Bats in Your Belfry?

Bats can be a welcome addition to your yard — but you probably don’t want them in your house! If you have bats in your walls or attic, here’s a good way to get them out.

Try to plan your bat eviction for early spring or late summer — these are times when there will be no young, flightless bats in the roost.

  1. Watch the house at dusk to find the place where the bats emerge.
  2. Get a piece of heavy plastic or bird netting that is slightly bigger than the hole. Secure it at the top but allow it to hang free at the bottom.
  3. The bats will be able to fly out but won’t be able to move the plastic or netting out of the way to go back into your house!

If you do want the bats to stick around (a single bat can eat around a thousand flying bugs each night), you’ll want to be sure your yard offers alternative roosting spots. You may want to put up a bat house or leave dead or dying trees for bats to occupy. Ideally, you should put up alternative housing several months before you try to evict the bats from your attic — this will give the bats time to get familiar with the new housing option.

Bats in your walls or attic can be a nuisance, but aren’t a danger to you or your family. Bat droppings aren’t any more dangerous to your health than bird or cat waste! However, it’s a good idea to wear mouth and nose protection when cleaning out animal feces — inhaling dust from animal feces of any kind can make you sick.

The odds are very slim that a bat poses a rabies threat to your family. Bats can carry the disease, but in actuality less than one half of one percent of North American bats have rabies. Those that do have rabies rarely become aggressive — they die too quickly from the disease. Still, it’s best to avoid sick bats just to be safe. If a bat can be easily caught, it’s probably sick (with rabies or otherwise) and should really be left alone. If you’ll have young children in your yard, make sure they know not to try to catch or touch any bats!