they won’t ever come back. Bats truly hate mothballs and avoid them, even if that means moving away permanently. You can hang them up inside or outside the house wherever bats are a problem. Tie a few into some hardware cloth and hang them up anywhere you’ve noticed bat activity. Don’t use too many at a time because it’s bad for you, and make sure the balls are in a well-ventilated spot. Mothballs aren’t effective forever, so you will need to swap them out every few weeks.
Search the exterior of your home to find where bats are getting in. Be particularly aware of areas where the roof hangs over the house. Bats can get into the smallest nooks and crannies, so seal up every little hole you find with caulk or some other sealant to keep bats out. Even a 1-inch space can be enough for a bat to get inside, so leave no crack uncaulked.
Hang a Bat Box
Make your own bat box, or pick one up from a home store, and hang it somewhere close to where you’ve seen bat activity on your property. Bats will be happy to move into the bat box, even if you have a bat-friendly attic they enjoy, because they just can’t resist these perfect little homes. Once the bats are inside, you can relocate them far away from your home. Just don’t put the bat box in your neighbor’s yard. Choose a wooded area where they will be happy to reside. Place the box in a shady spot, and they can live out their days happily.
Be sure to get rid of any bat excrement that remains. Put on gloves and eye protection, because bat droppings are very dangerous. You may even want to wear a respirator before you attempt this, and many recommend calling a pest-removal service to clean bat poop because it’s so toxic.
Once you’ve driven bats away and removed any leavings, your home will be safe again. And now that you know how to get rid of bats, you can keep them away for good.
How to Keep Bats from Hanging Outs style=’display:none;’> 1 Comment
Want to keep bats from hanging outside your house?
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Getting rid of bats outside your home may increase other pests they are famous for controlling. They are known for eating thousands of pests like the mosquito. However sometimes they choose places to live that are just too close for comfort as they are also famous for carrying diseases of their own. When the bat gets to close or their numbers get to large; it is time to know how to get rid of them outside your house.
Sometimes the bats are not using your home as their resting spot. They may just be too close to your home and if you don’t get rid of them your house will be threatened.
There are some preventive measures to keep bats from finding your area inviting:
- Wood: Bats love to live in dead trees. If you have a tree that has died, cut it down and remove it. If the bat can’t find a place close to you, then they move further away in search of a home.
- Standing water: If you have an area that always has water sitting in it such as bird baths, or rain catchers- get r >How to remove bats from your walls
If the bat has chosen your house for their home and you know they are living inside your walls it will take some time and effort to remove them.
Choose an appropriate time for removal
Getting rid of bats outside your house must be done during the right season. This will ensure their survival and ability to continue getting rid of pests.
- You need to know if the bats are nursing/nesting. If you remove the mother bat before her pups are ready to care for themselves, they will die. It takes approximately five weeks for newborns to take care of themselves. In the United States and Canada the maternity season for bats is between May 1st and August 31st.
- The bats will hibernate during winter months and if you evict them during the cold, they will not be able to find sufficient food to survive. You’ll increase your pest population cons > Locate where they are living
Bat droppings will be your best clue to finding where the bats are living. The bat guano (droppings) sparkles in the sunshine and has a crumbly texture. The guano makes a great fertilizer but it is very unsafe to inhale. Inhaling to high of a level will produce a disease that is similar to flu symptoms. Those with the highest risk of getting sick from inhaling guano are the young, old and anyone with a weakened immune system.
If you cannot find signs of the guano, then you can wait until dusk when they will begin flying out of their homes to search for food. Remember when looking for their possible exits that bats can fit through holes the size of a dime. Common entrees or exits are:
- Where your wall meets the eaves on your house.
- Places the flashing or boards have come loose.
- Poor fitting or broken screens.
- Where your pipes enter your house.
- Where your porch attaches to the house.
- Cracks where s > Don’t allow the bats to return
How to Get R >Forget mothballs, aerosols, and ultrasonic deterrents. They don’t work, particularly if you have an established colony of bats in your house. The easiest way to get rid of bats is through a process called exclusion.
Updated on Jan 18, 2019
Bats love old houses: All those crumbling chimneys, cracks and holes, and vents with missing screens are open doors for little mammals that can squeeze through a 3/8″ x 1″ crack, or into a hole smaller than a quarter. A few bats during migration season may be a temporary situation and nothing to worry about. If there’s bat poop—guano—all over the place, you’ve got a problem.
What should you do when bats take up residence?
Bats are a critical part of the ecosystem, controlling the insect population. It’s impractical, inhumane, and probably illegal to kill them, so you have to go through a live exclusion. If the infestation is large or has been recurrent over years, call in a pro for both exclusion and cleanup. Every state has a wildlife or conservation department that can help you find a licensed wildlife removal specialist. (Not an exterminator!)
Where are the bats getting in? Do a sunny-day inspection to look for missing roof shingles, deteriorating eaves, holes in soffits, etc. Then watch the house (all sides) on a warm, clear summer evening, beginning just before dusk, noting any bat activity. Also, entry points may have “bat tracks,” or greasy brown marks, around them.
The process of exclusion involves using netting or tubes at entry points, which allow the bats to drop down and take flight but which confound re-entry. The excluders are left in place for a week, so that the bats give up. After they’re gone, the plugging and sealing and caulking can take place.
In parts of the country, bats migrate in fall to hibernate for the winter; if yours have left for the season, and you know where they’re coming in, late fall is the time to plug up all holes and cracks around windows, fascia and soffits, cornices, chimney flashing, etc. If the bats were living in the chimney, cover the top with a “box” made of fine-mesh screening.
If the bats have taken up residence, plan to evict them in late summer or early spring, not after birthing season, when pups (who can’t fly) would be orphaned and die. Don’t evict them in winter, when they’re hibernating and can’t fly out.
The mess must be thoroughly removed, deodorized, and disinfected. Bats easily sniff out a prior roost. The guano could contain a fungus that may cause a serious respiratory infection called histoplasmosis in humans. Even if it’s a small cleanup, wear eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, and a mask that filters particulates over two microns. Clean affected surfaces after removal with a bleach solution.
Most people prefer to call in the pros. They’ll mist the guano to prevent dust, then remove it with a professional HEPA vacuum, containing and disposing of the waste. They may have to remove finish materials like drywall to get rid of urine. Then, with doors and windows sealed, they’ll use an odor eliminator and an antibacterial.
You or a crew can then get to work sealing all the holes and cracks. Pros may find entry points more easily and they’ll use an array of materials—sealants, foam, mesh—to prevent re-entry. Finally, consider putting up a bat house at the edge of the property. That way the bats have somewhere to go, and your mosquito population remains under control.
Bat wallpaper by Trustworth Studios.
Bats as a Motif
Bats flapped into our lives, decoratively speaking, during the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century. As fascination with orientalism spread, fans, plum blossoms, and ginkgo leaves were everywhere. The bat was a related motif. In Chinese, pronunciation of the words for “bat” and “happiness” are both “fu.” In Japanese, the bat has the same symbol as “luck.” We think a bat is spooky, but it’s the Asian equivalent of the Bluebird of Happiness.
In the 1880s and ’90s, then during the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movements, bats appeared on pottery, giftware and jewelry, occasionally on furniture, even in a French Art Nouveau wallpaper (above, reproduced today by Trustworth Studios). Nature motifs fell from favor with Art Deco’s geometry, and the bat was banished to the dark eaves of the art world.