You saw a bat in your attic and are wondering how to kill it.
The good news is there are many methods you can use to do this.
But first things first: whatever you do, do not try to kill or harm the bat.
While it might be tempting, do not hit the bat in your home with a tennis racket or a baseball bat.
Bats are an essential part of the ecosystem.
As such, you are killing an entire bat population in your attic, or even a single one in your home is an impractical method. It could even be illegal in some states.
Some species of bats are threatened or endangered. As such, some states have specific laws to protect them.
So, how do you get rid of bats in your home?
In this article, we’ll go over step by step how to remove bats in structures without having to call wildlife or pest control operator.
Quick Navigation: What's in This Guide?
- How To Get Rid Of A Bat in Your Home?
- How to Capture Bats on Ceiling?
- How to Get Rid of a Bat Infestation?
How To Get Rid Of A Bat in Your Home?
The easiest way to remove a bat in your home without capturing it is to isolate the bat in one room.
Remove all pets and children from the room.
Close all doors to remove the bat’s access to other rooms in your house.
Next, turn off the light and open the window.
Leave the room for around half an hour to give it time to find the window and leave safely.
2. Gather your equipment
If isolating the bat didn’t work or is not an option, the next step is to capture the bat.
To capture a bat, prepare the following equipment:
- A pair of leather gloves (do not use cotton as bats can bite through it. You’ll also not want to use towels as the bat might get snagged in its loops.)
- Wide-mouth container
- Cardboard or stiff paper
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3. Close doors
Close any doors to minimize the area that the bat can access in your home.
4. Trap the Bat in a Container
Slowly approach the bat.
Once it’s within reach, cover the bat with the container.
Next, slide a cardboard or stiff paper between the container and the wall.
5. Seal with tape
After you’ve trapped the bat, seal the container with tape.
Next, contact your local health professional to determine if you need to test the bat for rabies.
6. Free the Bat
If you do not have to have the bat tested for rabies, you can free it outside.
To do this, find a place the bat can climb, such as a tree trunk.
Doing so is essential because bats cannot fly from the ground up.
7. Other Methods
Here are other methods you can do if you do not have a wide-mouth container:
- Towel Method
Wear gloves and scoop the bat using a towel.
- Cloth Bag method
Wear a pair of leather gloves. Scoop the bat and slide it into the bag
How to Capture Bats on Ceiling?
If the bat is on an elevated area, you can use any method mentioned above with a ladder.
If you do not have a ladder, you can use a painters pole and a glue board.
Tape the glue board at the end of the painter’s pad.
Next, lift the glue board to the bat.
Remove the bat from the glue boars and place it in a container.
Determine if the bat needs rabies testing. If not, release the bat outside against a vertical surface.
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How to Get Rid of a Bat Infestation?
The first step to removing bats in your home is correctly identifying them. Bats should not be confused with birds and mice.
Removing these animals from your home requires different method.
Here are some key physical features of bats:
Bats are generally brown to black.
The exception to this is the red bat and the silver hair bat.
Bats have fur on their bodies. Some species will have fur on their head as well.
Bats do not have fur on their wings.
The little brown bat has glossy fur. It’s dark brown with slightly paler, grayish fur underneath.
The big brown bat has long, silky brown fur.
Little brown bats are 2 ½ – 4inches in length. Big brown bats are larger, averaging about 4-5 inches in body length.
The little brown bat has a wingspan of 8-11 inches. Big brown bats have a wingspan of 11-13 inches.
Megabats can grow a wingspan of up to five feet. The smaller type of bats, known as microbats, generally have a wingspan of about six inches.
Compared to birds, a bat’s flight is more sporadic and swooping.
Tragi are prominent in bats and are an essential feature in identifying bats species.
The tragus is the small bump you place your finger on to plug your ear.
Some bats have very long tragi, while others have small ones.
Different bats have different tail lengths.
Big brown bats have tails that stop at the end of the webbing.
