Bats can be found on every continent and in virtually every community. These unique creatures play an important role in the ecosystem, and in many areas they are a protected species. But that doesn't mean you want them living with you in your house. Bats can get through very tiny openings and are very good at finding a way to get into a place that offers warmth and protection. Once you realize they have invaded your home, how to get rid of bats will be your imemediate concern.
What Are Bats and What Do They Do for the World?
Bats are mammals. In fact, they are the only mammals capable of real, sustained flight. They are nocturnal creatures that vary in size and color. They are found all over the world in all kinds of climates and terrains. They are voracious insect eaters and perform a valuable service by consuming large quantities of mosquitos and other pesky insects. Because of the valuable role they play in the ecosystem and the protective status they enjoy in many locations, figuring out how to get rid of bats can be a complicated matter.
Why Will You Want to Get Rid of Bats in Your Home?
Despite the fact that bats perform an important role, they are not welcome guests in your home. They can carry some serious diseases such as histoplasmosis and rabies. Their excrement or guano, as well as their urine, can make a big mess in the areas they inhabit. If it's your attic, you will find this especially unpleasant. If a number of bats make their home in your home, their guano and urine can lead to rot and destruction.
How Do Bats Get in Your House?
Bats are resourceful creatures. They like to be out of extremely cold temperatures and also away from the heat of the day. They can slip into the tiniest holes or cracks in a structure and then establish a home for themselves there. Often bats live in colonies. Once one bat finds a comfortable spot, it's quite possible there will be many more bats making their home there. Older homes are especially vulnerable to bats finding a way in, but they can come through such small spaces that virtually any house can fall victim.
Older homes often have attics, a space that is especially attractive to bats. They can come through spaces around windows, cracks in chimneys, and gaps in siding, fascia or soffits. Sometimes a bat will find its way into your house and get discovered before it has established its home there. If you encounter a bat in your living area, it's likely to be as startled as you are. A broom can be a helpful tool for escorting the bat out of the house.
Once one bat finds a comfortable spot, it's quite possible there will be many more bats making their home there.
The important thing is to remain calm, keep your eye on the bat so it doesn't get away, and use gentle tools to direct it out the door. Figuring out how to get rid of bats that accidentally wander into your house is an easier problem to solve than removing bats that have established a home in your attic or basement. Both of these areas are attractive to bats. They like areas that resemble the cave-like spaces where they often live in nature.
How to Get Rid of Bats in Your House
Prevention Is the Best Idea
Avoiding the problem in the first place is the ideal. Once you've had an invasion by bats, you will be motivated to avoid a second experience. Find all the openings that might provide access to space in your home and seal them up. Regular inspections of your home and chimneys will help to prevent an occurrence or recurrence of bat activity.
If you can spot bats in the area surrounding your home before they have actually moved in, you may be able to discourage them from hanging around. Making your yard less inviting to bats is one strategy that can be helpful. Some people place decoy owls in key places where bats will see them and avoid the area. Illuminating an area will help to repel bats from settling there. Some people use wind chimes and other noises to keep bats away.
WHAT ABOUT REPELLENTS AND CHEMICAL TREATMENTS?
Some people swear by old-fashioned home remedies such as moth baths, but bat experts are skeptical of their results. Use of bat poisons is illegal in many areas. Poisons are not a good solution because they may just leave you with a new problem: how to get rid of the dead bats in your attic or crawl space.
Once bats are in your home, repellants will not be effective. However, they may help to discourage bats from lingering on your property. Some people have used moth balls and cat and dog repellants with success. Spraying the area where the bats gather in your yard with water may help to get rid of them at least temporarily.
EXCLUSION - HOW TO GET RID OF BATS EFFECTIVELY
Naturalists and pest control people are in agreement that exclusion is how to get rid of bats in your home. Whether you want to tackle this activity yourself or hire a professional will depend on your handyperson skills and your budget.
