Steve Tvedten's "The
Bug Stops Here"
INTELLIGENT CONTROLS FOR BATS
Volatile, synthetic pesticide poisons are unnecessary for bat control. The best way of getting rid of bats roosting in a building is through "bat-proofing", repelling them, or exclusion by netting! They may be legally protected in your area, so you should check state and local laws before beginning any control activities.
Bat-proofing. Making a building "bat-proof" means sealing or screening all of the openings used by the bats to enter a building. It can be a difficult job because, in many cases, all upper openings 3/8 inch and larger must be sealed, but this is the only permanent method of ridding a building of bats. Use sheet metal, aluminum flashing or 1/4" hardware cloth to close entrances permanently.
Be sure there are no bats left inside before the building is sealed. Bats trapped inside may create even more of a problem than before. Pay particular attention to chimneys, cornices. louvers, shingle/shake siding, vents, warped siding and locations where the roof joins the sides and around the eaves.
June and July are peak months for bat complaints in much of the country. Unfortunately, this is the worst time of year for control. At this time, bats are rearing young in their colony. The young can not fly and stay in the roost. Bat-proofing during this period traps the young bats. They will die and rot and smell. They may also crawl and flutter into living areas.
The best time of year to bat-proof a building is either in late fall after bats have left for hibernation or in late winter and early spring before the bats arrive. If bat-proofing must be done in summer, it should be done after mid-August.
Seal all but one or two principal openings.
Wait 3 - 4 days for the bats to adjust to using the remaining openings.
Then seal those openings some evening just after the bats have left for their nightly feeding.
"Bat valves" or screens can also be used. These are placed over the remaining openings and allow the bats to leave but not to return.
Netting (lightweight bird netting) can be used - bats will crawl out but, can not reenter.
Standard bat-proofing materials include ¼" hardware cloth, screening, sheet metal, caulking, quick setting hard putty, expanding polyurethane foam, steel wool, duct tape -the same things used for rodent proofing. Copper or large stainless steel scouring pads can be used to temporarily plug openings in tile roofs, then sealed with cement or mortar later. When old, deteriorated buildings have more openings than can be sealed economically, large sections of plastic bird netting can be draped over the roof areas of these buildings to keep out bats at a reasonable cost and thus solving most bat problems immediately.
Bat repellents. If bat-proofing is not possible, or bats need to be forced out of a building before it is bat-proofed, the bats can sometimes be repelled from their roost. At this time, only one pesticide is registered as a bat repellent. But we believe it is dangerous and should not be used. Naphthalene crystals or flakes can be spread on attic floors or placed in voids. The crystals are most effective in confined air spaces. Three to five pounds will treat an average attic, but we do not recommend their use.
While naphthalene may repel the bats, it vaporizes and disappears in a few weeks, and I believe is dangerous to people and pets. The bats often return. Many humans dislike the smell of naphthalene as much as bats and some people are very sensitive and should avoid all contact. Blasts of air have been used effectively to drive bats out. Lights left on will drive them away. Turn lights on and leave the lights on when they are hibernating, and they will die. Loud noise can also be used to repel bats.
Bright lights have had some success in repelling bats.
On commercial buildings, flood lights can be pointed at the bats' entry points to keep them from entering. (Of course, the bright lights may attract insects too, which is the bats' food.)
Attics can be illuminated with four or more bulbs or flood lights; ensure that all corners of the attic are illuminated.
Drafts of cool air from fans and air conditioners have, on occasion, kept bats from roosting in a poorly sealed attic.
Ultrasonic devices do not repel bats for long, so why use them? Try loud, heavy metal music.
Cleaning - Be careful to wear all of the proper clothing and protective devices and then clean up all bat droppings and then thoroughly power wash with Safe Solutions, Inc. Enzyme Cleaner with Peppermint to help remove odors, ectoparasites and the like.
Glue Boards - Denny Young has found that if you must remove a bat or colony because you suspect disease and/or other control methods have failed, you can do so quickly and safely with glue boards. Staple a glue board directly under the entrance hole; replace every morning as needed; when you no longer have bats, seal the entrance hole.
Remember, bats are beneficial and may be legally protected in your area.
A single bat. When a single bat finds its way into a home, office, or store, it will usually find its way out again. When it cannot, capture the bat with an insect net, a coffee can, or even (as a last resort) with a gloved hand. The bat can be released and/or destroyed. Never release a sick bat or one that is not acting normally! Never touch any wild animal or bird!
Did you know? If you move about you scare bats and they can panic and bump into things. Bats rest from midnight to about 3 a.m., so most "invasions'" occur about 3 a.m. or just after dusk.
If you still are having bat problems, &read The Best Control© or The Best Control II© on CD-ROM