How to Get Rid of Bats (7 Remedies)
When many of us think of bats, we usually do not consider these popular flying mammals as pests. In fact, bats generally do not bother humans at all.
But due to health concerns associated with bat droppings and the possible transmission of rabies, having a bat infestation in your home is alarming.
If you are looking for ways to get rid of bats and prevent them from roosting on your property, you have come to the right place.
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 dangers bats pose to humans and pets
- What attracts bats to your home
- What treatments get rid of bats and prevent their return
- How to safely clean up after bats to avoid the spread of pathogens
Our #1 Ranked For: Termites,Bed Bugs, and Larger Infestations
Our #1 Ranked For: Ants, Roaches, Spiders, and Rodents Issues
Our #1 Ranked For: Mosquito Removal, Fleas, Ticks, Wasps, And Other Stinging Insects
Are Bats Dangerous?
In pest control practices, there are two factors that determine whether a pest is dangerous or just a nuisance: aggression or disease transmission. Bats fall into the second category and you can easily cast aside the blood-sucking stereotypes from popular culture.
These mammals are only aggressive if they are provoked, and this is typically the case with all pests. The vampire bat is one species of bat that does consume blood, but these bats are not commonly found in the United States.
With that in mind, it is the potential for spreading diseases that should make all homeowners fear a bat infestation. It is not common for a person to get bit by a bat, but the transmission of rabies is possible if this occurs. The same applies to pets bitten by bats.
The biggest danger with bats is the transfer of a fungal infection known as histoplasmosis, a lung disease that can be inhaled through the air surrounding bat droppings (guano). Because bats group together in a roost, this causes a massive amount of feces to be deposited on the floor of an attic or garage, causing the fungus to build in the air over time.
This disease can cause pneumonia-like symptoms in sufferers.
So it’s not so much that bats are blood-thirsty predators, the reality of their dangers lies in the diseases they can spread to people.
What Are Bats Attracted To?
As is the case with any pest, learning what attracts bats in the first place is essential for preventing a roost on your property. Food, shelter, and protection are the three attractants to keep in mind with this pest.
Bats primarily eat large volumes of insects. Therefore, if you live in an area with large mosquito populations, bats can serve a beneficial purpose.
In fact, just one bat can eat upwards of 500 mosquitoes in just one hour. If you factor in an entire roost at this volume, that is thousands of mosquitoes in one night! Beetles, moths, flies, and even lizards are also on a bat’s daily menu, so if you have these types of pests around, this can attract bats.
If you have ever seen bats in flight at night, you have probably been spooked by the dipping and swooping the bats perform in the air. This is a navigational tactic known as echolocation that bats use to hunt for insects through sonar due to poor eyesight.
On the flip side, some bats will also eat fruit nectar, pollen, and seeds, which is not good news for gardeners.
Bats are nocturnal and hibernate during the day. They prefer caves, but this is not always an option, so a garage, attic, rafters around the house, or any enclosed space that blocks the sun will do.
You can easily identify a bat roost by checking these areas during the day for bats hanging upside down from the highest point of the shelter. These places aren’t the first choice for bats, but your home has many available hibernating spots if nothing else is available.
Bats are easy prey for larger predators like hawks, therefore, any space that is near humans is a preferred hibernation spot. This also means that bats on your property may also attract raccoons and other mammals that hunt for bats.
What Treatments Will Get Rid Of Bats?
Using chemicals to treat bats is not a recommended practice. You cannot attack bats with poisons and sprays as you would with insects.
With this in mind, you can use an insecticide to treat the insects around your home that bats eat. Once you take away the nearby food supply, bats will likely move on from your property. When you add this to the other treatment options we will discuss below, you have a useful and coordinated strategy for getting rid of bats.
An insecticide like Compare-N-Save Concentrate is great because this broad-range formulation works to kill insects both inside and outside the home. This pesticide is easy to use and you simply need to mix 1.oz of concentrate per gallon of water to cover an area of 1,000 square feet.
Using a garden sprayer like this one is ideal because this gives you the efficiency in targeting the areas around your home where insects congregate.
Additional Bat Repellents
Bats are sensitive to strong odors so this makes for a great way to use a range of repellents that can hang in roosting areas and emit smells that aggravate bats.
Bonide Bat Magic Scent Packs are a great way to utilize essential oils to repel bats with a continuous stream of odors during daily hibernation. Each pack can be placed on the walls of an attic or space where bats are roosting and works by driving bats out of spaces due to the overpowering odors.
Additionally, bats are also sensitive to a chemical known as naphthalene, which works by aggravating the respiratory system in bats and driving them away from the space. This chemical is commonly found in mothballs and can cause severe nausea and dizziness when inhaled by bats.
For optimal effect, it is best to place the mothballs as near to the roosting spots as possible during the evening when bats are hunting for food. You can place a few mothballs in pairs of old socks or stockings and suspend them from the ceiling in an attic. Be sure to wear gloves and a respirator mask to avoid touching the mothballs or breathing in pathogens from the roosting area.