In contrast, little brown bats have longer tails that pass the webbing.
Locate Bat Exit
There are two ways you can find bat exits in a structure.
The first method is called a “bat watch.”
A bath watch requires four people to stand on the four corners around your house.
Each person can start the watch around dusk, preferably under clear weather.
Once it starts to get dark, the bat should leave the building to hunt for food.
This emergence is what the watchers are looking for.
If they see a bat flying out of the house, you can isolate that portion of the property to search where they are entering your home.
Although effective, most professionals do not do this method because it’s time-consuming.
Instead, they opt for method number two: Bat inspections.
Another way you can find bat exits is to look for bat signs.
Here is what you should look out for:
- Holes not smaller than ⅜ inches in diameter
- Bat Droppings
- Rub Marks
- Bat Guano Smell
- Holes not smaller than ⅜ inches in diameter
To locate bat entries, look for openings equal or larger than 3/8 inches in diameter in your attics and roof.
Bats typically enter buildings in high areas.
Other entry points can be your chimney, openings for pipes or wires, vents and under eaves, siding, and shingles
Once you find your suspected point of entry, look for any signs of bats.
Use a ladder and a flashlight to inspect the eaves and corners along your roof and windows.
One sign of bats harboring in your home are bat droppings.
You’ll typically find bat droppings in groups.
The droppings are black, long thin pellets.
They are soft and easily fall apart.
If you consistently find bat droppings in your attic or porch, that is a good sign that you have bats harboring in your home.
Bats typically defecate when entering and exiting your home.
You’ll find them anywhere the bat is roosting, such as the attic and porch floor.
- Rub marks
Bats’ rub marks are brown stains caused by bat’s body oils, guano and urine being rubbed onto the surface.
When inspecting a hole, look for these rub marks.
You can find them in most bats’ point of exit and entrance in your home.
This stain can be very subtle, so it takes careful inspection to spot them.
The more bats you have and the longer they’ve been in your house, the more noticeable these stains become.
Bats will leave urine spray outside their exit point.
Their urine easily crystallizes at room temperature.
As such, you may find them in the form of glistening, crystalline substance.
If you have been hosting many bats, you’ll see an abundance of bat urine.
The smell of bat urine will also be strong.
In contrast, if only a few bats are harboring in your house, you may have a hard time locating bat urine.
Bats regulate their body temperature by moving up and down the wall.
When they are too warm, they’ll move down the inside of the walls. Conversely, when they’re too cold, they’ll climb back up the wall or ceiling.
These bat movements will sometimes cause scratching, flapping, or thumping noises inside your home.
- Bat Guano Smell
Bat Guano or excrements has a distinctive pungent, musty smell associated with it.
It produces an unpleasant odor as it decomposes in places where bats aggregate, such as attics and wall spaces.
Liquid and Gel Repellents
To encourage bats to leave your home, you can use store-bought liquid and gel bat repellents.
I recommend using spray repellents to make it easy to cover the area where bats are staying.
Before applying, wait until the night time when the bats are gone to avoid direct contact with the bats.
Bat repellents work by either disturbing the bats with their odor or with their taste.
If bats continue to smell the repellent, they will eventually leave the area.
These products are usually non-toxic and don’t harm any bats in the process.
There are toxic bat baits on the market.
Be sure to read the label before you purchase to make sure you are purchasing a non-toxic repellent.
It’s possible that bat repellents could drive bats to another location in your home.
It’s essential when you do apply bat repellent that you apply strategically to avoid bats from hiding deeper in your house or structure.
Also, make sure you reapply to keep the repellent as effective as possible.
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Besides liquid repellants, you can also use ultrasonic repellents.
Ultrasonic repellent work by producing high-pitched sound waves that irritate bats but are undetectable to people.
Bats become irritated or disoriented by this noise and quickly learn to avoid thee areas.
This is a great, eco-friendly way to reduce the bat activity around your home without harming the bats.
