Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How To Get Rid of Bats in Your House

You're sound asleep when your little girl wanders sleepily into your room and says, "Daddy, there's either a really big bug, or a really small bird in my room..." Your husband gets up to investigate. A few seconds later you hear the door to your daughters' room being shut, and then your husband runs by and slams the door to your own room. "EVERYONE STAY IN THEIR ROOMS!" he yells.
For some reason, it occurs to you that there must be a bat in the house. It's never happened before, but you've heard of it happening, and you couldn't imagine what else would freak out your husband like that... After a while you hear your husband let out a frightening little yelp then hear this obnoxious squeaky screech. Long and short, bat captured and removed from household. You manage to write it off as a freak occurrence and go peacefully back to sleep.
Unfortunately, a week later, after the weather continues to warm up, you're reclined in your favorite chair watching a movie, drifting off to sleep, when out of nowhere one of these disgusting creatures swoops straight into your face. You run screaming from the room. Not a freak occurrence; an infestation...
Although in some instances bats can be let into a home and it never happens again, often times if there is one bat, there could be a colony. This becomes apparent as the number of bat incidents in the home increases. Colonies of bats can roost in the walls and attics of homes. They only need a hole the size of a dime to enter a dwelling. Older brick homes especially can present a problem. They hate heat, so as the weather warms up in the spring, so do their roosts, and they will be driven into the dwelling seeking out cool. Sometimes the winter will also drive them in because their roosts get too cold.
To most people, a bat, or bats in their home can be terrifying. Let's face it, they are ugly little rats with wings that make terrible noises. They carry a well known stigma of being carriers of rabies and have a reputation for "swooping" humans. However, most of the "hype" about bats is exaggerated.
The Facts on Bats It is true that some bats may carry rabies, however this is relatively rare. A rabid bat would actually be vicious and "attack" oriented, and you don't usually see this with bats. The belief that they are "swooping" people is a misconception. Since bat's have poor sight, when they get into an enclosed space where they didn't actually mean to go (like your living room) they get scared and they quickly establish a flight pattern. People don't realize this and in their own fright, step into the path of the bat's flight pattern, and so it seems like they're being "swooped." If the bat were rabid, it would probably be making a lot of noise, and may actually come after a person. If a person is bitten or scratched by a bat, they should be treated for rabies, just for the peace of mind, but most likely, you're OK.
There is a more real danger to pregnant women. Bat's carry toxoplasmosis, the same illness found in cat feces which pregnant women are always told they can't come in contact with. If infected, a pregnant woman is more likely to miscarry or have a still birth. So, pregnant women do need to avoid any possibility of being bitten or scratched by bats. Because bats have extremely sharp claws and teeth, sometimes a person can be bitten or scratched and not even know it! So if a pregnant woman finds that she has been around bats, she should be evaluated by a doctor right away.
Bats are actually considered a very good friend to the Eco system in general. Each bat can eat up to 10,000 bugs per night! A lot of which are mosquitoes and pests which would damage crops.
Even though it's hard not to be terribly scared when in close quarters with a bat, the best thing is to stay calm, and slowly move along the walls to exit the room.
How to Get Bats Out of Your House The most immediate method of removing a bat from your home is to open the nearest door or window to the outside. This will cause a draft of air to move through that opening, and the bat will very likely follow that right out of the dwelling. Even if it doesn't exit immediately, leave the exit open because it will eventually alter it's flight pattern to get itself out. However, if there are multiple bats at once, it wouldn't be advisable to stay and try to get them out, YOU should just leave and seek the advice of a professional.
Don't bother calling an exterminator. Due to their positive effects on the Eco system, as already mentioned, it is illegal to exterminate bats. Also, an exterminating gas powerful enough to kill bats would also be harmful to humans. Lastly, if you do have a colony of bats within the walls or attic of your house, this could be up to a thousand animals, and you wouldn't want them all dying in places where you most likely couldn't even get to them! So, exterminating is not an option.
Sometimes local game wardens will help with this issue, but not often. They should however be able to provide you with contact info for a professional in your area that can handle this sort of problem. They will first determine the magnitude of the situation. If a colony is present, they will begin by watching your home, starting at dusk. This usually involves multiple people watching the house from all angles. At dusk, the bats will begin exiting the house to go find their prey, and by watching this, you can determine exactly where they are getting in. Then, they will usually attach some kind of net tube over the opening or openings and leave them there for several days. This gives all the bats ample opportunity to exit, but they can't get back in. Once they've had plenty of opportunity to get out, the openings are then sealed. To find openings inside the home, they will look for bat droppings, or guano. However, there are some homes that have so many possible entries, it is just not possible to seal them all. Plus, this is a very timely and costly process.
The most tried and true method of getting bats out of your home is to build a "bat house" on the property. Basically, this is a smaller version of the inside of a wall or an attic. The bats will move out of your house and into the bat house.