How to Get Rid of Bats (7 Remedies)
Bloodsuckers! Vampires! Dracula!
Those are some of the first thoughts people naturally tend to have when the subject of bats comes up. It’s understandable but entirely unnecessary. As it turns out, bats are some of the most harmless, inoffensive creatures on earth. Your cat or dog is more likely to bite you than a bat.
Bats aren’t related to rodents either, as many people suppose. The old trope of ‘flying rats’ is unwarranted. Nor are they blind during the day. They’re nocturnal, of course, but their eyes are perfectly normal and they can see just fine in daylight.
You still don’t want a bat colony in your house though, so let’s take a look at how to get rid of them.
In this guide you'll learn:
- What attracts bats in the first place?
- Dangers posed by bats
- Remedies to get rid of bats from your property
- How to clean up after getting rid of bats
What Attracts Bats in the First Place?
The first step in getting rid of bats is to know what they’re attracted to and what kind of environment they prefer. Once you know that, you’ll know where to look for them and how to get rid of them if you have a bat problem.
Bats in the wild are cave dwellers, hiding from the sun during the day. The rough surfaces of rocks give their clawed feet good purchase to cling to when they sleep upside-down during the day. A colony of bats in a cave are mostly females, taking care of their baby bats, called pups.
If caves aren’t available, bats also live in hollow logs, storm drains, and under bridges. Any hollow void that has an opening into it that is more than 1/2" wide is perfect for them. If logs and bridges aren’t available, then they’ll look at the eaves of your house or the attic.
When the sun sets, bats quit roosting and fly out of their living space to go hunting. Incidentally, bats are the only mammals that can fly. So-called flying squirrels can’t fly. They jump then glide on the outstretched membrane between their legs but they don’t actually fly.
Most species of bats feed on mosquitoes, beetles, and moths, as well as different types of plants and fruits such as bananas, dates, figs, and mangoes. If you’ve got a mosquito problem around your house, it’s like ringing the dinner bell for bats. Fruits are also a big draw for bats.
Bats use echolocation, a form of sonar, to hunt for insects at night. This is why they dip and swoop so erratically. They’re chasing mosquitoes. A common bat species such as the little brown bat can eat over 600 mosquitoes an hour, nearly half its body weight!
If a single bat can eat that many mosquitoes an hour, imagine how many a colony of them can eat. As you can see, bats are very beneficial since they act as a natural method of pest control to keep the mosquito population from growing.
Protection From Predators
Bats also look for places to hide from predators that eat them, such as cats, hawks, mice, owls, raccoons, rats, snakes, and weasels. Anywhere those predators can’t get into is a good roosting spot for most bat species.
Dangers Posed By Bats
Unfortunately, bats do pose several health risks to humans, but not from biting. Their poop, known as bat guano or just guano contains fungal spores. When you inhale them, they can cause Histoplasmosis, a lung infection. It often progresses to the eyes where it can cause a loss of vision.
Most people who get the spores don’t get sick and most of those who do will recover on their own, so the problem isn’t as severe as it might sound. However, in people with a weakened immune system, infants, or the elderly, the infection can become quite severe, so bat droppings should always be avoided.
Rabies is another, more dangerous disease people can get from exposure to bats. They don’t need to bite you to transmit it though. If you come into contact with them and have any breaks in your skin, the virus can move from their hair into your bloodstream.
If a bat does bite you, then chances are you won’t feel it and the bite marks will be so small they’ll be overlooked. In either case, just being in the same room as a bat qualifies as “exposure” and you’ll need prophylaxis treatment to prevent rabies.
The treatment consists of a series of shots (not in the stomach anymore) over a period of several weeks.
So, bats aren’t dangerous to people in and of themselves, but they carry diseases that are dangerous. For this reason, if you discover a bat infestation in your house, you need to remove them as quickly as possible. You can do it yourself or hire an exterminator, but it needs to be done.
3 Natural Remedies to Quickly Get Rid of Bats From Inside Your House
Let’s look at three different methods that work without chemicals to drive bats out of their roosting spots in your house. Bat removal isn’t a matter of attacking the bats directly. Instead, the aim is to make your house inhospitable to them.
As we noted earlier, bats can see just fine in the day but when they’re sleeping, nesting, roosting, and taking care of their pups, they want somewhere dark and cozy. If you’ve got bats in the attic or cellar, wait until they’ve left for the night then move in.
The first thing you should install is a series of bright floodlights. Turn their dark roosting space into a blindingly bright area that they can’t stand. Since they like to hang from an overhead projection, beam, or other surfaces, aim the lights up toward the roof.
You’ll need multiple lights that overlap with each other. You don’t want to leave any unlit or dim areas in the attic or under the house. You’ll have to run some extension cords and your electric bill will go up for a while, but eventually, the bats will look elsewhere for someplace more to their liking.
Another way to chase bats out of your house is to overheat them. Bats prefer warm, damp environments but they can’t stand hot, dry ones. You won’t find any bats in the Sahara desert, for instance.
Get a series of small heaters and set them in the attic, basement, or crawl space the bats use for roosting and turn them on. You don’t have to turn those spaces into ovens. It would be dangerous to make it too hot, but anything over 100ºF will work just fine.
It won’t drive them out immediately. It will take a while for the heat to dry out the area and eliminate any moisture that has attracted them. Once all the moisture is gone, the dry, 100-degree heat will soon become too much for them and they’ll leave.
Check on them about once a day until they’re driven away. After they’re gone you can begin the process of preventing any future bat infestation.
There is no such thing as an actual bat repellent but many essential oils have odors that a lot of mammals, including bats, find offensive. Many types of bats will leave the area when they smell the odors emitted by essential oils.