Are There Any Natural Treatments To Get Rid Of Bats?
Unlike some pests, bats are not parasitic or co-dependent on humans for food. This means that chemicals and expensive treatments are not always necessary to get rid of bats. You just have to make your property unattractive to them.
Let’s explore some natural remedies you can use to deter bats from your property.
By far, exclusion is the best remedy you can take to get rid of bats and keep them away from your property. This method involves covering or sealing the entry and exit points that bats are using inside an attic or another part of a home or garage.
The process is not immediate and you will have to observe the roosting area closely for a few nights to take note of all the points the bats are using to leave and reenter. Be sure to do an initial inspection of the area and cover or seal all the cracks and holes that you may notice. Bats can enter a space as small as ½ inch.
Once you have a record of all the exit holes, you can start working to exclude the bats from the space. It is important to only use exclusion if no baby bats are in the roost since this is an inhumane treatment to separate a mother from her young; wait until the babies are flying in and out of the roost.
Exclusion works by using a material like wire mesh to cover the holes without the possibility of the bats tearing through the material. Make sure to leave the bottom part of the mesh loose to allow the bats to drop down out of the mesh and fly away.
Once the bats return, they will not remember how to navigate around the mesh and renter underneath. The bats will then give up and fly away to find another roost.
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 unwanted guests. If enough of them leave, it may entice the rest of them to follow along.
What Doesn’t Work Against Bats?
All the methods we have discussed so far work well against bats, but there are some popular methods that are more of a myth than an effective strategy.
Perhaps the biggest urban legend that exists in DIY pest control is the use of noise to drive pests away. ‘Ultrasonic’ is just a fancy way of saying extreme noise, which will jolt animals like bats when turned on, but bats are not easily scared off when it comes to their personal safety and shelter.
Once bats realize that it is only noise and no real physical threat, the bats will simply ignore the sounds and fall right to sleep. This isn’t to say that ultrasonic repellers may not do the trick and drive the bats out of the area when they first hear the sounds. But chances are, they will come back when they scope out the situation and see no threat.
Furthermore, there is the myth of bright light for use in scaring away bats for good. This is another part of vampire mythology that has no shred of fact in the real world.
Bats are nocturnal, but just like a person who works the graveyard shift and sleeps during the day, bats are the same way. Light will not harm them or even drive them away. It’s not their preference and could possibly work if the bats are inspecting a site for a roost, but it will not keep them away from their roost once established.
High temperatures in excess of 100℉ have been used in the past to try and drive bats out of attics or crawl spaces with mixed results. On one hand, high temperatures at a consistent level will frustrate and make any mammal uncomfortable, just like with humans, but this method is dangerous and not effective for stubborn bats.
Once bats establish a roost, it takes a lot to drive them away. Finding a roost takes time and effort so the bats will not want to let go of a good thing that easily.
Read More: What are the Best Ultrasonic Repellers?
What Prevents Bats From Roosting Around A Home?
Now that we have covered ways to get rid of bats, let’s take a look at some strategies to use to prevent bats in the first place.
Close All Entry Points
It’s always a good idea to inspect the bottom portion of your home for cracks and crevices to keep insects out, but inspecting the upper portions is a good idea to keep bats out. If you live in an area with high bat populations, caulking all holes and entry points in the attic is a good way to prevent bats from entering.
Control the Insect Population
As we have discussed, bats in the United States eat insects as their primary food source, therefore, keeping the insects controlled will make their roosting area unattractive.
Of all insects, mosquitoes are the favorite meal of bats, so 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.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
Use Bat Houses
One method to use is to provide bats in your area with a structure known as a bat house they can use as a roost. It’s not advisable to keep bats on your property due to diseases, but this method can work if you don’t have pets or kids playing outside often.
Read More: Thermacell Mosquito Repellers
What Steps Should Be Taken To Clean Up After Bats?
Once a roost has been eliminated, now comes the task of thoroughly cleaning up the area. Bat urine and guano is filled with germs and dangerous pathogens, so you will definitely want to wear a pair of sturdy gloves and a respirator mask when sanitizing the area.
You can use a shop vac to clean up the guano and in the worst-case scenario, use a paint scraper to remove any stuck droppings from the floor. Seal all droppings and empty the droppings in the shop vac in a contractor bag, tie it down, and dispose of the bag in the outdoor trash.
Use a mixture of bleach and soapy water to rigorously mop the entire area where the urine and guano were dropped at. Throw away all cleaning materials once the area has been sanitized. Any furniture or structures covered in urine or droppings should be discarded.
To summarize, bats are not overly aggressive pests, but the risk of disease transmission is strong and therefore bats should be eliminated from the home. Exclusion with wire mesh is the best method to get rid of bats and to prevent them from entering a home.
Bats are not that difficult to get rid of, and these DIY methods are all you will likely need to eliminate a moderately-sized population. Remember to repel them as much as possible with products like Bonide Bat Magic and properly close the entry points so they cannot reenter.
Other Pest Guides
Curious about other pest-related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.