Bats earn their keep in the world, eating as many as 10 mosquitoes a minute. As creepy as bats are, they really are beneficial. They eat mosquitoes all night, from dusk to dawn.
In certain areas, bats are a ‘protected species’ for this reason. So you don’t want to kill them – just have them move out. Indeed, some local laws even imposed a fine of up to $5,000 for killing a bat.
Bats, like most wild animals, try to avoid human contact. Due to loss of natural habitat, bats may establish roosts in abandoned buildings or attics. The best way to avoid contact is to exclude them from buildings. If a bat accidently enters your home, do not panic. You should:
- Stay calm, do not knock a bat out of the air or attempt to handle or catch it.
- In an enclosed area, a bat will make sharp turns while flying and may appear to swoop down at you. The bat is NOT trying to attack you; it is simply trying to gets its bearings so that it can find its way outside.
- Confine the bat to a room with outdoor access. Close the doors to keep the bat confined to one room.
- Open a window or door to the outside and leave the room.
- Allow the bat time to escape (this may take a few hours if the bat is disoriented). Keep children and pets out of the room until you are sure the bat is gone.
However, if you already have bats starting a colony in your attic, chimney, basement or anywhere in the house, then you really have to take care of the problem quickly.
What You Can Do to Get Rid of the Bats
Try to figure out where they’re roosting. After they leave for the evening, seal up all openings to the outside more than two inches wide. Duct tape offers a temporary fix. For a more permanent solution, pug with silicone caulk or steel wool, or staple fine plastic netting over holes. Unlike squirrels or mice, bats won’t try to chew their way in.
In some area, people have been known to put mothballs in their attics to get the bats out of there. You might consider doing that and keeping the damper shut to keep the smell in the chimney and not in the house.
Chase Away Bats From the Chimney
Take a look at the habits of the bats. At dusk, they will all leave the chimney to go out and feed.
Take a measurement of the top of your chimney and make a wire mesh cover for it. When the bats have all gone out of your chimney at dusk, place the wire mesh cover over your chimney top.
When the bats return at dawn, they won’t be able to get back in. Once they found it was covered, they circled for a while, then eventually disappeared into the woods.
If possible, remove the wire mesh in early evening, the next day. Any remaining bats should fly out at dusk, Replace the wire mesh and leave it in place permanently.
If going up to the rooftop to cover the chimney, sounds too dangerous or simply not a possible act, once all of the bats have gone out, you could start a small fire in the fireplace (assuming it is a fireplace chimney) and keep it burning through dawn. The smoke will repel them from coming back in, without harming them.
Tricks to Chase Bats Away
If your main concern is discouraging them in the first place, try these clever tricks:
1. Hang strips of aluminium foil 2 inches wide and at least 7 inches long in the areas they like to roost, such as attics, cellars and porches. Mylar balloons will deter them too.
2. Put a bright light in the attic or roosting spot and turn it on in the evening.
3. Spray aerosol dog or cat repellent on their nightime hangouts, but do it during the day while they are gone. These sprays can drive them away for months at a time.
Important: Bats can have rabies. If a bat bites a human or pet, do not allow the bat to escape and keep the bat enclosed in a room. Call the local Department of Animal Control to have an officer capture the bat. If the bat has bitten a human or pet it will need to be tested for rabies. Also, if a bat has been near sleeping people, especially children, it should be tested for rabies. Bat bites are small and a person may not realize they have been bitten.