At the height of summer, it’s quite possible you may have bats living somewhere in your walls or attic. At night, especially in Miami, your a/c is probably running. The cool air draws bats in and they will likely find solace during the daytime in your walls. The insulation tends to keep this area a more stable temperature.
Do I Have Bats?
There are a few signs that are significant indicators that you have bats roosting in your home.
- Bats flying around your home during dawn or dusk hours.
- Droppings, or guano, on window sills and around the edge of your house
- Chirping, squeaking, or scratching sounds coming from walls and attic at night
- An ammonia smell
How Do Bats Get into My Attic?
To understand how bats get into a house or how bats get into an attic, you must learn more about building structures. The outside of your home is a barrier to the inside. A break in that barrier allows a bat indoors. Below is a list of places to check for entry points on your property:
Soffits are the materials that connect your home’s exterior walls to the planks that hang underneath your eaves. Without soffits, the rafters and beams of your home would be open and exposed. Soffits may occasionally detach in small areas, or wildlife such as woodpeckers and squirrels may break or tear them. This gives a bat just enough space to enter your home.
Fascia boards are bands or strips of materials. They serve many purposes, including holding gutters in place and closing off the ends of rafters. They are usually wood strips strong enough for adhering gutters, soffits, and roofing materials. Improper installation or damage due to the elements can leave small openings that bats may enter.
Roofs with shingles will have ridge vents along the roof’s peak. The ridge vent allows heat and humidity to exit the house. This heat will attract bats looking for a warm place to roost. If the vent is damaged or cracked, bats will use it as an entry point.
Gable vents are decorative, allowing air to flow into the attic to cool it down when the temperatures are warm. Homeowners can adjust gable vents based on how much air they want to enter the home. Open vents provide the perfect entry point for bats and other wildlife.
Roof Returns or Eaves
Decorative materials may be used during the building process to attach a roof to the side walls of the home. The construction of these materials as well as the condition of returns may determine how well they hold up to weather conditions. Poor construction can leave entry points for bats.
Chimneys are like hallways for animals. Bats can quickly fly in and out of chimneys and roost on bricks or rocks used to construct the chimney. When not in use, chimneys should be fitted with chimney caps to seal the area and prevent bats, birds, and rodents from entering your home. Caps can also prevent debris from drifting into your chimney. Debris that gets stuck can create a fire hazard.
Siding, whether wall panels or corners, can be damaged by weather over time or by a random rock thrown by a lawn mower. Nuisance wildlife may also cause damage. If it is not installed correctly, wall panels can buckle. Any of these scenarios give bats the perfect opportunity to use your home as a roost.
Can I Exterminate Bats?
Bats are some of the most important creatures in our ecosystem. Alongside bees, they work to pollinate up to 60% of the produce in our diet. In addition to their pollination, they are also some of the best natural pest controllers out there, consuming up to 8000 insects in a single night. Because of this, there are restrictions on how you can handle bats. For instance, it is unlawful to purposefully harm or kill bats.
What if a Bat is Inside My Living Space?
It is uncommon for a bat to be in our living space. And, when one is inside a home, it is there accidentally. Often, it is a juvenile bat that lacks the experience to know that a home is not an appropriate roosting place. Each year, we get calls from homeowners for help removing a bat in their home. It’s important to remove it humanely and without touching it. Bats carry diseases such as rabies and parasites. You do not want to risk getting bitten or scratched.
How to Get a Bat Out of Your Living Space
The first thing to realize is that the bat doesn’t want to harm you. A bat will avoid encounters with people. And it probably wants to leave as much as you want it to leave.
Bats cannot create an entry point to get into your home in the way a raccoon or squirrel might. They take advantage of what small cracks and holes they find. What attracts them to a home is the warm air they detect coming out from that hole. The warmth tells a bat a good roosting spot lies within.
The first thing to do is get all people and pets out of the room. Close the room off so the bat is contained in the room and unable to fly into other parts of the house. Then, open windows and doors. The bat will notice the fresh air and most likely follow it outside.
How to Trap a Bat in Your House
Bats face habitat loss and often turn to attics and shutters for a place to roost during the daytime. There are 45 species of bats in the U.S. All of them are federally protected, and some are on the endangered species list. It is not permissible to kill or harm a bat.
If the bat doesn’t fly out within a reasonable amount of time, you might have to capture it and release it outside. Never set a rat trap or glue board. Follow these steps:
- Put thick leather gloves on.
- Wait for the bat to land. It will most likely land on something it can hang from, such as curtains or furniture.
- Using a large enough container, cover the bat.
- Slide a stiff piece of cardboard at the open end of the container to keep the bat inside.
- Take the bat outside.
- Place the closed container on a tree trunk that is as high as you can reach.
- Remove the cardboard.
The bat should fly away when it is ready. The reason for putting the bat as high as possible is to keep it safe from predators. In addition, when bats alight from their perch, they first drop before they rise, so a higher branch will give them the space they need to start their flight.
If you suspect that there are bats in your home, it may be a good idea to get a professional out for an inspection. Luckily, Critter Control® has expert technicians trained in the best ways to handle a bat situation, so they can safely remove the animals and clean up after them. To get started today, give us a call at 305-258-3587.