There are more than 40 different species of bats living in the U.S. Bats hibernate throughout the winter but thrive and feed throughout the rest of the year building up fat reserves for their hibernation period. While most bats roost in caves, cracks in rocks, or even trees, some species choose to inhabit buildings during their roosting or hibernation periods.
They are able to gain entrance into buildings through holes or openings as small as ¾”. They typically gain entrance into a building by passing underneath loose flashings or siding, in cracks between chimneys and framing, through plumbing or HVAC vents, attic vents, damaged bird blocking screens and roof vents. Harmless to humans unless handled, bats are an annoyance and can produce an objectionable smell so it is best to remove them if they are found in a home and then take steps to exclude them.
To remove a bat
- If the bat is resting on a surface like the ceiling, wall or floor, place a box or other small container over it.
- Slide a smooth flat piece of cardboard, a stiff envelope or other item big enough to cover the container under it gently, enclosing the bat in the container.
- Remove the covered container from the surface and fasten the lid in place so the bat can’t get out.
- Take the container outside and release the bat.
- You can also utilize a butterfly net or other closely woven net to ensnare the bat while it is flying.
- Simply observe the bat’s flight pattern, anticipate where it will be as best you can and capture it from behind with the net. This may sound easier than it is in practice because bats can fly very fast.
- You can also use the net to capture the bat if it is resting on a surface.
- Lay the net down over the bat and slide the net slowly across the surface until the bat clings to the net mesh. Then release the bat outside.
To exclude a bat
- Fasten a plastic tube against the opening the bats are using to gain entrance into the house. The bats will leave through the plastic tube but can’t regain entry through it.
- Place a piece of netting or screen material over the opening. Attach the top and both sides of the screen material to your structure but leave the bottom open so the bats can escape. They will not be able to find the opening again.
- You can also discourage the bats from returning by attaching a piece of aluminum strip near their roosting location.
In many places bats are protected so take steps to exclude them whenever possible.
Always use gloves when dealing with bats because they have been known to carry rabies.
Avoid the use of poisons to kill bats. If they die in the building they can be the source of a strong odor.
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