For decades, bats have been synonymous with spooky and haunted spaces. As the only mammal in the world capable of flying, their existence comes with tons of stereotypes. There are approximately more than 1,300 bats globally, making them the second-largest group of mammals.
Bats hibernate according to the seasons. Due to their nocturnal nature, they are dormant during the day. They spend their time roosting in caves, old buildings, tree hollows, chimneys, crevices, and cracks.
If you have an attic in your house, bats might hibernate there during summer. But are bats dangerous, and how do you get rid of them from your home? Let’s discuss that.
Are Bats Dangerous?
Despite their scary appearance, healthy bats do not bother humans as long as you don’t harass them. They are essential to humans and the environment as a form of natural pest control. There are two types of bat classification: microbats and megabats.
Microbats consume bugs and insects, which is critical for the ecosystem. On the other hand, megabats are vegetarian and feed on fruits and nectar. More than 500 plant species rely on the nectar-drinking bats for pollination.
Health-wise, bats come with health concerns associated with their droppings, known as guano. Since bats roost in groups, the massive amount of bat poop deposited on your floor attic results in fungus build-up over time. Inhaling this contaminated air puts you and your family at risk of transmitting lung diseases known as Histoplasmosis, which can be severe and fatal.
Bats may carry viruses and bacteria that are harmful to humans. Research shows that these animal species harbor several diseases such as acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and Ebola. Based on the scientists’ findings, animal groups with more species, such as bats and rodents, tend to have more viruses.
It’s rare for a bat to bite an individual unless provoked. In case this happens, you could get rabies infections, making it dangerous to have bats in your home. Your pets will encounter the same challenges.
Once you find bats in your home, it’s advisable not to handle them unless you have proper training. Most have sharp claws and teeth, and with a bit of agitation, they could bite you. Therefore, you should only handle them if you have the appropriate equipment and have received a vaccine against rabies.
Why Are There Bats In My Home?
If you find a bat in your home, there is a reason why. Bats love crevices and old houses where they can hibernate. Once you know what attracts them to your home, it will be easier to get rid of them.
There Is A Food Source
Food is one of the topmost needs for the bats. These species feed on a lot of insects. Therefore, if your home area has an insect infestation such as mosquitoes, the bat population will be higher. They also feed on pests such as lizards, moths, and flies.
On the flip side, some bats feed on fruit nectar such as bananas and mangoes. A garden of these fruits will attract bats to your compound.
They Need Shelter
Season changes dictate where bats live. During winter, they will mostly hibernate in the caves and move to your house attic in the summer. Dark locations give them a good place to roost during the day away from the sun.
A bat can squeeze in tiny spaces. They can enter your house through an open window, chimney, vent, roofing, or missing screens.
The most common places to hide in your home include the attic, storm drain, or a barn roof. You can check for bat roost by checking these areas during the day.
The Temperatures Are Favourable
Bats are present in almost every location except extreme deserts, polar regions, and some islands. You will mostly find them in dense forests, the tropics, farmlands, mountains, and cities.
Depending on the season, they may hibernate in your house, where the climate is hospitable. The transition between the seasons determines whether they stay inside or go outside.
The House Provides Safety
Despite their scary nature, bigger birds such as hawks hunt them down for food. Since they consider humans harmless, they hibernate in the houses for safety purposes.
In some cases, you might find a group of bat mums who need a space to give birth and raise their offspring comfortably. If you don’t chase them out, these young bats might stay inside your home until they are brave enough to venture outside.
The downside of having the bats in your house is that you might attract other animals that hunt down bats.
How To Get Rid Of Bats
Bats can be such a nuisance in your home. However, it’s illegal to kill them, and you should humanely get rid of them. So how do you get them out? Here are some safe methods.
This process involves sealing off areas and spaces the bats use to enter your house to prevent re-entry. You need to observe for a while the entry and exit points they use before sealing them off. You can add nets and tubes in these areas and leave them up for a week or more until the bats give up.
If the bats have migrated during the fall season, this is the best time to seal all the crevices before they come back to hibernate during winter. When implementing this method, it’s best to do it when there are no baby bats who can’t still fly. You can give them time until they can fly away from the roost on their own.
2. Use Essential Oils
Bats are sensitive to strong scents. Using oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, mint, and cloves will scare them off and force them to leave.
Once the bats leave at night for a hunting session, mix the oils with warm water and sugar and then spray their hideout with these essential oils to keep them off your house. The offensive scent will keep them from coming back.
3. Use Natural Bat Repellants
You can get rid of bats in your house by using bat repellant sprays such as Bonide Bat Magic. This product is natural and contains essential oils and peppermint that produces smells which bats don’t like. You can place the packs in the attic or spaces where the bats hibernate to draw them out.
This product is natural and does not harm bats or humans. It’s more effective to use these repellants during the early stages of infestation. Once the colony is too big, you will need to incorporate other pest control methods in your home.
4. Organize A Cleanup
Bat droppings or guano can cause respiratory infections. Once you have identified the bat location, thoroughly clean up and disinfect the floors when the bats are out. Bats can easily smell a previous roost; therefore, you need to clean well to deter them from re-entry.
To prevent infections, wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask to pick all the droppings. Dispose of them in a sealed bag and discard any contaminated clothing.
5. Contact A Professional
Getting rid of bats sounds like a lot of work. If you are unsure of what procedures to follow, contact a professional to carry out these processes for you.
Such individuals are more experienced in dealing with such issues. They could easily identify entry and exit points and advice on the best materials to use to seal off these spaces.
You can use a professional service, especially when you have a large colony. A firmly established population may be challenging to get rid of by yourself. The pros might be more expensive but come with the necessary equipment and workforce.
How To Prevent Bats From Roosting In Your Home
Once you have got rid of the bats, you need them to stay away for good. Let’s take a look at how you can stop them from roosting in your house in the first place.
Get Rid Of The Food Sources
Bats choose a home based on the availability of food, shelter, and safety. Controlling your insect population is one way of putting off the bats. First, you will need to understand what type of bats you are dealing with; are they insect-eating or fruit-eating or both.
It would help if you got rid of insects such as mosquitoes and flies in your house for bat-insect eaters. If you have a high insect infestation, use insecticide to kill them, which deters them from coming to your home. Once they lack something to eat, they will starve and move to another location to hunt.
If you have fruits in your garden, consider covering them with nets to protect them from nectar-sucking bats. Making some changes in your garden protects you from a bat infestation.
Close The Entry Points
A bat can fit through half an inch of space. Therefore if you have cracks on your wall or roof, it’s very easy for them to get access to your home. Once you get rid of all the entry places, the bats don’t have a chance to roost in your house.
People who live in areas with a high bat infestation carry out regular inspections on your walls and chimneys to ensure there are no cracks. Immediately, you notice some crevices, cover them up for the safety of your house. You can also use professionals to help you seal up all the possible areas.
Have Bat Houses
You can install a decoy bat house to distract the bats away from your house. It’s not advisable to have any bats around your home, but you can use this method to control them if they keep coming. This decoy will encourage them to leave your house.
Bats are typically not dangerous unless provoked. They have essential benefits to the ecosystem as agents of pollination and insect population control. These elements make them vital to humans and the environment.
However, they can be dangerous as they host viruses and bacteria easily transmissible to human beings and other house pets. Due to these high-risk factors, it’s not advisable to have bats living in your home.
You can use the methods discussed above to get rid of them. Keep you and your family safe by preventing bats from roosting in your home.