Protect your home from bats
Bats have inspired various stories and myths throughout the generations, however, even though some species are part of the blood-feeding category of animals, we know that most of them are totally harmless. Regardless, you probably won’t like their presence in your home and will want to get rid of them.
Nowadays, the habits of bats added to deforestation have resulted in these animals living in the same habitat as humans. How to get rid of bats? In this article, we will explain some non-harmful and effective remedies against bats.
Why remove bats?
Bats are flying mammals that usually are not dangerous to humans, however, through their foul-smelling faeces, called guano, they can transmit some diseases and infections from: viruses, rickettsiosis, bacteria, leptospirosis, fungi, protozoa and helminths.
Another reason to keep bats away is the noise they make at night. However, especially in developed countries, the biggest danger bats pose is the fact that they are the leading cause of rabies infection. They can transmit this disease to both people and other pets.
Can I use bat venom?
Taking into consideration the various possibilities to eliminate bats, many people are convinced to use poisons and are willing to prepare them themselves at home. This is something that should be avoided at all costs, both because it can be dangerous for children and other animals living at home, and especially because many bat species are endangered. Poisoning a bat supposes an environmental crime.
Moreover it must be remembered that bats play a very important role in ecosystems, as they feed on insects, controlling their population. In fact, there are even people who think of installing bat dens in the garden to eliminate insects and mosquitoes in particular. It should also be mentioned that bats are pollinating animals. For all these reasons, it is recommended to keep bats away thanks to ultrasound.
Home methods to remove bats must be designed to get rid of them without harming them. For this reason, it is important to know that these animals leave their nests at night to hunt for food. They prefer dark, cramped places to live, including chimneys, attics, rafters and any other quiet, dark place to take refuge.
Before removing bats, you should know that they not only retreat to the nest to sleep but also to care for the young and follow the youngest specimens in their early stages of life. In this regard, it is useful to know what type of species lurks in your home to know what method you should employ to get rid of them.
The reason is simple: if you frighten adult specimens during the time they are looking after the young, they will not survive on their own, they will die of starvation and this will lead to further problems such as rotting corpses and bad smells.
So, how to get rid of bats?
Observing the bats when they leave the nest can help you recognize the species. A more effective method is to contact a bat protection center in your city, as each area or region has different native flying animals. Once you have identified the species, you can choose the best time to begin the removal process, avoiding the weaning period.
Removing bats with mothballs
Mothballs are a popular method of driving away bats that nest in your home. How is it effective? It is an aromatic hydrocarbon whose penetrating odour is very unpleasant to bats. It should be used when the bats have momentarily left the nest in search of food. You will have to spread the product in them in abundance. When the bats return, the odour will deter them from crawling into the nest in the house again.
Naphthalene, however, is toxic to both humans and pets living in the house. It is also highly flammable, so it should be used judiciously, using gloves, masks and disposable clothing.
Keep bats away with lights
Bats as mentioned are nocturnal animals, so they prefer to sleep during the day and eat at night. One way to scare them away is to locate the space where they live and install strong lighting that will annoy them. Many people think that bats are blind, but this is not true.
In the event that a bat has entered a room, the best way to guide it out is to dim the light, close all other windows or doors and leave only one of the exits, turn off all electronics, fans or air conditioning, allowing the bat to remain silent so that it is able to guide itself using echolocation. This procedure will usually be sufficient for the bats to exit on their own, however, give them some time. Ideally, you should install the light when the bats are out of the nest, so at night and keep the lights on so as to deter them from returning. This method is effective but has a weakness: any space that is less well lit and where food remains are found will turn into a new nest.
If the bats cannot get out, you can try to trap them in a container, jar, pot, or bucket. Wait for it to land, exhausted and then carefully place the container over the bat against a wall or floor, and then slide a piece of paper between the wall and the container thus trapping the bat. Then carefully release it out.
Effective methods to keep bats away from home
The most effective method to get rid of bats is to prevent them from entering the house, and it is the only way to do it without causing damage or endangering the family. To achieve this, the best course of action is:
1. Find out the location of the nest(s)
The presence of bats can be easily discovered because of the noise they make. Also, the accumulations of guano indicate where the colony has nested. The guano has a rounded, crumbly shape with a strong musky odour. These are fruit-feeding bats (frugivores), you may have found nibbled fruit in the garden.