Exclusion involves identifying the kind of bat you are dealing with, finding out where they are entering and exiting your home, and then setting up an exit system that will allow them to leave but not let them get back in. An exclusion system is a one-way street out of your home.
How to Get Rid of Bats - Exclusion and Clean Up
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Bat reproduction follows predictable schedules depending on the variety of bat. Before starting an exclusion process you will want to be sure that the parents won't be leaving babies behind. This is not just a humane consideration.
The babies will surely die if left alone and then create a smelly mess in your newly sealed up space. Your local extension staff or other agencies dealing with animals will have information to assist you in understanding the issues you face.
FIND THEIR ENTRANCES AND EXITS
By watching your home at dusk you may be able to see the bats leaving or returning and will be able to identify the vulnerable spots. These entrances will become the paths for the exclusion process. You may be lucky and have only one obvious entrance. If you have an older home, there many be a number of options available to the bats. You will need to address all of them at the same time to get rid of your bat problem.
SET UP YOUR EXCLUSION SYSTEM
There are several options for the type of exclusion system you set up. One-way exit tubes, one-way valves, and anti-bird netting all will work well and are available for purchase online. You will want to be sure you have found all the entrances and then set up exclusion exits at each one. The bats will be able to leave your home safely but will not be able to get back in.
The exclusion exits should remain in place for about three days to be sure that the bats are gone. As the exclusion devices are removed, those entry spots needs to be completely patched immediately to prevent the return of the bats. This can be done with a variety of products including foams, mesh and sealants. The important thing is to seal the spot and then remember to recheck these locations regularly to make sure the patching is secure. Bats like to return to places where they have had shelter before.
CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL HELP
Some pest control companies specialize in removing bats by exclusion. They will have the equipment and the know-how to set up the exit paths and will be able to identify when the bats are gone. This can be an expensive service, but one that many homeowners feel is worth the investment. Professionals will know the ordinances that apply to removing bats and will also have the right tools and skills to get the job done. Many will guarantee their work for a certain time period, which gives the homeowner peace of mind.
THEN THE CLEAN UP BEGINS
The magnitude of the mess left behind once the bats are excluded from your home will depend on the number of bats who were living there and the length of time they were there before they were discovered. Guano and urine have potent odors and large deposits may cause some rot or at least discoloration of the surfaces affected.
This is no ordinary cleaning job. There are professionals who are well-equipped to handle this challenge. The do-it-yourselfers who want to tackle this job should prepare with face masks, long sleeves, gloves and eye protection to avoid the possibilities of disease that may be present in the guano. left behind. Once the guano is removed, the affected area should be disinfected with bleach. Fortunately bats do not chew or build nests like some pests so the damage left behind is primarily the contamination from their excrement and urine.
Building or purchasing a bat box as a home for the bats that are being excluded from your home is a thoughtful approach. The bats may make their home there and your neighbors will probably appreciate the fact that they aren't moving down the block. The box should be placed as far from the temptation of your house as possible and in a shaded area. Some public parks have bat shelters that provide a welcoming environment for bats.
Discovering the presence of bats in your house is a low moment for you as a homeowner. The first thought that comes to mind is how to get rid of bats. Unfortunately there is no quick, easy, cheap answer. The solution needs to take into consideration facts about the life cycle of bats and their reproductive patterns. You need to know the legal considerations in your area and what solutions are acceptable.
You need to find out where the bats are getting into your home. You need to hire a professional or develop your own plan to provide one-way exits from all the entrance points. Once the bats have left your home you need to clean up the mess they have left behind or arrange for professional cleaning. Then you need to be sure that all entrance points are securely sealed.
You need to find out where the bats are getting into your home. You need to hire a professional or develop your own plan to provide one-way exits from all the entrance points.
It may be hard to appreciate what valuable creatures bats really are, especially when you hear them rustling around in your attic or even in your walls. Because bats are nocturnal, they have become associated with Halloween and vampires. But they play a very positive role in eliminating harmful and pesky insects. Once they are out of your house, it may be easier to recognize their good qualities.
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