Bats in the attic – these are the very words that for many homeowners sound like a sentence. After them, I mentally want to take out all the inhabitants of the house, pets, valuables – and run beyond the horizon in search of new housing.
Especially if a large colony of these animals settled in the house. And all because there are a lot of rumors around bats, and it is customary to be afraid of these flying creatures. And, moreover, few people know how to get rid of them correctly.
The biggest myth about bats is that they are vampires and feed on human blood. In most cases, this is not the case. Yes, there are separate subspecies that prefer blood (mind you, the blood of animals, not people). They are dangerous and carry diseases, but you still need to look for them and attack them yourself so that they are definitely bitten. The vast majority of bats that a person can meet in a house feed on insects (mosquitoes, flies, etc.) or, which is much less common, small animals like frogs. So these pests are not really pests after all. These can be “tamed” and build special houses for them. Although there are species that feed on fruits, and then they can be detrimental to gardening. Such, as you understand, it is better to scare away from your lands. This is what we will talk about today.
If you try to kick them out at the wrong time of the year, you will find in the spring that your site has become a haven for midges, mosquitoes and various beetles. Bad surprise, right? To prevent this from happening, we wrote this guide for you – you need to get rid of bats wisely. First, we will tell you about their habits and life, how to smoke them out of the attic, teach you what to do if a bat flew into your house, find out which repellents work on them and which do not.
Useful facts about bats that you should know before you decide to get rid of them
If you are tired of waking up every night from the rustle of wings and you are afraid to send your child to fetch something from the attic (and you are afraid to go yourself), you need to know this:
- Bats do not build nests – that is why they settle in places already inhabited by humans: in attics, in chimneys, in towers, sheds and often fly into the living rooms of houses, settle in ventilation and on balconies. But they can settle in abandoned buildings and even under a bridge.
- The appearance of offspring in bats occurs “with a delay” : after conception in the winter, offspring usually appear only in May-June. The end of summer is the most critical month: it is then that the cubs begin to fly, so it may seem to you that the number of bats has sharply doubled.
- Colonies consist almost entirely of females . Every year they give birth to about one pup, but some may have 2-3 cubs.
- Bats, like their non-flying distant relatives ordinary mice, are very dexterous and nimble: they only need a 1.5 cm gap to get into the house.
- During the day, bats sleep, and at night they fly away in search of food and water. They can make several flights back and forth throughout the night. They use echolocation to navigate the area, but they are not completely blind, as many people think.
- These animals can be carriers of dangerous diseases : rabies, the most dangerous Marburg and Ebola viruses – but only when bitten. Fleas, ticks and other parasites also live on them, BUT they are specific – they are strictly attached to the owner and are not dangerous to people. We will tell you more about how dangerous bats are and what diseases they carry at the very end of our material.
- In many countries, bats are legally protected and cannot be shot or poisoned.
What are the benefits of bats?
The main benefit of bats is that they eat up to 600 mosquitoes a day. Killing insects is not the only benefit these mammals provide. Scientists have found that they are engaged in pollination and seed dispersal of wild fruits. Thus, they contribute to the preservation of ancient plant species and the emergence of new ones. Theoretically, bats can help your future garden crop as well.
Bats in the attic: what to do?
To get rid of bats in the attic, you don’t need to know which species lives there. Something else is important:
- what methods can be used against bats;
- when they can be used and when not.
Usually, bats settle in attics closer to summer, when the females, which make up the bulk of the colony, are preparing for childbirth. Of course, uninvited guests can simply take a fancy to your house for the purpose of wintering, but most often it is in April-May that you can notice the first signs of infection: rustling at night, traces of wool, droppings on the roof, as well as a sharp decrease in the number of harmful insects in the yard.
Of course, you will be delighted with the absence of mosquitoes, but the first thought that will arise in you most likely sounds like: “How to drive these creatures away? Will they bite me? How to live in this house now? Remember: you can’t just take it, go to the attic and drive these animals out into the fresh air.