2. Figure out what species they are
When you have discovered the space where the bats are, wait until night time to see them come out. Pay attention to their physical characteristics so that you can figure out what species they belong to. For this purpose, you can also find out from specialists what species are native to your area. Once you understand the species, you will be able to deduce what stage of life they are in and then you will be able to choose the most propitious moment to chase them away. If they are young, it is a good idea to wait for them to grow up first.
3. Wait for them to come out
Hunting bats from home once you know what species they are is simple. Pay attention to their habits for a couple of days, that is, make sure of the time they leave the nest. When they do, it will be the ideal time to implement your strategies before they return home.
4. Seal all entrances
Bats can access through holes even the size of a penny, the most common access points being: missing tiles or signs that are sagging, openings from which pipes or wires enter the building or any kind of crack or crevice, around windows, doors or chimneys.
Therefore, it is essential to make sure that all the above points are covered, plugged and in perfect condition. What also helps is to make sure you remove insects and rotting wood around the building, cover any water accumulation on your property and place mothballs in places where bats might be nesting. Doing these things will ensure that bats will not enter your home, as they will not have a food source or a good place to nest.
Keep in mind that bats tend not to use alternative openings, so you must do this with all cracks and crevices; this may be time-consuming, but you will end up getting rid of all the bats. An easier way would be to use one-way devices that you can buy or you can create them yourself, using nets, PVC pipes, or empty putty containers. For example, you can create such a device by covering the opening with a sheet of plastic or a light, flexible net; attach it along the top and sides of the opening; it should extend about 45 to 60 cm below the bottom edge of the opening. Leave the mesh in place for at least 5 – 7 days to ensure that all the bats have exited and, if desired, you can permanently seal the openings afterward.
By using netting, sealants and exclusion mesh to cover entry points, you can easily block the openings and keep the bats out of your home. Since there are not many effective traps on the market, and it is illegal to harm bats in most countries, the best thing to do is to use exclusionary devices that can help you remove the bat colony and then prevention methods to prevent them from returning.
5. Deep cleaning
Once all entrances have been closed, it is time to complete a thorough deep cleaning. Bat guano is toxic, so cleaning should be done with gloves, a mask and eye protection, as well as a change of clothes which you will then wash. It’s best to clean up the feces with a spatula, stuff them into airtight bags and disinfect everything with bleach.
When doing this, it’s a good idea to get advice from professionals at specialized agricultural and animal services centres in your area. In many areas, they will be able to take charge of the removal of the bats and then re-home them inappropriate spaces, always making sure to maintain their health and well-being. Similarly, these organizations or associations may also take charge of pest control and clean-up, and of pointing out trouble spots where bats might re-enter.
Do not try to capture the bats. This is not only difficult but also largely ineffective, as they hide very well, but it can also be dangerous, as they can become aggressive and bite.
If an infestation has already occurred, the best way to get rid of bats is to keep them out of the building. The most efficient time to take action on the infestation is at night when bats usually leave their nests to go in search of food. Seal the openings from which they exit so that they cannot return, so you can clean your residence of these invaders in a humane manner. Keep in mind that there may be individuals that stay inside or even females with pups, so you need to be careful when choosing the season to put your pest control program in place.
Keep in mind that the success of the operation is highly dependent on the season. If you remove the adult bats while the pups are still too young to fly or defend themselves, they will die; this is not only cruel but will create even more problems for you, as bat carcasses are very difficult to find and therefore to remove. That being said, you should avoid attempting to remove bats during the period of May through August; this depends on the climate you live in, so it is recommended to check beforehand. You should also avoid attempting to remove bats during the winter months. Since they hibernate during the cold season, they will not bother you but if you throw them out, they will starve to death.
Locating the colony in advance helps before you start performing any actions to block their entry into your home. Performing blocking actions on several nights in a row is also suggested; it’s possible that not all of the bats came out to forage on the same night. Use nets or cloths, and glue or staple them to the openings, but be sure to remove them on the next night, allowing the rest of the bats to leave. Once you have done this, you can safely find a permanent way to block the entry points.