Bats are remarkable but misunderstood animals. While advantageous to the environment and our economy, they are unwanted house guests.
There are 40 species of bats in the United States. Worldwide, they make up 25% of all mammals. Bats are remarkable on several fronts:
- They are the only mammal capable of sustained flight.
- They can eat up to 1,200 mosquitos in an hour.
- Bats provide the agricultural industry with $3.7 billion to $53 billion in insect-eating services per year.
Unfortunately, the good they do by eating annoying and destructive insects as well as their pollination help is not appreciated when we need to get bats out of our attics and chimneys.
Signs of Bats in the Attic or Chimney
Because bats are both nocturnal and relatively quiet animals, they can sometimes live in an attic, chimney, or behind house shutters for years before being noticed.
Bats are unable to create holes in your roof as raccoons or squirrels can. They simply take advantage of where there are gaps through which they can come and go. A crack in mortar only half-inch wide is all bats need for an entry. Like many other nuisance animals, they are looking for a stable and warm shelter to live and raise their young.
If you have bats you will notice:
- Scratching sounds in your attic, chimney, or walls
- Their droppings, called guano, on window sills, your porch, or in the bottom of your chimney.
- Smudge marks on your siding that they make as they enter and exit.
If you suspect you have bats in your home or commercial building, you can confirm your suspicion by watching from the outside around sunset. If you have bats, you’ll see them take flight for the night.
What Attracted Bats to My Home?
A consistent source of food is the most common attractor of bats to your home. If you have a garden whether it be vegetables or flower beds, chances are you also have beetles and other insects bats love. Standing water in your yard would make your landscape a fertile source of mosquitoes, a favorite of bats.
Bats also like good airflow and uncapped chimneys and house shutters provide this feature.
Easy access is a necessity. If you have an old roof or siding that may have gaps, or an uncapped chimney bats will take advantage of these weaknesses.
How Serious Is a Bat Infestation?
Bats pose a health risk to people. They can transmit rabies. Their guano and urine can create foul odors in your home, but more importantly, a fungus that forms in their guano can cause histoplasmosis, a serious lung disease.
Bat Removal — Should You Do It Yourself?
There are several types of bat repellents on the market to supposedly rid your home or commercial building of bats. Trust Critter Control — they are ineffective. And some make your bat problem worse by encouraging these creatures to move from your attic into your walls, which makes them more complicated to rid of and clean up from.
Some believe light is harmful to bats, but bats just naturally prefer dark areas in which to locate their colony. You will even notice that bats will sometimes fly around outdoor light poles. This is because the insects that flock to the light are easy meal targets for them.
Chemical repellents do not work. In the past, chemical poisons were used, but it is now illegal. And, these chemicals pose a risk for humans and pets in the house as well. There are products on the market that use naphthalene which is the main ingredient in mothballs, but these make an unpleasant smell and drive the bats into your walls to roost.
Ultrasound does not work on bats and is a gimmick.
Proper Bat Removal
Even though bats are considered a nuisance animal in your attic, chimney, or walls, they are federally protected animals and sometimes state laws exist too. They are protected because they serve a vital function on our planet and some are endangered. Bats cannot be killed, captured, or harmed.
These laws protect their pups too. Depending on where in the country you live, bat maternity season begins as early as April and can run through August. Pups are completely dependent on their mother. As mammals, they feed on their mother’s milk and not insects. And it is illegal to remove bats from a structure during this time as it would result in the inhumane death of these pups.
Bats should always be removed professionally for the safety of all, including the bats. Once the pups are mature enough to fly and feed for themselves, Critter Control uses a one-way door or bat valve to remove bats from your home. This humane process allows the bats to leave but does not let them get back in.
There is also another great reason to use Critter Control to rid your home of bats or other nuisance animals. Critter Control will institute exclusionary tactics such as sealing all gaps and placing a cap on your chimney so bats cannot roost again in the future. And, Critter Control will restore your attic or chimney to its original state by cleaning and sanitizing the space of all guano and urine, including replacing soiled insulation.