How To Get Rid of Bats (2021 Edition)

Bats are the only mammals capable of sustained flight, and they’re beneficial for the environment by keeping mosquito populations in check. Regardless, these scary looking creatures become pests in several ways, including:

  • Roosting within houses and barns
  • Making a mess with their feces
  • Transmitting rabies and other diseases
  • Eating valuable fruit from trees

In this informative homeowner's guide to bat control, our experts show you how to chase these pests away quickly. Then, you’ll discover how to prevent them from returning. Lastly, we answer all your questions concerning bats and how to identify them. 

If trying to get rid of bats on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best-trained professionals that can use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods. 

For Terminix quotes, you can reach them at 866-577-5051 or with this form.

For quotes from Orkin, call 866-701-4556, or fill out this form.

For a free quote from Aptive, call 855-521-7075 or visit the company's website.
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Rating: 95.70

Our #1 Ranked For: Mosquito Removal, Fleas, Ticks, Wasps, And Other Stinging Insects

How To Get Rid of Bats 

DIY bat removal for most homeowners is an unpleasant task. But with the information our experts provide here, you can remove these unwanted creatures from your home quickly and safely. 

Step 1. Inspection

Bats sleep during the day and are active at night. So, the best times to look for activity are either at dawn or dusk. 

Notice where the bats are leaving and entering your home. It could be entry points near attic spaces or in openings around eaves and overhangs. 

Step 2. Removal 

Never attempt to remove bats by hand, even while wearing gloves. Instead, utilize one-way bat exclusion doors. These simple devices allow bats to leave their nesting sites while excluding reentry. 

Trapping is not an option in most cases since bat traps rarely work. Also, in some states, they are illegal to use. So for those reasons, it’s best not to try it. 

Step 3. Cleanup

Bat droppings are also called guano, and they can transmit a respiratory disease called histoplasmosis. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to wear gloves along with an OSHA-approved respirator when cleaning bat nesting sites.

Dead bats can also pose a potential health threat, making personal protective equipment (PPE) even more of a necessity. 

Start the cleanup process by replacing any contaminated insulation. Even small amounts of bat droppings can become a hazard over time. 

Next, use a shop-vac to pull out any remaining fecal material left behind. Be sure to get into cracks with the unit's crevice tool attachment. 

As a final step, use a strong disinfectant cleaner to wipe away urine trails. A blacklight can help you locate them. 

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How To Prevent Bats

dog-faced fruit bat

Bat-proofing your home can be even more challenging than removing them. Even so, it’s possible with the correct information. Here, we show you the best methods for keeping bats out of your home permanently. 

Mechanical Exclusion

Bats enter through several entry points around your home, including:

  • Eaves
  • Overhangs
  • Attic spaces
  • Chimneys

For eaves and overhangs, use steel wire mesh to screen openings. Expansion foam and duct tape will work also, but not as well. 

Employ exclusion devices such as chimney caps and attic vents to help keep out bats. Also, as a final touch, apply caulking compound or sealant to small cracks, one inch or less. 

Scaring Methods

Ultrasonic pest repellents seldom work directly on bats. However, there is evidence that they can repel insects, limiting the bat's food supply. 

Bright lights around a known roosting location can also be effective. The trick is to keep the area illuminated 24 hours a day until the bats leave. 

Temperature control may also work to thwart bats. If left on long enough, fans may cool roosting areas sufficiently to deter them. In addition, the wind produced by the fans may annoy the bats enough that they depart the area for good. 

Bat Repellents

Mothballs should not be employed as bat repellents. They have not been proven effective and may even be dangerous to place in confined spaces. Besides, they’re only labeled for use against certain types of moths in the home, not bats. 

Essential oils containing peppermint may repel bats for a short time. Still, they often don't last long enough to prevent infestations. 

Bat Houses

Some use bat houses to deter these unwanted animals from their homes. However, due to the bat's ability to carry rabies, installing them in wilderness areas off your property is best. 

Limiting Food Sources

Bats feed on many insect populations, including:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Flies
  • Moths
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Mayflies

To keep bats away, it’s vital to limit the number of insects available to them. Regular backyard mosquito spraying is an excellent first step. Another method includes spraying residual insect repellents around your home at regular intervals. 

Aside from chemical insecticides, repellents containing essential oils can be effective when applied per label directions. In addition, bug zappers and light traps help round out your overall defense against flying pests. 

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How To Identify and Find Bats 

You can find several species of bats throughout the U.S. In this section, we show you how to identify each one. Equally important, we tell you where to locate their nesting sites. 

