By Amy DeYoung
Updated Nov 18, 2022
Despite their bad reputation as dark, blood-sucking monsters, bats are actually beneficial wildlife that keep insect populations lower. However, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want bats to take over your attic.
While bats aren’t aggressive animals, their waste, bat guano, poses a significant health risk to humans. A fungal lung infection, histoplasmosis, occurs when humans breathe in fungal spores in bird or bat droppings. This infection can be life-threatening, so it’s recommended that a professional pest control company handles cleaning up the bat droppings.
To help you get rid of a bat infestation in your home, we’ll share the best ways you can get rid of bats naturally.
Many areas list bats as a protected species, making it illegal to harm or kill them. As a result, you’ll most likely want to go with a humane pest control method, such as installing exclusion devices or a deterrent. Once out of your home, the bats will continue eating insects on your property, helping your backyard to thrive.
However, preventing bats from entering your home in the first place is the most effective and easiest way to keep bats away.
Once you’ve studied local laws, work to identify the type of bat in your home. This step may be a bit easier if you’ve found a dead bat. Otherwise, you’ll want to look up the types of bats in your area, such as little brown bats or vampire bats, and what these bats look like.
There are almost 50 species of bats native to the United States. However, only a few types of colonizing bats will be comfortable invading your home or roosting under the eaves of your house.
The most common colonizing bat species are:
After identifying the type of bat in your house, research whether or not it’s maternity season in your area. In most parts of the United States, bats experience maternity season from May through August. If you prevent mother bats from returning to your home, the baby bats will die, which is illegal in many places and a smelly situation for you to deal with.
Where are the bats getting in? The best type of bat control is preventing bats from entering your home altogether, so start by looking for areas in your attic where bats are entering.
If you can’t eyeball where bats are getting in, watch the outside of your home closely and quietly at dawn or dusk to observe where bats are entering. Most large bat colonies will have more than one entry point, so don’t stop looking for gaps or holes after you’ve found one. Bats only need an opening of a half-inch to squeeze through.
Other areas to check include chimneys, vents, louvers on the side of your home that help vent the attic, roof ridge caps, and fascia boards on your house’s eaves. Damaged areas of your home, such as loose sections of siding, broken windowpanes, broken shingles, loose-fitted doors, or warped boards, are also ideal for bats looking to enter your home. Look for bat urine or bat droppings near these areas to confirm that pests are entering in this spot.
Bats often enter the home through vents and chimneys, and some species will even nest in these areas. If you find bats entering through your chimney, purchase a chimney cap once all of the bats have left your home. The chimney cap will keep them from entering your home later. However, this method is only effective if all the bats are gone first.
If you have a lot of bats and are concerned about trapping one inside your house accidentally, purchase a one-way exit valve or one-way tube. These bat control products let bats exit your home but prevent them from re-entering. Leave these up for at least three days to ensure that all the bats have exited your home.
After all of the bats have left your home, install a chimney cap, cover vents, and add screens to your windows. Make repairs to broken windowpanes, warped boards, or loose siding to prevent pests from entering through these spots. You’ll also want to fill holes and cracks in your home’s exterior with caulking or another sealant.
Like all pests, bats are looking for three primary things when searching for a home: food, water, and shelter.
Without realizing it, your garden may be attracting bats. Consider installing a bat net in your garden to protect your crops from bats. Alternatively, you can spray natural oils or use certain odorous salts to repel bats from the garden. Pepper spray is another irritant that will repel a variety of pests, including bats, from your garden.
If you’re struggling with fruit bats, hang reflective aluminum foil strips from fruit trees to scare them away from their food source.
All bat species are scared of bright lights or glowing objects, such as lanterns, flashlights, or candles. You can use this against them by installing bright blue LED lights or outdoor lanterns to discourage them from flying near your property and roof at night.
There are a variety of natural repellents available on the market. Cloves, mint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and peppermint essential oil sprays are all sharp scents that both bats and pests dislike. Add these products to a spray bottle, then spray the natural repellent in cracks and crevices to create a protective shield around your home.
We don’t recommend using mothballs to get rid of bats. Mothballs release smelly chemicals that kill bats, making this an inhumane pest control method. The smell also dissipates quickly, meaning you would need to replace them frequently in your attempt to repel bats.
If you’re struggling with a severe bat infestation, your best bet is to hire a bat removal or wildlife removal professional. Take time to ask them about their experience dealing with bats and ask how they relocate them. If you’re hiring a professional, consider having them clean up bat droppings too. A colony of bats can leave a dangerous amount of bat guano, which is hazardous to inhale and often best left to professionals to clean up with the proper equipment, like a respirator.
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