Home Repair

bats in my belfrey!

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We've got BATS! Grr...

While I generally like bats, they eat all sorts of insects, which is a good thing... I do not like them living in my attic. They're very smelly little guys, and I'm concerned that one of the kityy girls will eat one and get sick.

Does anyone know how to get them out of my house? I've got three of them, all located in the attic, crawling around in the insulation. I don't want to kill them if at all possible! I'm not sure exactly where they're coming from- the soffits and fascia are new from last year and completely sealed, from what we can find. I'm thinking they may have come in through:

A) An attic vent- although I think there is animal meshing behind them...
B) The chimney- except that they're not really anywhere near the chimney...
C) The stove pipe from the space heater in the kitchen- a distinct posibilty, as they're in the kitchen attic...

Anybody have any ideas?

Here is a good article about WHEN to make sure that your house is sealed up tight...

Late fall or early spring -- after bats enter caves to hibernate -- is a good time to bat-proof your attic, according to wildlife biologists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"By sealing holes in your attic from October to April, you can prevent bats from re-entering your house in the spring," says Gary San Julian, professor of wildlife resources. "Within that time frame, you don't have to worry about sealing bats inside."

The bats that live in houses -- the little brown bat and big brown bat -- once roosted in hollow trees. But after early settlers wiped out large tracts of forests, these "house bats" moved their roosts into hot attics, which act as incubators for their growing pups.

Although people often aren't thrilled about sharing their living quarters with bats, bats make good neighbors. One little brown bat can eat 600 mosquitoes per hour, and big brown bats eat many agricultural pests.

"If you see bats flying around your neighborhood at night, they're doing you a great service," says Margaret Brittingham, associate professor of wildlife conservation. "They're eliminating a lot more insects than that bug zapper you have out back. They also help us to reduce our use of insecticides."

If you're not sure if bats are sharing your domain, San Julian suggests looking for bat droppings in your attic. Bats make dry, black droppings the size of rice grains, filled with shiny insect wings. If you find large accumulations of bat droppings, you probably house a summer maternity colony -- a roost where female bats gather to raise their pups.

Because house bats have only one or two pups each year, protection of maternity colonies is important for their survival, says Brittingham. Destroying just one maternity colony can have a long-term impact on the populations of both bats and insects in a local area.

So what should you do if you find yourself with these guests? First look for areas in your attic where bats can get through, says Brittingham. Bats enter through spaces where joined materials have pulled away. They often get through louvered vents with loose screening, roof peaks, dormer windows or areas where flashing has pulled away from the roof or siding. "Bats can crawl through holes the size of a quarter," she says.

To cover louvered vents or large gaps and cracks, use window screening or hardware cloth. Fill smaller cracks with expanding foam insulation or caulking compound.

"When bat-proofing, timing is crucial," adds Brittingham. "Never seal holes May through September, because you can trap the females and their pups inside."

After sealing your attic, Brittingham suggests providing a bat box near your house as an alternative roost. "Bats are very site-faithful," she says. "They tend to come back to the same place year after year. With a bat box, the bats still have a safe place to raise their pups, and you get the bats out of your house -- while still benefiting from their insect control."

The small bat boxes available at garden centers serve mostly as bat motels. "During the summer, while females are gathered together in maternity colonies, males basically are single, flying around," Brittingham explains. "When you put up a small bat box, often you'll get a male bat using it for a night or two, then moving on."

To provide housing for maternity colonies, homeowners should build their own bat boxes. These boxes are larger, holding from 100 to 300 bats. The interior should be divided into multiple roosting crevices, and the design should allow for proper incubation temperatures. "Siting also is important," says Brittingham. "The most successful bat boxes get at least seven hours of sunlight each day."
AH HA! Yes, that makes sense.... I probably do have a maternal colony, since it is late summer, and there are several bats up there. Hopefully, if I wait until October, they'll fly away on their own, then I can seal up the hole they're getting into (where ever that may be) and they won't be able to get back into the house next spring. I'll bye some sort of bat box for them too... I like the little guys, they're just way too smelly to allow to remain in the house! They'll be safer from the kitties outside too. Thanks for the article Guru- I'm gonna print that one out!

Karen Smile
My pleasure!!!
There are different ideas on ridding an area of a bat.
I tried a lot of ideas , but the one that always works is a spot light.
They do not like light and if you set it up so that it doesn't contact material that will start a fire, your bat will leave.
Bat houses need to face South where the sun can shine on them as bats like to be warm. A distance of 8 to 12 feet from the ground.
The house should be made of rough lumber and the spaces be no more
than 3/4 of an inch apart


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