Getting Bats out of the Attic
Getting Bats out of the Attic is not quite as simple a task as it first seems. Here in the United States, both federal law and state regulations complicate Getting Bats out of the Attic – for all the right reasons. Safely assume that the law protects all bats and their habitats. Consider it illegal to kill bats or to harm them in any way.
So, is the homeowner stuck with no way of Getting Bats out of the Attic? No, not at all. Working within the law, and using ethical and humane methods, Getting Bats out of the Attic is simple. At the right times of the year, with patience, knowledge and the correct equipment, Getting Bats out of the Attic is possible.
So why is Getting Bats out of the Attic important at all? Why not just leave them? After all, bats are declining in numbers all over the United States due to habitat loss – and also because of a devastating disease. White-nose syndrome is one of the worst wildlife diseases in modern times, killing millions of infected bats. But while this disease does not affect humans, bats can carry and can transmit to us two other dangerous diseases, rabies and histoplasmosis:
- Rabies is a viral disease of the nervous system in mammals. An infected bat that bites or scratches may pass rabies to a human. A bat with rabies may appear quite normal, but a bat on the floor or on the ground is certainly sick, injured, or young. Always wear thick leather gloves if handling any bat at any time since it may bite out of fear or in self-defense. Only one half of one per cent of bats may actually have rabies, but Getting Bats out of the Attic need not involve handling them.
- Histoplasmosis is a lung disease, caught from breathing in airborne fungal spores. While these spores are found naturally within the environment, especially in soil, bat guano itself can contain large amounts of them. The more bats in an attic, the greater the amount of guano which increases the risk of histoplasmosis. It is essential to wear a protective respirator in a confined space when Getting Bats out of the Attic. Precautions during clean up to remove and contain soiled attic insulation safely and to sanitize the area are equally important.
The humane way of Getting Bats out of the Attic is by bat exclusion, along with bat proofing. Bat exclusion involves closing off and sealing bat entry points, all except for a few of the most used ones. Installing a one-way bat exclusion device such as The Bat Valve on each of these unsealed openings means that the bats can safely exit the attic, but cannot return.
Depending on the size of the bat colony, this may take a few days but eventually the attic will be empty, and the bats will look elsewhere for a roost. Bat proofing the attic involves removing the ‘valves’ and sealing those holes, while performing a last check and repairs to ensure that bats cannot return. Fail to seal the attic properly, and be sure that the bats will find a way in again! But first:
- Make sure bats are the problem because many other nuisance animals find their way into attics. Bats are nocturnal, and depending on the time of year, their presence is not always obvious. Some bat species do migrate in winter, but the Little Brown and Big Brown bats hibernate instead – and attics make an ideal space for them. During the cold winter months, when bats are not very active, homeowners may not even notice them. But those same attic areas will attract maternal colonies in the summer months, which is when homeowners may hear bats or even see them leaving the structure around sunset.
- Know the law. Federal laws do indeed protect all bat species in the United States, but state regulations vary, depending on the bat type and population. Bats breed during the summer months and Getting Bats out of the Attic must wait until all the young (pups) mature and leave. Assume that bats in attic spaces during the months of May to mid-August will have pups and do not disturb them. Until the young can fly and can leave the maternal colony, do nothing. Have patience.
If bats in the attic are a danger to human health or safety at any time of the year, the homeowner should contact the relevant state wildlife agency or Division of Wildlife for advice and information.
- Make a visual inspection of the outside. Bats take advantage of the tiniest gaps, cracks, slits, or even knot holes to make their way into attic spaces. They do not chew, rip or damage the structure themselves, unlike other nuisance animals. These tiny gaps, as small as 3/8”, are often high up and difficult to see. Homeowners may only notice a dark rub mark or smudge stain on paintwork or siding as evidence of an entry/exit point. Bat guano may also lie on the ground beneath the same area.
Weather permitting, hold a few bat ‘watches’ half an hour before sunset to see where the bats exit from and to get an idea of how many there are.
- Perform a bat exclusion. A one-way bat exclusion device is essential. There are many products on the market to help but THE BAT VALVE is one of the best. Never seal a home without performing an exclusion. Getting Bats out of the Attic is important, but so are the bats!
- Bat proof the attic. Complete the bat exclusion and then ensure that bats cannot enter the attic space again. Seal all gaps and cracks. Make repairs to damaged wood or brick mortar. Place screens over vents. Caulk around vents, pipes or windows. Bats will return and will try to enter once again.
- Clean up the attic space. Remember to use respirators and to seal all contaminated attic insulation in bags prior to removal. Sanitize the area. More information on attic restorations after bat colonies are evicted can be found at this wildlife control site https://barneswildlifecontrol.com/attic-restoration-insulation-decontamination/
For professional bat control, be sure you are using The Bat Valve one-way removal device.