If you have bats nesting in your home, you need to take action and fast. Known for squeezing through half-inch spaces to set up colonies, a single bat can build up to a large roost if left unchecked. Bringing risk of disease and destruction, this problem needs urgent and careful management.
The good news is that you can take numerous DIY measures to fix residential bat infestations. We share our proven strategies on how to get rid of bats and prevent them from returning.
Most countries stipulate specific laws and regulations in relation to bat conservation. Please be sure to read your local regulatory guidelines before implementing any of the methods covered within this article. It is your responsibility to act within the regulation of your local jurisdiction. If you are in any doubt, please contact your local bat conservation authority for advice.
Bat Removal: How To Get Rid Of Bats
Bats are a protected species in many parts of the world due to their declining population. If they enjoy ‘protected species’ status in your country, you will have no choice but to drive them away.
Here are some DIY tips on how to get rid of bats… without ending up behind bars:
Removing Bats From An Attic
A severe bat infestation in your attic may require professional pest control. First, there are a number of DIY strategies you can deploy.
1. Install Bright Lights In The Roosting Zone
Bats can see in bright light but that doesn’t mean that they enjoy it. They are nocturnal animals who prefer to sleep during the day and hunt at night.
If you have followed our tips on how to find bats in your home flooding the space with bright light is a great tactic. Especially where you have a reasonable amount of room to work and access to an electricity point.
- Follow our earlier guidelines on how to identify the whereabouts of your bat infestation.
- Wait until after dusk when the bats are active and hunting, leaving their roosting space empty.
- Set up a temporary high-intensity lighting rig. An LED spotlight or strip lights are perfect. As bright as possible.
- Make sure the lighting rig is set up in a way that is safe to leave on and presents no fire risk or hazard.
- The bats will be reluctant to return to their nest if the area is flooded with high-intensity lighting.
- You may need to use several lights in various locations within the space. A single light can cast heavy shadows along attic rafters, creating a space for the bats will take a break from the light beam.
Simple, but effective.
2. Heat Up Their Roosting Area
Using high-intensity lighting is a great tactic but it can be difficult to remove every shadow in some spaces. A good back up plan is to raise the temperature of the space to over 100 degrees.
So in addition to light installation, we recommend using heat as an effective tool against your bat intruders. Depending on the light source, you may find the lights themselves discharge a lot of heat. Combined with a well-insulated space and external weather conditions you may reach an intolerable temperature. If not, add an additional heat source.
Bats like warmth but they do not like very hot, very dry spaces.
Buy a heater or two and place them inside the bat roosting area. Heat the space to over 100ºF and wait. Slowly but surely, the heat will dry out the area and destroy the moisture that once attracted the bats. Once the area turns hot and dry, the bats should leave.
3. Use Essential Oils To Drive The Bats Away
Bats, like insects, struggle to tolerate the powerful scent of certain essential oils. The most effective oils include:
While not as effective as our bright lights and dry heat strategy, it is definitely worth trying essential oils as part of your overall bat management tactics.
- 40ml of essential oil
- ½ cup of sugar
- 32 ounces of warm water
Shake until the sugar dissolves. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Liberally spray the roosting area surfaces.
Getting Rid Of Bats In A Chimney
Unused chimneys are the perfect roosting space for bats. It’s common to find infestations during the breeding season, so taking action at this time when young bats are unable to fly can be a good move.
It’s possible to use one-way exclusion netting, allowing the bats to leave the chimney but preventing them from re-entering. Once bitten, twice shy. Once the bats leave be sure to install a chimney cap to prevent a further episode.
The only problem with this approach is if separated from their parents during an attempted eviction, the young can die deep inside your chimney flume. Leaving you with a secondary problem to clean up.
If you find you have bats nesting deep inside your chimney or if you suspect you have dead or rotting bats trapped, we recommend you call a professional pest control service to clean the flue.
Clearing Bats Out Of A Barn Or Shed
A barn is a big space compared to a chimney or an attic. Therefore it is much more difficult to clear. It really is worth considering if you really need to remove the bats from your barn. Is the problem that significant and does it present a risk of significant inconvenience?
Depending on the location, power supply, and size of your barn, you may choose to deploy one of the techniques we have prescribed earlier in the article:
- Flood with high-intensity light
- Essential oil spray
Mothballs are another product that is both cheap and readily available. You can them inside old socks or stockings and hang them around the bat roost. We recommend several mothball socks spread throughout the barn.
How To Find A Bat Hiding In Your House
In their natural habitat, bats live in dark cavernous spaces, under bridges, or in trees where they feel safe from predators.