BUT! You can’t get rid of bats during the period of feeding their children: you will drive away the adults, and the kids who still can’t fly will remain in the attic and slowly die – this is inhumane, + dead animals will bring unsanitary conditions and pathogens to your attic. Therefore, in the summer, you will have to come to terms with the fact that you are not alone in the house.
But sooner or later autumn will come and it is then that decisive action can be taken:
- Look for loopholes that bats use to get into your home. Through ventilation in the attic, a chimney, open windows, holes at the junction of walls and roofs, gaps in walls and siding – they can use everything. As we said above, a narrow gap is enough for them – they will crawl through and settle inside.
- Wait for the moment when the night falls and these terrible creatures fly away in search of food. Close up all the entrances and exits that the bat uses so that they cannot fly back. To do this, you can use budgetary funds – sealants and universal metal mesh. Hurry up! But first make sure that no one is left in the attic.
- In no case do not try to score them or throw poison into the attic. After you deprive them of the opportunity to return to the “nest”, clean up the attic. Bats leave a lot of excrement, enough wool and secretions, as well as half-eaten insect shells – all this wealth must be disposed of as soon as possible.
There are other options – you can simply scare away bats – then these flyers themselves will run away from you. We will talk about the best repellents for our “handsome men” below.
The best bat repellant
To begin with, let’s figure out what generally repels and repels bats. And then we will select effective home-made or purchased products.
Scientists say that repellents against flying rodents can be:
- Naphthalene in the form of flakes or crystals . Vapors of naphthalene will scare away the animals over and over again until the unpleasant odor disappears. Then it will need to be updated. By the way, it is also better for people to stay away from naphthalene fumes: they are very, very dangerous. Therefore, it cannot be used in living rooms, but it must be applied in special protection.
- Bright light, flashlights and lights . This is not the most effective way, but it still has a repulsive effect on the heroes of our article. Biologists recommend lighting them with unoccupied roosting sites for bats. They will not land on the illuminated area. The main thing here is not to leave “dark zones”: buy several light bulbs over 100 watts for a large attic.
- Fans are another “environmentally friendly” way. But they must be precisely aimed at the source of the threat. What are the downsides? You need a lot of fans and they will have to buzz all night. And this is a waste of electricity and an unpleasant sound above the ear.
But what about aerosols, sprays and ultrasound, you ask? Researchers have a number of questions about these gizmos.
- Aerosols and sprays . They can still be found in the markets. But experts doubt their action and effectiveness. And poisonous sprays cannot be used at all: after them, animals are unlikely to survive.
- Ultrasound . All the same researchers claim that it does not work at all. Theoretically, if the devices acted with increased intensity at the frequency of “negotiations” of bats (from 30 to 100 kHz), this could be a reality. But to expect such accuracy from cheap Chinese devices (they don’t sell others) means to overestimate their level.
- Folk methods . In this matter, the opinions of experts are not so unambiguous. It is known that garlic is definitely a dead number. Noise curtains and “scarecrows” also do not inspire confidence among scientists. Unless you can use noisemakers made of thinly sliced aluminum as an “additional measure of influence.”
What can be chosen under these rules of the game? To be honest, there are not so many options, here they are:
Simply tested mothballs from an adequate manufacturer. What to do with them? The classic recipe says: place a glass of balloons on a square of gauze 10 by 10 centimeters. Hang it in the form of a bag closer to the bat nest. And repeat this maneuver as the vile smell disappears.
If you live in Bruce Wayne’s estate and you need a lot of marbles, take packages of 400 marbles: this is enough for a full-scale war with bats. There are no complaints from buyers, so the concentration of harmful substances here is decent.
BUT : scientists remind that these balls are harmful not only to people, but also to animals. So be careful with them and take all the necessary precautions.
Enough about mothballs – let’s look for other types of repellents with high user ratings.
