June 17th, 2006
Though it may not surprise you, we get a lot of questions about how to get rid of bats, how to trap bats, and even how to poison bats. Why do these requests surprise us? Because bats, as much as spiders, are excellent examples of nature's own pest control. Bats are primarily nocturnal feeders, and since most pests like mosquitoes and moths come out in the evening, well, guess who's on the specials menu at the Flying Rat Café?
Still, bats aren't exactly the best house guests, either; bats are considered to be vectors (biology geek talk for "real good hosts") for a number of communicable diseases like rabies, SARS, Henipavirus, West Nile Virus, and, according to the folks at Wikipedia, even the Ebola Virus. So, There are some reasons why people might be wondering about how to control bat populations, but they're not very good reasons considering that the actual number of cases where disease has been spread from bats to humans are about as scarce as children who enjoy piano lessons (Sorry, Mrs. Johnson).
Getting Rid of Bats
If you have a bat in your house it's a good idea to get all of the family into one room, close the door, and then open every window and door in the rest of the house to allow the bat to escape on its own. Don't worry too much about the family part; they tend to do this themselves albeit with a lot of shrieking and commentary about the location of the bat. If this doesn't solve matters, keep reading.
If the bat doesn't leave your house under its own power, it's time for you to help the bat out. Get a pair of thick leather gloves and a fishing net. I think you know what to do next, so once you capture the bat, bring it outside and be very careful when removing it from the net. Bats, like the cowards who've holed themselves up in the other room, are very delicate creatures.
If your bat problem is more serious than the occasional midnight scramble, finding them where they're infiltrating your house is my next suggestion. Once you've found where they sleep, what you'll want to do is wait until late evening when all the bats are out feeding and plug that hole up real good. Chances are you'll have solved your bat problem with that simple task, but just in case there's a couple stragglers, unplug the hole again at dusk to let them out and replug it after a couple of hours or so. Note that you will want to do this in the spring because bats have pups in the fall, and you don't want to trap baby bats in your house. First they will die, and then they will stink.
If bats are roosting outside of your house in a place you'd rather they didn't, then a can of dog/cat repellent is a good thing to pick up. Wait to apply the repellent to the area until all of the bats are out feeding, and spray all of the immediate surfaces generously. Whatever you do, don't spray the bats directly with the repellent. You're better off attending the Running of the Bulls wearing nothing but red--and that should be left to very macho but very stupid, young Spaniards.
If cat/dog repellent doesn't solve your bat problem, then putting up fiberglass insulation in those places where you don't want bats roosting would be my next piece of advice. Fiberglass doesn't just irritate our skin, it also irritates bats' skin to no end. Don't go overboard or anything. A thin layer of insulation should keep the bats away.
Professional Bat Control Management
There's no such thing as a bat trap--at least none that can be deployed by an amateur (that's you). Your best bet for getting rid of bats that you can't seem to control is to call a professional in to do the job for you. Professional exterminators--I mean pest management professionals--know what they're doing and they'll get the job done right. The only surefire way to get rid of a bad bat problem is to trap the bats and safely release them a good distance from your home--a very good distance. So, go online and find some professional pest control providers, or go ahead and call your local pest control professionals and get an estimate done. You may want to read this before you do that, though.