Big Brown Bats

When discovering a colony of bats in the U.S., there is a high probability they’re big brown bats. The reason is, they represent the most common species in North America. 

Big brown bats are relatively large compared with other types. They measure four to five inches in length and weigh approximately four to six pounds. 

Their fur is reddish-brown on the back and light brown on its underside. Their black pointed ears sit on top of a prominent skull, and they boast 32 sharp, menacing teeth. 

Big brown bats feast on several kinds of insects, including:

  • Flies
  • Beetles
  • Cockroaches
  • Mayflies
  • True bugs

Their favorite foraging spot is around city street lamps. In addition, they roost in sheltered places during the day, including:

  • Caves
  • Mines
  • Tunnels
  • Buildings
  • Tree cavities

Evidence of their presence is shown by large quantities of bat guano left behind. They also leave a pungent odor similar to that of rodents. 

Mexican Free-tailed Bats

The Mexican free-tailed bat is one of the few bat species with an extended tail. It is found mainly in the Southern U.S., Mexico, and reaching down into the southern region of Chile. 

These nocturnal bats are medium-sized, measuring approximately 3.5 inches in length. Their ears are large and rounded, assisting in finding prey using echolocation, a form of sonar utilized by several animal species. 

You can find Mexican free-tailed bats roosting in large caves. Conversely, they also inhabit buildings and other human-made structures. 

Hoary Bat

Another common species throughout North America is the hoary bat. It’s one of the larger ones, measuring between five and six inches long. Dark brown fur highlighted with silvery-white tips covers most of its body.

The hoary bat is somewhat reclusive, roosting alone in extensive woodland forests. But despite that, you can spot a few within large caves, among other types of bats. 

Hoary bats are migratory, flying from Central America to the Southern U.S. in the spring and finally reaching as far north as Baffin Island, Canada, in the summer. While they’re subject to typical predation from large birds of prey, thousands of hoary bats are killed by wind turbines each year.

Little Brown Bats

The little brown bat prefers cool, wet climates, ranging from Northern California to Northern Canada. It’s a small species, measuring only three to four inches long. You can also identify it by its dark, reddish-brown fur. 

Little brown bats are sensitive to ultraviolet and red light sources, giving them an advantage as nocturnal predators. They have a voracious appetite, feeding on several insects, including:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Beetles
  • True bugs
  • Flies
  • Spiders
  • Ants

A pregnant female little brown bat consumes almost 20 ounces of food each night, the equivalent of 85 percent of its body mass. Litter sizes are typically only one individual. However, one newborn pup can weigh up to 30 percent as much as its mother. 

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Signs & Causes of a Bat Infestation

Some signs of bat infestation are evident, while others are not. Here are some of the symptoms you will notice if you have a bat problem around your home. 

Bats Flying Around at Night

Bats use echolocation for navigation and to locate their prey. That means, even though these sophisticated little critters cannot see as humans do, they can still find their way around in the dark. 

They locate their prey by sensing ultrasonic sound waves produced by small objects. So, when you see bats flying around at night, it’s probably an indication of a foraging flight. 

Roosting

Bats roosting in your attic or under your porch is not a pleasant sight to stumble upon. Even though the colony may be isolated, it’s crucial to inspect the entire house as well. Start with these areas:

  • Barns
  • Sheds
  • Hollow trees
  • Roof sections
  • Overhangs

A few scattered bats throughout your property may mean they are migratory and are simply passing through. For that reason, waiting for them to leave may be the smartest option. Still, it’s advisable to enlist the help of a professional when in doubt. 

Ammonia Smell

The accumulation of bat feces (guano) gives off a strong ammonia smell. But even if you cannot smell it, you could still have an infestation somewhere on your property. 

Accumulation of Bat Guano

One of the most apparent signs of a bat infestation is the large amounts of guano they leave behind. It looks similar to rat droppings. However, when crushed, it turns into a powdery substance. 

A Final Note About Bat Removal

Although bats are good for the ecosystem, they create all sorts of problems for homeowners. For that reason, it’s vital to have a basic understanding of bats as potential pests. That includes knowing what type of bats can invade your home. 

Tackling your bat problem on your own is difficult, but hopefully, we have provided enough information here to do that. Still, it’s a good idea to at least consult with a professional, which can include:

  • Pest control companies
  • Exterminators
  • Wildlife removal companies

When searching for a qualified bat removal expert, it’s preferable to start with online review sites. Next, check with the Better Business Bureau to weed out the bad ones. Finally, make sure the company you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured in your state. 

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