Once the bats have left for the night to go insect hunting, get into their roosting area and spray it down with the essential oil mixture. Make sure you cover every surface until it is damp but not dripping wet. It may take several spray bottles of the mixture to complete the task.
This method isn’t guaranteed to be as effective as the first two, but it should drive out a number of your unwanted guests. If enough of them leave, it may entice the rest of them to follow along.
Check out the video below for more information on how to naturally rid your property of bats.
2 Additional Remedies to Get Rid of Bats From Inside Your House Fast
Mothballs contain a chemical known as naphthalene. The odor released by it is a toxic gas that kills many insects and may repel some animals such as bats. After being exposed to the gas they may develop headaches, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting the same as people do.
Although the odor won’t kill them, continued exposure will cause them to become sick every time they encounter it. Eventually, this will create an aversion to the odor, much like what happens to roaches that become bait-averse and begin avoiding the bait.
Once they become averse to the odor they’ll start avoiding it and begin looking for somewhere else to live. It doesn’t kill them, but it discourages them quite effectively.
Far and away the most effective means of bat control is to use exclusion devices at the entry points to your attic, walls, basement, or crawl space. Occasionally, there may be separate exit points as well. Once you seal off all those points, the bats will have to move.
The best bat exclusion method is putting fine mesh wire over all the entry and exit points. Bat can gain access to your house through cracks as small as 1/2 inches so you’ll need to watch at sunset to see where they fly out for the night.
Once they leave, wait a few minutes to make sure there aren’t any stragglers then begin putting the wire mesh across the opening. Caulk is another sealant that will work in tiny cracks to keep bats out of your house.
If the bats seem to be coming out of your roof, check the shingles. Tiny gaps between them can provide entry and exit points for bats – and for moisture as well. Waterproof caulk is definitely your best choice if that is how they’re getting in and out.
Dispelling an Urban Legend: Sonic Repellers
Before we go any further, we should take a moment to dispel a persistent urban legend, the myth of using sonic repellers to repel insects, birds, and animals.
Sonic repellers sound impressive until you realize that sonic is just a fancy word for noise. So a sonic repeller is a machine that makes awful noises in an effort to frighten creatures away.
Insects, birds, and animals might be confused or cautious the first few times they hear a sonic repeller, but once they realize it can’t hurt them, they proceed to ignore it as if it wasn’t there.
Professional pest control technicians have a saying, “If sonic repellers really worked, we’d be out of a job.” They don’t . . . so they aren’t.
Stay away from sonic repellers. They’re a waste of time and money. We hope this clears up that particular urban myth.
Read More: What are the Best Ultrasonic Repellers?
Getting Rid of Bats From Your Property Completely
How can you completely get rid of bats from your property? You can’t. There can always be a young pup that has just left its mother and doesn’t know the area so it winds up blundering onto your property by accident.
There could also be migrating bats crossing your property for a few nights and deciding it looks like a good place to stay. However, there is one thing you can do to make it decidedly less appealing to them.
Mosquitoes – along with moths and other insects – are the main component in the diet of most types of bats. If you get rid of the mosquitoes you’ve just eliminated most of what they eat. Bats don’t want to starve so they’ll move on to other areas to hunt for food.
We have some articles on eliminating mosquitoes around your house. Check them out for some helpful tips and advice.
Read More: Thermacell Mosquito Repellers
How to Get Distract Bats From Your House
You’ve heard of birdhouses, right? Well, how about a bat house? Just because you’ve gotten the bats out of your attic, walls, basement, or crawl space doesn’t mean they’re gone from the area. They might keep trying to get back in.
So, offer them an alternative.
Amazon has a number of pre-made bat houses like this one that you can hang on a tree. It has a small, narrow opening at the bottom for the bats to get in. It’s covered to give them shelter during the day, and if you hang it up high enough, they’ll feel safe from predators.
If you give them a bat house to live in, they’ll stop trying to live in your house. Everybody wins.
Cleaning Up After Getting Rid of Bats
After you’ve eliminated the bats from your attic, walls, basement, or crawl space, you need to clean up the bat urine and guano to eliminate the smell and disease-carrying fungi associated with them.
You’ll need a respirator and some latex gloves to protect yourself from the fungi. You should also use them during the elimination process when you’re placing floodlights and lamps in their roosting area, spraying it with essential oils, or distributing mothballs.
You’ll also need to wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and work boots. Use a vacuum to clean up the dried bat droppings. If any of them are stuck (a possibility) you’ll have to use a paint scraper to get them off.
Once all the guano is gone, use bleach and hot soapy water to scrub down the entire area. Any carpeting, rugs, or furniture that can’t be cleaned should be thrown away.
Best Product Suggestions for Getting Rid of Bats
Exclusion and naphthalene are the two best methods of getting rid of bats. They’re also the methods that require the least amount of entry time by you into their roosting area while they’re still there.
Both techniques should be used together as complementary methods in a one-two punch. The mothballs drive them out without killing them and the wire mesh and/or caulk seal the entrances so they can’t get back in.
How to Prevent Bats in the First Place
Eliminate mosquitoes. It seems a bit simplistic, but getting rid of mosquitoes is the easiest and most direct technique for preventing bats from being drawn to your property.
The next step is to thoroughly inspect your house from top to bottom for any cracks or crevices they could use to gain entrance to your home. They can’t chew through things the way rats and mice do, so if all the entrances are blocked, they won’t have any choice but to go somewhere else.
Bats Be Gone
Bats aren’t bad. They’re a scary-looking nuisance but in and of themselves, they’re basically harmless. If it weren’t for the smell of their guano and the diseases they carry (though no fault of their own), they might even make good pets.
Because of the disease risk associated with them, you don’t want them in your house. Getting rid of them is fairly easy if a bit time-consuming so it’s a perfect DIY project you can tackle on your own.
Other Pest Guides
Curious about other pest-related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.