Bats are one of the most severe, complex problems in the wildlife control world. Bats are no joke between serious health risks, such as histoplasmosis and rabies, and the irritating noises and damage that bat colonies can cause in our homes. In fact, bats are responsible for around seven in ten rabies deaths in people throughout the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. While most bats in the United States are not rabid, it is crucial that we take the threat of bats seriously because contact with wildlife, such as bats or raccoons, can transmit rabies to us.
In addition, bat guano, otherwise known as bat poop, can transmit hazardous diseases like histoplasmosis to humans. Histoplasmosis is a type of infection that occurs after humans breathe in spores typically found in animal droppings. This usually takes place after bats are removed and homeowners are cleaning up the remaining bat droppings. For many, histoplasmosis doesn’t develop and show symptoms. However, it can be severe when infants or those with compromised immune systems develop it. If you develop flu-like symptoms after exposure to bat guano, immediately contact your doctor.
Now that you’re aware of the risks, let’s go over how you can get rid of bats in your attic.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
- How To Get Rid of Bats in Your Attic
- How To Keep Bats Out of Your Attic
- Signs You Have Bats in Your Attic
- How Bats Get Inside
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table Of Contents
How To Get Rid of Bats in Your Attic
You’ve found bats in your attic, so what steps can you take to get rid of bats in the attic? Please note that it is illegal to poison bats in most states because of their essential role in the ecosystem.
- Use a bat excluder. A bat excluder covers entryway holes that bats are using to enter your home. The excluder turns this hole into a one-way door that bats can only use to exit your home and not enter it. This method will only be effective if you’ve already sealed off other entry points since bats can squeeze through tight areas. We recommend installing the excluder at a downward angle so that it’s easier for bats to exit. Once the bats are gone, remove the excluder and seal off the entry point.
- Install a bat alarm. Bat alarms create unpleasant noises that scare off bats. Try using one of these to scare bats away from your home. As an alternative option, you can use a white noise machine, which can scare off many species of bats.
- Use natural smells to scare bats away. Bats are repelled by a variety of scents, such as peppermint and spearmint oils. There are products on the market, such as Bat Magic, that you can purchase for this, or you can DIY this solution by spraying peppermint and spearmint oils around your home and attic yourself.
- Install bat netting. Hang a piece of netting up where bats are entering and exiting your home. Hang it about a foot below their exit point so that bats can escape your home but can’t re-enter. Use tape to secure the top and sides, but leave the bottom free to allow bats to exit your home.
- Treat for existing pests. If you have a spider or mosquito problem, you must treat this problem before treating for bats. Many species of bats eat bugs and will stick around happily if they find an easy food source.
- Replace torn window screens. Bats are crafty and can enter your home in a variety of ways. Examine your window screens, roofing, and the exterior of your home for holes and gaps. Then, replace or repair these holes to prevent bats from entering and creating a bat colony.
- Turn off or dim lights around your home. Bright lights can cause bats to stop their activity at night and disorient them, causing them to hide rather than exit your home. Bright lights also attract bugs, which are a food source for many bats.
- Contact a wildlife removal expert. If you have a large colony of bats, it’s best to save yourself the headache and prevent these unwanted house guests from damaging your home further. Bats can be dangerous to remove yourself, so contacting a pest control company in your area can be worth the investment.
If you have baby bats, we strongly recommend reaching out to a local wildlife control or pest control expert because baby bats are illegal to remove in many areas and may also be difficult to trap due to their small size. If they escape into your walls, they could die, leading to a disgusting stench.
How to Keep Bats Out of Your Attic
Now that the bats are removed from your home, you’ll want to take bat-proofing preventative measures to prevent bats from returning to your home.
- Seal off entry points. Examine your attic and home for entry points that critters may use to enter your home. Use a caulking or sealant product to fill these holes and gaps so that pests cannot enter your home. Bats can fly through holes as small as half an inch, so you’ll have to be meticulous with your examination to ensure you don’t miss any entry points.
- Introduce natural enemies. Bats have many natural enemies, such as owls. Purchase a fake, plastic owl and place it near your roof or attic, anywhere that is high up and easy to see. This will ensure that bats roosting near your home see the owl and steer clear. We recommend switching the owl’s placement several times a year to keep the bats scared.
- Keep your doors and windows closed. This is a crucial tip to follow, especially at night when bats are most active. Also, regularly double-check that your window and door screens are not damaged to prevent bats from entering through holes or gaps in the screens.
- Change your outdoor light bulbs. Pests, including bats, are attracted to bright light. Try changing your outdoor light bulbs to yellow ones. This will also attract fewer bugs, decreasing bats’ natural food source.
- Install wire mesh coverings in strategic areas of your home. Bats are attracted to chimneys, attics, and furnace vents. If you have any of these, install a wire mesh covering over this area to prevent bats from entering and roosting in this area.
Bats are repelled by a variety of scents, such as peppermint and spearmint oils.
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Signs You Have Bats in Your Attic
Bat pups are typically born between late April and early June, so female bats frequently seek shelter in dark, enclosed spaces, such as caves and attics, to give birth to their pups. During this time, you will be unable to use bat removal techniques because pups cannot fly, and exclusion techniques will leave them parent-less and unable to leave your home.
Signs you have bats in your attic:
- Strong, pungent smells of guano or urine
- Chirping and squeaking noises, especially during early dawn and dusk hours
- Seeing increased numbers of bats
- Scratching noises
- Finding a dead bat
- Finding a bat in your home
- Scratches on your walls
Causes of a bat infestation:
- Breeding season (typically between April and June)
- Other pest infestations, such as mosquitoes, which may attract bats
- Abundant food sources, including beetles, bugs, fruit trees, etc.
- Time of year and weather (bats will hibernate when the temperatures drop to around 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit)
How Bats Get Inside
Bats are crafty creatures that can enter through small spaces, often only needing an area the size of a half-inch to enter your home. This makes bat exclusion difficult. However, exclusion devices such as bat repellents and bat cones can help you protect your home from these critters.
Common ways that bats get inside your home:
- Gaps in your roof (possibly through missing shingles or cracks)
- Holes in your window or door screens
- Gaps in house framing
- Furnace vents
- Open windows or doors
- Gaps between walls and bricks
- Following cold air currents into your attic, sheds, or barns
Bats are dangerous wild animals that can transmit various hazardous diseases through their saliva, bites, and bat guano. While you can take a do-it-yourself bat control approach, bat exclusion can be dangerous when performed by the average person. We strongly recommend reaching out to a local wildlife control expert if you’re concerned about your safety. This will ensure that you get the results you want while you and your family stay safe.
A wildlife control expert may also offer bat guano cleanup, which is essential in bat control because bat guano can transmit diseases to you and your family. Bat guano cleanup requires the use of protective equipment, such as a respirator, to keep the individual cleaning the mess up safe, which is why it’s best left to professionals.