So if a bat finds its way into your home, you will most likely find it lurking in your attic, eaves, basement, or the crawl space in-between walls.
Check for clues like bat poop and urine on walls. These are clear signs that you have a bat problem to deal with. Track the poop and you will track the bat!
5 Signs Of Bat Infestation
Bat infestations are more common than you might think.
It’s important to separate bat conservation from an infestation within your home. We love bats here at The Yard and Garden but we don’t want to share our bed with them and I’m sure you don’t either.
Like most pests, bats carry disease and are therefore a potential health risk. So, despite all of the great work they do in pollination and insect control, they are best kept outside of your home.
Here are our top 5 tell-tale signs of a potential bat problem:
Bat sightings around your home
Regular bat activity around your home at dust or dawn is a sure sign that bats may be nesting either in or near your home. If you don’t have a bat house or outhouse, then check your attic for bats.
Frequent bat droppings
Where bats live, bats defecate. Look out for round black poop-like pellets in your attic, your crawl space, or any other sheltered, dark location in your house, it’s mostly like a bat infestation. Other signs include milky-white urine stains on windows and other household surfaces.
Bats have a high-frequency squeak that resembles the screech of a mouse. You may even hear strange noises coming from within your home, maybe an attic or in between walls. If you hear these sounds frequently at sunrise and sunset, it can be an indication of a bat infestation.
Dead bats in and around your property
If you find dead bats on your property, it is most likely part of a larger bat colony residing in or around your home. Don’t ignore these tell-tale signs and investigate further.
The scent of ammonia
Bat poop or guano comes with a distinct smell of ammonia. If you can smell this scent in the air, follow your nose and find the roosting spot.
Does One Bat In The House Mean More?
It is a commonly held consensus that one bat in the house does generally mean more.
If you find these nocturnal mammals in your home, they’re most likely roosting and taking care of their young. In some exceptional cases, you might have a solitary male bat roosting in a basement or other dark secluded areas of your home during maternity season when male bats have to descend into a solitary lifestyle.
However, this is just a temporary situation as they will most likely leave to soon come back with a big cauldron of bats.
Bats leave scent trails that can easily be detected by other bats. So it’s not uncommon for your infestation to start with a solitary animal and build up to a full-scale colony if you don’t take corrective action.
Long story short: If you spot a single bat in your home, entertain the possibility of a full-fledged bat infestation. It is likely that, sooner or later, more bats will follow.
Coming back to the question, does one bat in the house mean more bats? In most cases, the answer unfortunately is yes.
Finding Bat Nests
Finding bat nests in your home is relatively easy if you know where to look. Well, strictly speaking, bats don’t actually build nests. They roost by hanging, often in large groups.
We have touched on the preferred environment of bats — dark, moist, quiet, sheltered spots with a textured surface to cling onto. So you can really focus on these areas to search for the giveaway signs.
Since bats can squeeze through an entry point just ½ inch wide, it’s futile to look for gaps or holes as a sign of roosting. You will need to revert to their preferred environment. This means taking a torch and seeking them out.
Bats and Disease
Due to their mobility and social habits, bats present a high risk of disease transmission. In fact, bats are the single highest transmitters of rabies to humans, despite only 6% of bats carrying the disease. Once the symptoms of the disease take hold, it is almost always fatal. Astonishingly, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of all rabies fatalities are transmitted by bats.
Bat teeth are razor-sharp, meaning it is possible that you would not notice any signs of being bitten during your sleep. If you find yourself waking up with bats in your bedroom, it is essential you seek medical advice and receive appropriate inoculation.
If you notice bats exhibiting unusual behavior, such as resting at ground level or laying on your lawn or household floors, then there is a good chance the bat is infected with rabies. In these circumstances, you need to take all preventative measures and establish how to get rid of bats by way of a professional pest control service or by taking the DIY measures and safety precautions we recommended throughout this article.
How To Clean Up Bat Poop
Once the bats vacate the roost, there is no doubt you will have to undertake deep cleaning.
Bat poop or guano, as it’s often called, looks like small, dark pellets. They are round in shape, with an overpowering stench that can leave you holding your breath to avert the smell. Once dry, they crumble to dust exacerbating the problem.
Bat poop carries fungal spores that can lead to significant health problems, including respiratory infections.
So once you have removed your bat infestation rid of the bats, it is good practice to clean up the mess they leave behind.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Use a respirator mask when disturbing and cleaning the bat feces
- Wear thick rubber or latex gloves as a barrier from the fungi spores
- You can vacuum the guano or scoop the dried droppings using a scraper, and dump it straight into a garbage bag
- Once the guano has been removed, scrub the area using a disinfectant or cleaning solution getting rid of any residual waste molecules
How To Keep Bats Out Of Your House
We have identified the bat infestation, located the nesting space, deployed our removal strategy, and completed the cleanup operation. Let’s move onto the preventative measure you can take to keep bats out of your house for good.