You might need several ultrasonic repellents to cover the entire perimeter of the building you are trying to protect.
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One-way exclusion devices made explicitly for bats are available in stores.
These devices can seal any size hole that the bats have been using as an entryway to your home.
Exclusion devices can come in nets and tubes.
Nets prevent bats from re-entering your home by creating a one-way door.
A one-way door should allow the bats to leave your home but keeps them from re-entering the structure.
The net method is a common way to get bats out of a structure without allowing them to return.
First, determine how the bats are getting in.
Then place a net or metal mesh over the front of the hole.
The mesh should not be flush with the structure. There should be room for the bats to exit before they run into the net.
When they hit the net, the bats will fall and exit from the exit hole, which should be at least 6-12 inches below the entry point.
One the are outside of the net; the bats will fly away.
When the bats return, the net will stop them from entering their original entry point.
Bats will not thing of flying under the net then back up into the entry point.
They will always try to fly straight into the entry point but will be unsuccessful.
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The plastic tube exclusion devices are blocks returning bats from entering.
Once the bat returns, it will try to fly straight into the hole, which will be blocked by the tube’s side.
I recommend using these devices once you’ve treated your attic with repellents.
Also, use them before you permanently seal off the entry points so as to not trap the bats inside your home.
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After using the exclusion devices, perform another inspection to find the bat entrances.
Check for any additional openings where more bats could enter.
Once you’ve identified all of the areas where the bats came in, seal them to prevent future infestations.
Seal any holes equal or greater in diameter than 3/8 inches.
You’ll also want to seal any crevices of at least 1/4″ by 1 1/2″.
Remember to use long-lasting materials to close voids such as wood, hardware cloth, and mosquito netting.
Do not use expanding foam as this material tends to degrade over time.
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Use barriers on doors and windows
If you like to leave your windows and doors slightly open, make sure to install screens on them to prevent bats from entering.
I also recommend placing a draft-guard under doors to the attic area.
Consider placing a cap on your chimney.
Finally, use stainless-steel wool or sealant to fill electrical and plumbing holes.
Monitor Your Home
Every home is prone to wear and tear, so it’s essential to monitor regularly.
Monitor any holes equal to or larger than 3/8 inches and make sure to seal them up.
Sealing up holes is especially crucial if you live in an area where bats are typical or had bats in your home before.
Why is a bat flying around my house?
Bats will choose to stay in your property if it’s located close to a food source.
If bats have chosen to harbor in your attic or porch, it’s likely because there is a fertile food source nearby.
This food source can include mosquitoes, moths, and other insects.
They also eat fruit, seeds, and pollen from flowers.
You have a hole or void in your home.
Bats can use any openings in your attic and roof that’s around 3/8 inches and above.
Your home is an ideal shelter.
Bats like to roost (hang upside down) in dark, well-shaded during the day.
Bats will generally stay away from your living space.
Some ideal locations bats will stay in your property include roof voids, porch eves, storm drains, and attic space.
Will a bat attack you?
Bats do not attack people. However, they will bite if they feel threatened.
A common reason homeowners are attacked by bats is when they attempt to pick them up. In this case, the bat can bite as a defense mechanism.
When dealing with bats it’s important to wear protective equipment.
While rare, bats can carry rabbies. Only 2-3% of bats that encounter humans have rabies.
But, rabid bats may not display symptoms, which means every bat you encounter is a potential rabies carrier.
Make sure you wear thick leather gloves before you pick up a bat. Do not wear cotton gloves as bat bites can go through it.
What Noise Scares Bats Away?
Bats are typically scared away by noises that emit a high frequency.
Most ultrasonic insect repellents emit frequencies between 27,000 Hz and 85,000 Hz.
At this range, humans can not hear the sounds, but bats can.
These sounds disturb bats and scare them away.
Ultrasonic repellents alternate their frequencies to prevent bats from getting accustomed to one frequency and becoming immune to ultrasonic repellents.