Tips on Dealing with Bats in Your Home

Some years ago, we had what we considered a problem with “bats in our belfry” (attic). One of the signs was an odor of urine and ceiling stains in one of the bedrooms.

We hired some ‘experts’, who came out to look over the bat situation. They poked and probed, looked here and there, and after they had inspected the house and the garage, they recommended a fix for the bat problem.

They explained how they could come back with wire screening and expanding-foam sealer, and would virtually block any entry the bats might be using. One problem though…bats normally sleep during the day, and if the work were to be done while the bats are still inside, the bats will very likely die inside, making a worse problem.
I’m not entirely certain how we resolved that particular issue, but ultimately we hired this contractor to help us get rid of the bats and keep them from coming back inside.

They returned and did just what they said they would do…it did not look very pretty in some places, especially where they sprayed the foam sealer into the cracks and crevasses where bats might re-enter (they said bats can squeeze through 1/4″ spaces!). Then, they also installed screening on the gable vents and anywhere else they thought bats might enter, but where they could not effectively use the foam sealer.

To this day, I really do not know if all the work we had done was really worth it. I guess it kept the bats from coming back into our attic (without leaving any behind, too, I guess…because I do not recall going through any dead-animal-removal issues afterward).

We later learned more information about bats and the beneficial role that many bats play in the environment.

-We learned that one bat may eat as many as 1000 insects (mosquitoes, etc.) in one hour!
-We learned that some bats help pollinate some flowers.
-We learned that some bats help disperse some seeds.
-We learned that some bats have even contributed to the pharmaceutical field.
-We learned that bats are important and helpful creatures in numerous ways.

Some time after our experience with the bats in the attic and the work we had done to keep them out of there, we decided to repaint portions of the outside of our house. We also decided to remove the “bat-screening”, and to scrape off much of the foam sealer (at least where it protruded from the cracks it was intended to fill) before painting.

We never reinstalled any of the screening, and have not taken any other measures to prevent bats from getting back into our house. So far, if there are bats in our house, they are minding their own business, and they must be using the “outhouse” for their ‘duties’, as we have not seen or smelled any more bat urine.

Not that we would encourage or invite bats to return to our home…we would actually prefer that the bats find other “bat-lodging”…but now that we know more about them and their beneficial role in our environment, we are more willing to share, as long as they do their part! We have considered purchasing and installing bat-houses, but have not done so yet.

A word of caution regarding bats:
Never attempt to capture or handle bats in the wild…they can transmit rabies or other diseases. Bats are helpful creatures, all right…but many bats run into some ugly things in their nightly adventures…and they can pass some of those on to humans, so it’s best to keep your distance from bats!

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