Bats are often harmless creatures, but you are unlikely to want to share your home with them. From making noise and disturbing your home insulation, to carrying potentially deadly diseases, bats are best left outside in the wild.
“It’s important to remember that bats are protected animals in many states and parts of the world, particularly in the UK,” advises Rachel Crow, Garden Editor for Homes & Gardens. ‘Because of this it is strongly advised to check your local area laws regarding bat removal or disturbance before doing anything to avoid getting into legal trouble or harming the bats.’
If it is legal to move bats in your state, much like get rid of raccoon, it is important to humanely remove these mammals. Fortunately, there are a few ways to try this.
How to get rid of bats in a house naturally
If you’ve seen a bat in your home, there are probably more hiding somewhere. It’s best to locate where the bats live for any treatments to be effective – common spots are in attics, walls or other areas where insulation can make a cozy nest.
Identify that bats are the problem
These shy animals all have a common appearance, although they can vary in size between species, with about 40 to 50 species living in the US alone.
The most common sign of bats is droppings. It is similar to mouse droppings in size, but will crumble to dust under pressure rather than staying firm. They are also quite noisy creatures when they choose to communicate, and their chatter or ‘yelling’ can be heard at dawn when they return from hunting. A professional may be able to help identify if bats are the problem, even if they cannot help remove them according to local laws.
If you are allowed to help bats relocate, there are eight ways to do it.
1. Lock down any access points
Bats are notorious for squeezing into tight spaces, so one of the first steps to getting rid of them is to seal up any openings such as cracks and holes – especially in your roof.
‘Our attic spaces replicate the cave conditions of bats’ natural habitats with the added benefit that our roofs tend to be insulated too, providing the bats with comfort as well as shelter,’ explains Rachel. “Getting rid of any potential entry points certainly helps prevent bats from entering your home, but it can surprisingly help you get them out.”
‘By blocking all the available holes and installing a bat cone, a small device that allows bats to push out but not back in, you can humanely filter the bats out of your home. Although it may take some time, it does not intentionally disturb the bats, making it legal in many states and countries around the world.’
However, this method is best used for small groups of bats as opposed to large colonies.
2. Use natural repellants
Bats have an incredible sense of smell, so it’s easy to use natural deterrents to move them off your property. Flavors like peppermint (which is also good for get rid of mice), phenol (an aromatic chemical often found in cleaning products), cinnamon, or eucalyptus can all be used in good amounts in bat nesting areas to drive them out or deter them from entering.
You can apply phenol in crystal form to the area, but make sure you use the correct safety equipment to prevent skin irritation. Phenolic sprays are available but may not last as long and will require frequent respraying.
To use peppermint or eucalyptus, combine the essential oil with two cups of warm water and half a cup of sugar. Spray it liberally to the area where the bats often nest to deter them from staying.
Using scents is a great way to attract bats if they are new to your home, but more established colonies may take a little more convincing with a combination of deterrents.
3. Add a bat house to your yard
add bat houses to your garden is a good addition to other bat deterrents as it provides the bats with a safe space to hide. By providing alternative shelter, bats that leave your home are less likely to try to return and can establish themselves more safely in your yard. What’s more, bats are brilliant pest control, so they are often an asset to have in your garden to protect your flowers and vegetable garden ideas.
Bat colonies often make homes for a long time and, once established, will continue to return to the same location as long as it is viable. This is why bats often invade people’s homes as their natural habitats are destroyed and our buildings remain intact. It is important when undertaking any form of pest control to make sure the animals can continue to survive once they have left your property.
4. Remove bats food source
Very like get rid of molesremoving bat feeding corridors from your garden will encourage bats to continue – in fact, if you have persistent bats in your home, it could be a sign of a pest infestation.
It is important to determine which variety of bat nests in your home. Some bats eat insects, some fruit, and others a mixture of both.
Most North American varieties of bats are insectivores, with the common bat eating up to 600 mosquitoes or more per hour. Common insects that attract bats are beetles, moths and mosquitoes, and dealing with infestations of these pests often deals with the bat problem as well. Ideally, use natural solutions, such as mosquito repellent plants, but if you use an insecticide, make sure you use one that does not harm small mammals such as bats or other garden animals.
“If you have fruit trees in your garden, consider protecting your fruit with netting to prevent access,” suggests Rachel.
5. Install bright garden lights
Your outdoor lighting ideas can be much more than strict decoration; instead, garden and patio lights can also provide pest control. Bats are nocturnal, which means they are sensitive to bright light. Installing bright garden and patio lights will deter bats from entering your garden in the first place, and installing motion-sensitive lights in recesses like your attic can drive the bats out and give you enough time to refill the entry points.
6. Install a sound machine
Using a sound machine that emits an ultrasonic sound can deter bats, and should only be used if nothing else has worked. Very like get rid of squirrelssound scares off bats who prefer peace while resting.
The use of ultrasonic sound disrupts the bat’s senses. These small mammals hear frequencies above the human hearing level and use these abilities to echolocate, compensating for their poor eyesight.
This method can cause some discomfort to the bats, so should be used as a last resort and should be turned off once the bats have left and you have blocked any entry points.
7. Clean the area the bats were in
Like many animals, bats smell the areas they live in to mark their territory and locate their home. Once you’ve cleared a bat infestation, it’s best to thoroughly clean the area to remove droppings and possibly, where necessary, replace any insulation protecting your home.
By using chemical cleaners that contain phenol and other strong-smelling ingredients, bats are less likely to resettle in the area.
8. Call a professional
The best way to remove bats is to call a professional. If a bat colony is long-standing, home remedies are sometimes not enough to encourage them to move home. However, this can be expensive.
Not all states or countries allow bat removal, so not all pest control centers will offer bat removal services, but they may be able to advise you on how to encourage them to continue naturally.
Do mothballs get rid of bats?
Although moth balls are effective clothes moth deterrents, the chemical they release is pungent and often causes serious physical effects in small mammals, so do not use them to get rid of bats.
When attempting to move bats humanely, it is important to prevent them from becoming injured or otherwise ill. Mothballs work by releasing naphthalene vapor, emitting particles that cause vomiting, dizziness and nausea in bats, and can even be fatal in large quantities.
What’s more, once mothballs disintegrate, bats are likely to return, so they are no more effective than other, friendlier methods of getting rid of bats in a home.
Do bats go away by themselves?
Small bat colonies can move on their own, but larger colonies are likely to stick around until you get rid of them yourself by making the area undesirable.
Our homes provide bats with warmth, shelter and often food, especially in urban areas where their natural habitats are often destroyed. Because of this, bats are highly unlikely to leave on their own.
What attracts bats to your home?
As with any other pest, bats are drawn to your home because of its warmth and security. They are often willing to live with humans with the benefit of being protected from the elements and the assurance of a structure that is unlikely to be destroyed.
With the increase in urbanization, bats are becoming more accustomed to living with people, so our presence is not often enough to frighten them and deter them from making their homes next to us.