There are several bat repellent devices on the market. From ultra-sonic devices to homemade remedies. Let’s run through the options and give you our view on what product may work for you.
1. Ultrasonic Bat Repellent
An ultrasonic bat repellent is a small electrical device that you install in or around your home. The device emits high-frequency sound waves with the purpose of repelling rodents, bats, cats, and other pests.
Bat repellents can be solar-powered, battery-powered, or plugged into the mains electrical supply. Some studies have questioned the effectiveness of these devices, but user reviews show an 80% satisfaction rate. In practice, they work 4 out of 5 times.
We see these no-fuss products as a good option, as they have practical uses for many rodent species including rats, gophers, moles, and many more unwanted visitors.
2. Homemade Bat Repellent
There are plenty of ways to try and create a homemade bat repellent. The main disadvantage of the homemade solutions is sustainability. If you plug in the ultrasonic products it really is a set-it-and-forget solution. Meanwhile, homemade bat repellents need regular refills or top-ups.
Mothballs are a good option in a relatively small or enclosed space. In larger areas, you will need to use a lot of them spread out over in clusters to have any real impact.
Mothballs contain a chemical called naphthalene which releases an odor that acts as a repellent against insects, moths, and other small animals such as bats.
When exposed to a mothball, a bat may develop headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It won’t kill them, but it should discourage them from entering your home.
So if you suspect a bat infestation, keep as many mothballs in your home as possible and hang it in potential roosting spots.
4. Cinnamon Essential Oil
We discussed the power of essential oils and how the scent can drive bats away from enclosed spaces.
Of the many essential oils we have listed, cinnamon oil has the most active agents for repelling bats. While slow to act, it can be used to good effect in enclosed spaces. Scent-based repellents will have limited to no effect outdoors due to scent dilution and wind.
5. Pine Oil or Phenyl For Bats
The scent of pine oil works in the same manner as the other scent-based deterrents we have already discussed. It is a very effective scent deterrent. White Phenyl is pine oil diluted with an emulsifier, sometime used an a disinfectant.
With pine oil, rub on or use a pipette to put a few drops in the areas you are targeting. When using white Phyle, simply dilute and spray onto the areas where you’re bat colony exists or an area you wish to protect.
Bat House Kits
Bat management is an alternative option for preventing bats seeking cover within your home. The idea being that you create a home just for them. There are plenty of easy to install bat house kits on the market that are very low cost in comparison to paying the price of a professional bat removal service.
For all of the bad PR, bats do bring some positive attributes and have a really beneficial impact on the local ecology.
- Bats can eat 1,200 mosquitoes per house
- Bats contribute to the pollination of plants, adding to the much-needed development of wildlife habitat
- Some species of bats feed on scorpions, now that’s got to be a positive
Read here to check out the Best 5 Bat House Kits Buyers Guide for 2020
Earlier in this article, we advised you to close off any obvious bat entry points. Once you identify them, plug them or screen them with purpose-made products. Clean, simple, and fast to install.
Use a general-purpose pest control copper mesh. This is a great product due to the number of applications you can use it for. Squash it, squeeze it, spread it. You fit it into any crevice or spread it to cover larger openings.
It’s copper net design makes it next to impossible for a rodent or a bat to bite their way through.
Another smart design is swallow shields. While these products were originally designed to prevent swallows from making their nests in eaves, overhangs, and other areas. This versatile product can be used to good effect as a deterrent for bats or birds.
Bat traps are not conventional traps. They are funnel-shaped designs that act as one-way passages. The bat flies into the large end and funnels down and out through the narrow end of the funnel and outdoors. The tiny opening of the funnel trap is so small the bat finds it impossible to regain entry into your property.
Do Bats Come Back To The Same Place?
There is a strong likelihood that any bats that you manage to remove from your property will attempt to return to the same roosting spot. You will need to take preventative measures to keep them out for good.
Seal Off Potential Entry Points
Once you have successfully removed the bats from your home, you will need to ensure that they don’t find their way back in. Go into the area of infestation on a bright day. Make sure the space is dark and free from lighting. Then look for shafts of sunlight breaking through any gaps or cracks.
To stop another outbreak, you will have to plug the entry points:
- Repair existing cracks to your wall with mortar, plaster, or shingles
- Install an exclusion device or barrier
- Plug large gaps with expanding foam filler
Doing this will seal vulnerable entry points, significantly reducing the probability of bats gaining access to your home.