Why bats are important?
Bats are very important to our backyard ecosystem because bats in the United States consume millions of insects. During the summer months, bats are very active and have high metabolisms. They consume moths and beetles that destroy crops and damage ornamental plants. Bats can reduce pesticide use as they are natural insect eating machines!
What is humane bat removal?
Many bats are protected in the United States. Modern bat removal is humane, and does not harm the bats. There is no spray, strobe lights, or sonic device that are successful at getting bats out of the home. Professionals in the bat control field utilize a bat exclusion. The process requires that a home be completely secured, and one-way door devices are installed at locations the bats are already using so they can safety exit the house. Once they exit the one-way doors, they will search the home for a new opening to get back inside the attic or wall cavity. If a bat exclusion was done properly, then there will not be an opening to allow the bats inside. They may hang on the outside of the home for a period of time, or move on to a new roost.
Bat exclusions should never be done during the maternity season. This is the period of time where the females are raising pups that can not fly on their own. If you do a bat exclusion during this period, you put yourself at risk. This is because the young bats will end up on the ground and potentially expose children & pets to bites. Additionally, it is inhumane for the bat. Sometimes, people are very emotional because they are scared and do not want to wait. Moving forward, usually does not end well. A suggestion would be to sleep in a dome tent in your home or stay with family. Maternity season time period varies depending on the part of the country, species of the bat, and the exact time the pups were born. Generally, maternity season falls during mid May- mid September. However, this range is accounting for the entire country. Big Brown Bat pups can fly in as little as 6 weeks of age. A local professional can hone in the dates to perhaps a 10 week period. When young pups are flying, it is safe. Choosing a maternity season that is the optimal time protects people and the bats. Northern climates have short seasons where insects are flying. Evicting bats so they have time to fatten up for winter hibernation and allowing them time to locate a suitable hibernacula is important.
Performing a bat exclusion is better for bats and people. You do not want bats living in your home. Over time they will damage your insulation with guano and urine. Additionally, it is much safer for bats to live in their natural habitat, rather than having them live closely with humans.
What makes a good bat exclusion?
A bat exclusion is only as good as the people that do the work. Many people are surprised at how persistent bats can become. Bats are excellent at locating the tiniest of locations to get inside your attic or wall cavity. You need a wildlife professional, with a lot of experience, that can locate every single construction gap and opening on your home.
You will need good materials. There are a variety of sealants, foams, screens, and flashing material that can be used to secure your home. With a good exclusion, you will not see these materials because they will blend in with your home. Every year, new materials are being developed to improve bat exclusions, this is literally an evolving field. New products in 2017-2019 were developed by Ridge-Guard. This material is fantastic to secure ridge vents, turtle vents, and powered attic fans.
There are variety of one way door designs that can be fabricated or purchased to allow bats to exit, but not return to their roost. Old methods of draping netting is outdated. This method is prone to mistakes that allow bats to get past. Additionally, it can create a hazard for bats to get tangled. Modern bat removal involves using a cone/tube. The best tubes are constructed of plastic or metal (and not screening or hardware cloth). A tube may be surrounded with screen or hardware cloth (to create a funnel shape). This allows the bats to climb on something while trying to exit. It also helps to get the tube to fit over a construction gap or vent that may be large. For very large colonies, multiple tubes should be installed so that the exit isn't hindered. Bats will not all exit on a single day, it will take a period of time.
One way doors are temporary. They only need to be in place for a period of time to allow the bats to exit. This time period can vary depending on the part of the country you are located, the season of the year, and the schedule of the professional. One way doors may be on as little as 1-2 weeks or as long as 6-8 months. However, they should be removed at some point and not left on your home as a permanent fixture.
A warranty is an important component of a bat exclusion. People make mistakes and miss openings that allow bats to enter. Even the best professionals are not perfect. Additionally, homes can shift. Other wildlife such as mice, rats, squirrels can gnaw openings into the home and allow bats to get access. A warranty is as only good as the strength of the company. If a company goes out of business, your warranty goes out the window. Always hire the best people you can afford.
I found an injured bat, what to do?
Do not Touch!!! Do some reaearch first. Most states have animal rehabbers that can help save injured bats. You may find a list of local rehabbers at Bat World Sanctuary
Rabies exposures, and what to do?
Anytime you may have been bitten or scratched by a bat, you need to capture the bat and have it tested for rabies. If you can not capture the bat, you will need rabies vaccinations to provide protection from this fatal disease.
Sometimes it is not clear if you were bitten or scratched. Bats don’t necessarily leave a visible wound. If you wake up with a bat in the bedroom, if a young child that can not communicate is in a room with a bat, or if you were intoxicated with a bat in the room, contact your physician for advice.
If you have a bat inside the home, and there was NOT a rabies exposure, it may be set free. If you have any doubts, contact your physician for advice.