BONIDE PRODUCTS 876 4-Pack Bat Repellent
Bonide is a very reliable company that makes quite a few quality repellants for other pests too. How does this specific product work? We doubt the effectiveness of this product. The fact is that peppermint oil is included as an active ingredient. And not a single official study could prove its effect on bats. So even some positive customer reviews do not allow us to recommend such a tool to you. But that doesn’t stop you from trying it out – it’s the only repellant listed as a specific bat repellant.
It turns out that we have not found anything better than naphthalene. But he’s still dangerous. Therefore, it is better to try to learn how to contact with bats without the use of chemistry.
What to do if you find a bat in the house?
We encounter bats in the house in two cases: either one “crazy” individual gets to people, or the owner of the house comes across a whole family of winged animals somewhere in the attic. And if we talked about what to do if the bat settled in the attic, now we will deal with the “loners”:
This is usually done by young and inexperienced bats. They learn to fly at the end of summer and often fly where they don’t need to. Less commonly, bats “come to visit” during migrations and on the eve of winter, when they are looking for shelter from the cold. Do not take their lives: help get out of this trouble.
What to do if a bat flew into your window or open door?
- First, take the children to another room, and also remove pets from the room. They can attack a mouse and get seriously injured.
- The easiest option is to open the window, turn on the light and leave the room. In 10-15 minutes the animal will calm down and find a way out by itself.
- Does the animal keep flying? Scientists recommend a time-tested method. We must wait until the bat sits on a flat surface. Then cover it with a box or jar and wait until the animal calms down. Then just slip a thin cardboard between the trap and the surface: the guest can be taken out into the street. Do all manipulations with tight gloves to avoid bites and other wounds.
- It is better to let the mouse out at night. During the day, she may not find a normal shelter for herself and die. If you caught an awakened mouse in winter, then you cannot send it outside. It is necessary either to give the creature to veterinarians, or to keep it in the house until warm days.
IT IS IMPORTANT! If you find a sleeping bat in your room, do not panic and throw it out the window right away – this can harm it. In such cases, experts also advise putting on gloves and holding the bat in your hands for a while so that the petrified animal wakes up – and then you can release it to freedom.
How dangerous are bats: diseases from bats
In addition to excreting toxic ammonia, bats can transmit other dangerous diseases.
Histoplasmosis in mouse droppings. This is probably the most common and nasty disease associated with our heroes. So, histoplasmosis is a disease of the respiratory tract caused by the fungus Histoplasma camsulatum capsulatum. In fact, it lives in the soil in various warm regions. But it is bats and birds that most often “bring” it to humans in their excrement. You just breathe next to him, inhale dangerous vapors – and the fungus has already entered your body. Shaking the spores is simple: you just need to step on the dried feces or crush it with something else. The symptoms of histoplasmosis are flu-like, but without fever or complications of vision, heart, or hearing. Wear a respirator or mask when removing mouse droppings.
Rabies. Getting rabies from bats is a real prospect. But this danger is somewhat exaggerated. Thus, mice more often endure rabies through a stage of paralysis and complete calmness, and not through constant aggression. But this also happens, although sometimes people mistake the usual “crazy” flight path of a mammal for rabies
So, rabid bats attack everything they see. Fortunately, infected individuals live 4-5 days, but during this time they can bite you. Especially often an absurd situation occurs: a weakened mouse lies on the ground, living out the last day, and a person grabs it with his bare hands in order to “save”. So she claws the unfortunate, infecting with rabies. Hence the important rule – never touch them with bare hands.
Parasites on bats. We mentioned this at the very beginning of the article: parasites that live on bats die immediately after the disappearance of bats from the house – for example, there are special fleas that live only on these animals – therefore, people and pets in this case can Do not be scared. The same applies to other parasites – they are purely specific. But if you want to be 100% safe, you can always use diatomaceous earth in the house as a safety net: sprinkle it on the bat nesting area after you get rid of them.