Bat exclusion and funneling
Some bat exclusion measures need to be taken around fall (autumn). This is when some species of bat are getting ready for hibernation and the young are able to fly. They’ll be leaving the roost to forage for food in order to stock up fat reserves for the winter.
Exclusion and funneling is a humane way to get the bats out of the home, preventing them from being able to get back in and or returning in the future. It is something that you can do yourself, but it’s recommended that you call in the professionals simply because of the unpredictability of the situation and for the protection of the bats.
In the process of exclusion and funneling a mesh of netting will be hung over the primary openings where the bats have been able to get into the property. This netting will stay in place for fourteen days to make sure that every one of the bats has made its way out of the space. After they’re all gone, a permanent screen will be put in place to block off all of the openings where they were able to enter. Caulk and copper gauze are just a few of the approved materials that can be used on buildings to create permanent barriers.
If your property is infested by a bat species that hibernates you want to get all of this taken care of before winter sets in, or you will be asking for a new bat infestation.
How To Know You Have An Infestation?
Usually if you have one bat, there is probably a colony. There are a few bats that like to live on their own, but for the most part bats live in groups usually made up of between 100 to 1000 individuals. Other indications are:
- Guano. Bat poop. Bats leave their droppings at the entrance to where they are roosting. It is a bit larger than mouse’s droppings. It grows mold and it carries disease. It can cause respiratory issues for humans. It can accumulate massively.
- Urine. Their urine will stain any walls where they roost, or the ceiling if they’re in the attic. There have been instances where the ceiling has actually fallen-in because of the combination of the droppings and the urine. This kind of structural damage is obviously very expensive, dangerous and a major health hazard.
- Sound. Bats squeal or squeak at dusk or dawn. If there are a lot of them, it can become quite noisy, with the sounds coming from the attic or the walls — or even out of the chimney if you have one. As they crawl in and out there will be distinct scratching sounds.
- Greasy marks. Bats tend to leave a kind of oily, greasy stain when they rub up against a wall when they’re entering or exiting a property.
- Sightings. If you notice any of these signs and you want to know where they are staying, sit outside at night, then, when they’re active, you can watch where they’re exiting. That way you know exactly where the openings are. They can fit into a hole as small as 10cm (3/8″).
If you live close to their food source — a high concentration of insects — or if you have a place that is darkened and well shaded, these are things they like. They want a place where they can roost (hang upside down during the day), inside an attic, barn, porch or eaves. Also the opening already has to exist, as they can’t create the opening themselves. Instead they look for shutters, broken screens, vents and shingles.
How To Prevent From Needing A Professional
There are several things you can do to make your home less appealing to bats, so that they will be kept out — saving you from having to use expensive services.
- Be sure to keep your doors and windows closed at night. They can make their way into the smallest opening.
- Be sure that the screens fit tight within the door and the window and that there are no holes in the screens.
- Plug all the holes outside of your house with hardware cloth or an aerosol-type of insulation or even weatherproofing strips. Make sure that you fill any holes completely. Don’t leave anything uncovered.
- Change out regular exterior lights and put in yellow lights instead. Bugs are less attracted to yellow light and if there are no bugs, there are no bats.
- Place stainless steel vent/chimney caps with 6cm (1/4″) mesh to keep bats from going into vents as well as chimneys.
Do Bats Attack People?
Bats do not attack people. People have an innate fear of bats, but some of that is due to not being fully educated about them. The odds that a bat will bite you are exceedingly low and even further; the fact that a bat will infect you with rabies is also extremely low. Bats usually are very quiet, benign and even shy creatures. They go out of their way to stay out of our way. If it weren’t for their guano and their urine, they could be in the attic for years without you knowing they were there.
If they get excitable or feel threatened, like if someone is trying to poison them or kill them, they may try to protect themselves, but it is really rare for a bat to bite. Vampire bats do feed on blood but it is the blood of animals, not humans. They apparently don’t like human blood. They don’t kill their victim either. They only take about a teaspoon full or two per feeding.
Are Bats Blind?
This is also a myth. Bats can see really well. They can see as well as humans can, and most likely better in low light conditions. At night, though, their hearing is much more important to them than their eyes. They have what is called ‘echolocation’ which is a sonar-like system where they can find things by using echoes. Sounds bounce off objects and that is how they “see” and thus find what they want to go after.
Depending on the circumstances bats won’t even use that system and they will use their eyesight when hunting. A lot of the fruit bats, because they drink nectar as opposed to hunting bugs, don’t echolocate at all. These bats have especially keen eyesight. A few of them are even capable of seeing ultraviolet light.
Bats are fascinating creatures and they bring such amazing benefits, not just to the animal world but also to the ecosystem as a whole. They’re also meticulously clean — except for their droppings and urine — because other than that they take exceptional care of themselves and their young.
We don’t, of course, want these amazing, clean, protected creatures as housemates. They’re infringing on our space. They need to stay in their own backyard and you can help them do this by giving them a place of their own by installing a bat friendly structure further away from your and other’s properties. This is a great way to contribute to your local environment and to protect the bats from harm. It’s also pretty cool helping another species out with a place to live!