A common question we get asked a lot is, “When is a good time for bat exclusion?”. This is often followed by, “Will I ever get these bats out of my house?”. The answer to the second question is, ‘Yes’! You can get bats out of your home. There is also an excellent time to get your home bat free! Read on for some information that should help you.
Best Times for Bat Exclusion
The best times to plan a bat exclusion are in late summer or early spring. The reason is around the middle of May, female bats begin to give birth to their pups ( baby bats). When bats are born, they are unable to fly for several months. If you start the removal process too early in the summer, you might end up with some orphaned baby bats in your home. If you exclude the mother, she won’t be able to return to take care of her babies, and they probably won’t survive.
Seal Up Entry Points in the Late Fall
Most house bats throughout the country end up migrating in the fall to hibernate in mines and deep caves. Once bats are gone for the winter, and you know where they are entering your home, late fall would be an excellent time to get your home sealed upon the exterior points. Be sure to clean up all of the bat droppings in the area, known as guano, to ensure that no disease or illnesses are spread from it.
Not all bats migrate in the winter, however. Many bats in the southeast part of the country will try to find somewhere inside a house to hibernate for the winter months. Once winter sets in and it starts to get cold, bats need someplace warm to stay alive. Bats will often hang out in your attic simply because there is no busy activity up there, and they have enough room to move around if they need to. During their hibernation stage, bats will slow down their blood flow and metabolism so they will have enough fat to get them threw the winter months. While in their hibernation stage, bats are not able to fly out of your home.
Where are Bats Entering Your Home?
Once you are ready to get started with bat exclusion, you need to determine where the bats are entering your home. Walk around and examine your house’s exterior in the day time. Look for things like cracks and holes, and on a clear summer night, watch the spots for any bat activity. Bats often have more than one entry point, so you need to make sure you did a complete walk around your home and found all of the possible entry points. That way, you will know where they could be entering and exiting your home.
When you are surveying your home, you will also want to look for laces where joined materials have warped, shrunk, or pulled away from one another. Another common point of entry is louvered vents with loose screening, at the roof peak and in areas where flashing has pulled away from the roof or siding. Bats only need a quarter-size opening for them to get in. Yes, that is small, but bats will fit through it. Even if a hole looks a bit too small, most likely, it isn’t, so it’s best to get all the holes and openings closed up completely. It usually takes about 30 days for bats to leave once they completely wake up from hibernation.
How to Seal Off Entry Points
Once you have located all of the entry points, then it is time to get your home sealed up and bat free! The first thing you will want to do is to go around your home and use a 100% grade A silicone caulk to seal up any holes that are dime-sized or larger. Then you will want to go around with some galvanized steel mesh to put over any of your soffits, box vents, fascia, gable vents, and also your ridge vent. Some houses do not have a ridge vent.
You can also install one-way doors for bats if you wish. One-way doors are mesh or screening that bats cannot chew through. Placed over an entrance, one-way doors form a long sleeve or tent. These doors will allow the bats to exit, but they will be unable to re-enter the home. One-way doors work because bats use their sense of smell to locate their entrances. When a bat exits a hole out of the bottom of the mesh and leaves, when they return, they will land on the top of it near the hole and try to re-enter from there.
Devices That Help Keep Bats Out
Do not install one-way doors until the bat’s babies, or pups, have reached maturity and won’t be stuck in the roost without their mothers. Never install a one-way door between May and August because the young bats will be stuck inside without their mother and will die.
You can buy a one-way-in, one-way-out device that looks a lot like a water bottle as well. You put these devices at the entry points as well. Once bats leave through this entry point, they cannot get back in because they are not able to climb up them. The smooth sides and the angle of this device make it so bats are not able to get a grip to climb back in through the one-way-in, one-way-out device and end up looking for someplace else. Once you know that all bats are gone from your home, you can remove the one-way doors and permanently seal all of the openings on your home. Make sure you use the 100% grade A silicone caulk to seal up the holes or cracks that were there. You also may want to make sure that your chimney has a cap on it; otherwise, the bats will come right back into your home.
Important to Clean Up Bat Droppings
When you have your home entirely sealed up, you will want to check your attic where the bats were located and start to clean up the droppings (also known as guano) that were left behind from the bats. You can use a shop vac to clean the droppings up. There is also a spray that you can get that takes care of the smell from the droppings. Be sure to wear a mask when you’re cleaning up the droppings, so you don’t breath the dust from the droppings. If it’s a dry area, you don’t want to breathe in the insulation either. Bat droppings do carry a fungus, but it won’t activate unless it has moisture to help it grow. Once you have thoroughly cleaned up the bat guano, you can enjoy your home again and be bat free!