Although they might look scary, most bats are harmless. However, that doesn’t mean that you should put up with a bat colony in your home. Bat droppings, and urine can damage wood and other building materials, gradually destroying your home. If you choose to do nothing, there’s also the danger that you’ll be infected with rabies or catch histoplasmosis, a lung disease caused by bat droppings (known as guano). The good news is that getting rid of bats isn’t impossible. Here’s what you need to do to eliminate bats from your home for good.
In This Article
1. Identify the Bats
Before you do anything else, you must identify the type of bat that you’re dealing with. Since there are many different bat species, your best bet is to research the types of bats that are common in your area. If you can catch a glimpse of the bat that currently lives in your home, narrowing down the list of possible “suspects” should be easier.
Next, determine whether or not that particular species is currently in maternity season. If you remove the mother bat while the pups are inside, they won’t survive. The pups, who can’t yet fly, will die, and you’ll be left with a horrible smell, not to mention tiny bat carcasses to get rid of. If it’s maternity season, prepare to wait it out.
2. Inspect Your House to Find the Entry Points
Bats can squeeze through cracks that are three eighths of an inch wide. As such, if you want to find out how bats are getting inside your home, you’ll need to inspect your house thoroughly. Since bats are flying mammals, start by examining the roof. Using a ladder and a flashlight, check the space in between tiles or fascia boards and be sure to look for gaps in brickwork, eaves, and chimney stacks.
Other points of entry might include shutters and broken screens, vents, soffits, cracks in concrete foundations, and gaps in the trim around windows and doors. Keep an eye out for droppings, urine streaks, and, since bats have oily fur, greasy, brown stains.
If your inspection yields no results, don’t panic! Bats often come out at dusk, so you can determine bat passageways by keeping a night’s watch outside your home. However, this method is unlikely to work in winter when bats are in hibernation.
3. Repel the Bats
Never try to catch bats or hurt them physically. In most states and countries, bats are a protected species, which means that it’s illegal to harm or kill them. Besides that, if a bat feels threatened, it might bite you. Instead, make a bat’s living space inhospitable by using natural and chemical bat repellents.
One of the most popular ways to get rid of bats naturally is to leave the lights on. Bats hate bright lights and are therefore likely to leave your home in favor of a less offensive hideout. Loud noises are irritating to bats as well, although a bat may outsmart you by crawling into a tight space, away from the sound. Mothballs are also effective, but might be harmful to humans, and are therefore not recommended.
Store-bought repellents, like The Birds Gel and Pest Rid, are useful too and tend to come in spray or gel form. You should apply the spray or gel of your choice to bat entry and exit points at night after the bats leave to look for food. You could also use an ultrasonic repeller. Ultrasonic devices emit sounds that disturb the bats’ habits, sleep, and communication but are undetectable by people.
4. Or Better Yet, Exclude Them
Repelling bats is a short-term solution. Bats will inevitably return to the roosting spot that they know, and they’ll pass the information onto their pups, too. Therefore, the best thing that you can do is seal the opening with a one-way tube or netting, which you can purchase at your local pet store or home improvement shop.
When you install one-way exits, the bats will be able to leave the house, but they won’t be able to get back in. Leave the tubes or netting in place for about a week to deter any returning bats.
5. Clean the Previously Infested Area
Since bat droppings can be toxic, you must clean the previously infested area well. Wear protective gear, including long-sleeve clothing, thick rubber gloves, eye protection, and a respirator, when disinfecting and deodorizing your home.
Start by removing the droppings either by scraping them off if they’re stuck to the ground or vacuuming them up if they’re dry. Then, scrub the affected surfaces with a bleach-based cleaning solution.
Discard carpets, curtains, and any furniture that can’t be cleaned. If you’re not comfortable cleaning the previously infested area and worry about contracting a disease (a valid fear), contact a professional cleaning crew.
6. Seal Off the Entry Points
When you’re sure that all of the bats are gone, patch up all the holes that the bats used to come in through. Also, make sure that you shut all doors and windows when you’re not using them, especially if you don’t have protective screens over them.
Since you can’t prevent the everyday wear and tear on your home, it’s a good idea to monitor the exterior of your house for damage that could be used as an entryway by bats.
7. Create Other Nesting Opportunities
This one might sound counterintuitive, but setting up a bat home in your garden can actually help you keep bats out of your home. You can buy a bat house online or at your local hardware shop. Or, you can easily build your own!
Make sure to place the bat box in a shady area and monitor it from time to time. For example, you might need to remove wasp nests or reseal the bat house in winter.
8. Call a Professional
Locating a bat colony isn’t always easy, especially if you have no previous experience doing so. That is why many people turn to a professional when it comes to removing bats from their homes. An expert bat remover will have the best tools to protect them against coming into contact with bats and their droppings.
Call your wildlife or conservation department if you’re struggling to find a licensed wildlife removal specialist on your own. If you live in an area where environmental conservation is of the utmost importance, you might find a wildlife team that will remove the bats from your home for free.
Getting rid of bats might seem like a daunting task, but if you follow the above steps, your home will be bat-free sooner than you think. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the thought of eliminating bats from your home on your own, be sure to contact a professional.