How do bats get inside your house?
Ah yes, the age-old question – How do bats get inside your house? These little guys are very slick. I mean that literally, bats get into your house in many ways. The most significant advantage they have over say a squirrel is that they have an oily film on them. Providing an advantage to getting into smaller holes, ones you may not even think would be an issue. With thin hairs and sebaceous glands secreting an excess of sebum, bats can get in almost anywhere. It is effortless for them to squeeze in these holes to gain access to your house, shed, church, or barn. Which also makes them super tricky to catch if they happen to escape into your living space in your home.
Martha, Go Get My Fishing Net!
I cannot even count the number of times someone has called in about a bat inside their house and was trying to use a fishing net. While this is logically what our brain wants to use, it is probably one of the most useless things when a bat gets inside your house. Fishing nets have bigger holes for all the water to escape when used on fish, their intended target. These holes are unfortunately too large, and bats tend to escape out of them before you can figure out what to do with them. This grease that bats use so ingeniously to get inside your house can also leave marks on the interior and exterior of the home. These dark spots can be unsightly. They can also be an indicator of where these savages are taking advantage of your home.
It Brought Friends…
One of the biggest shocks to people when they call about a bat inside their house is that bats do not discriminate. New, old, recently remodeled, well taken care of, or just a shack. They do not care; if you have a warm, dry, and safe place for these bats to hang out (pun intended), they are going to take full advantage. Just think of how the cavemen used to feel, with their house only inches away from the most popular bat dwelling.
You see bats have an unmatched will when it comes to hibernation season, bats will find anywhere they can and safely hunker down to sleep. If bats can get inside your house, they usually bring friends. Suddenly, because a bat got inside your home, it’s now the local bat, frat-house. No offense to them, but bats are pigs. Bats don’t clean up after themselves, and they don’t care if you are sleeping or in the shower; if bats get lost, they’ll bump around till they find where they are going. Rude right? Oh, did I mention bats don’t pay rent? Because they’re bats and got inside your house without your permission, sorry bro.
Not My New House?!
“But my house was just built, bats can’t get in here, you’re crazy.” I am so sorry to drop this bomb on you all, but nothing is perfect, and nothing is impervious to weather and wildlife. Now I know you love your she shed, but bats will not leave no matter what DIY you try. Do you have areas of your structure where two different materials meet? What about any kind of angle? Have you done any renovating, like a new roof or siding? Is there venting in the house? A chimney or two for your many fireplaces? What about a bathroom vent? These are all just straightforward examples of how a bat can get inside your house. I know this sucks, trust me, I know, I have been there. Oh yeah, us bat professionals are not impervious to getting bats in our houses, either.
All The Vents!
Some of the most common places you’ll hear about bats getting into houses are from vents. Ridge vent, gable vent, or a box vent, some of these are only plastic, which is not great for keeping anything with talons and determination out of your house. When you have gable vents, for example, those must be screened. No not with chicken wire, something a little smaller (remember the fishing net?). One-eighth of an inch is the magic measurement by which these bats get inside your house. Oh, I know, that’s tiny, which is why we have such a long list of where bats can get in. How many places for venting alone are more substantial than one-eighth of an inch? Here is a hint, it’s a lot.
Your Nemesis: Gable Vents
Most homes that we service have gable venting as their primary venting for the house. Gable vents are mostly for vanity, meaning that when designing them, they were made to be aesthetically pleasing as well as do their venting job. Unfortunately, that means they are not the best for repelling bats and other vermin from getting inside your house. In most cases, gable vents are on the peaks of the home, i.e., dormers, garage peaks, etc. We have bat proofed homes that have had up to six different gable vents as they are usually mirroring each other on both sides of the house. Also providing the bats an open secondary entry/exit; a front and back door if you will.
Is Your New Roof To Blame?
Most homes now days do not have just one type of venting on the house. When dealing with older homes, we typically have to look at what’s original and what’s added. A lot of times now, we are seeing homeowners who had their roof replaced in the last four to five years and have changed any venting getting new bat activity. When you get a new roof, a lot of roofers have been moving to ridge vents as your primary source of venting.
While ridge vents are fantastic for ventilation, they can be a little less than fantastic when it comes to bats exclusion. Because just like anything, they always make a good version and a cheap version of the product. What that means is a plastic ridge vent can be an inferior product. They also will most likely need repair to make sure bats cannot enter through that type of venting.
Don’t Cheap Out
With that said, not all ridge vents need to have screens. Some ridge vents have proper materials and installation that will keep those little bats out of your home. When you have a plastic ridge vent on the home, you get the same results that all plastic sees. With heat from the sun beating down on the house, the sun tends to uncurl the plastic top of the ridge (they mold plastic with heat). So with the ridge curled over the peak of the roof and the sun beating down on the shingles of the home, over time, certain areas will start to pop up. After a while, you can begin to fit your fingers or whole hand under it.
So, in conclusion, there are many ways that bats are going to be getting into your home. The best way to protect your home is to make sure you know the materials used in the house. Additionally, it’s essential to understand the quality of the work completed. Sometimes the preventative measures for bats are the biggest deal-breakers. Making sure they get done is just as important as getting rid of the bats. Being a homeowner can come with inevitable headaches but protecting your home is also one of the best feelings when done correctly.