Bats have long been known to be beneficial because they eat insects. However, they can be- come a pest when they move into attics, barns and soffit areas of our homes. This article will detail different problems bats create when they roost in or on our buildings and then we will explain the methods of control available to stop these problems.
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There are many species of bats throughout the world. In fact, bats comprise the largest segment of mammals in the world. It is estimated that over 25% of the worlds mammals are bats. As man infringes upon their natural habitat’s, bats get displaced and sometimes move into our homes and other buildings.
The most common entry point for bats in the home is through the gable or attic vents which can be found on most houses. This vent allows hot air to exit the attic and most attics have these vents on either side of the home. Initially, bats will hang from the screening which is behind the louvers.
The screening provides a secure hanging place and the louvers offer shelter. Over time, the screening will break down and bats will quickly move inside where roost sights abound. Once inside, the bats will hang from the rafters and ceiling boards. Their droppings will begin to accumulate posing a health hazard and making a mess. These droppings have been found to contain many contaminants and should not be allowed to accumulate in the home. Bat guano and urine has a strong pungent odor as well and will creep into the living area in a short period of time. Many times their droppings and urine fall into a remote wall space and can remain undetected. Other times it quickly stains ceilings in living areas giving the residents tell tale evidence that something needs to be done.
HOW TO CLEAN BAT DROPPINGS
If you every find a buildup of guano in your home be sure to act immediately and remove it. There are all types of microorganisms which can flourish in their fecal matter – histoplasmosis being one of better known – which could present a hazard to residents. For this reason alone you should act to keep them out and then to have all excrement removed.
For most dropping removal you should wear a RESPIRATOR. Be sure to use one with good filters and charcoal. This will help filter out any noxious gas associated with cleanup. You should also wear some old clothes you can preferably throw away but if you intend on keeping and cleaning them, be sure to wash them alone to prevent cross contamination. Alternatively, get a pair of DISPOSABLE COVERALLS so you don’t have to worry about getting dirty or cross contaminating other parts of the home.
Once all droppings have been bagged in some type of strong plastic hefty bag you can go start cleanup. Do this with a product called ROUGH’N READY which is a strong disinfectant. It will kill off all virus and bacteria as well as remove some of the smell.
Rough’n Ready: http://www.bugspraycart.com/sanitizer/liquid/rough-and-ready
HOW TO ELIMINATE GUANO ODOR
However, if the smell persists one week after cleanup, you will have to apply some NNZ. This material is unique in the breakdown of organic compounds which create the odor. By attacking the source of the odor they are able to prevent it from coming back. Apply the NNZ with a standard PUMP SPRAYER or simply a bucket and sponge. We have some sprayers featured below which will serve you well for doing this job. Keep in mind that common house cleaners like pine sol, bleach and detergents will not help with guano odor problems. This is because odor is very different and requires specific ingredients to deactivate. NNZ contains these ingredients and does a great job of neutralizing the “living organisms” contained in biological waste like bat guano.
Eliminator Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/eliminator-gallon-sprayer
To get complete results, you’ll need to be thorough and complete with your clean up efforts. The use of a BLACK LIGHT can really aid in helping to identify just where you need to treat since it will reflect clearly all locations contaminated by the bats. Shine it throughout the affected space slowly and make sure all areas showing any guano get treated.
Now if guano has fallen down into wall voids, the use of a FOAMING TOOL may be needed. This device turns the NNZ solution into a foam much like shaving cream. You will need some FOAMING AGENT added to the tank to create the foam. The use of foam is far superior to standard liquid because when treating wall voids, regular liquid has a tendency to run straight down and miss key parts of the space where odor is active. Using foam for such applications insures you get good distribution and coverage inside the void.
Foaming Agent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/foaming-agent
BAT CONTROL PRODUCTS
There are many products available which will force bats to find another place to live. Although we advocate the conservation of bats, we also understand the problems they present. It is not acceptable to share your home with bats given the mess and health risks associated with their droppings. However, keeping bats out can be accomplished without hurting them. The following products are easy to use and provide options of control methods depending on where the bats are a problem, how hard it is to reach these sights and whether the bats are inside or outside.
If bats are entering the structure through the attic gable vent, soffit vents, cracks or other small entrances, use BAT SCREENING to cover them up. This screening is easy to bend, cut, adhere and it is UV protected so it will last a long time. Use it to screen over gable vents, soffit gaps, seams around facia boards or other entry points created by normal construction gaps and tolerances. Simply staple it to the home. It can be cut with scissors and has been treated to take direct sunlight without breaking down. It will keep bats from entering and can be applied from inside the home as well as on the outside. Use it inside or outside, depending on how easy it is to access such points. If bats are currently living in the areas you want to protect, you will need to do this work after they leave. This is usually at night. Make sure you don’t trap any inside. If you can’t apply it at night and want to be sure that all are out before you seal them in, then attach the screening from the top and sides but leave the bottom loose. The screening will now act as a one way valve as bats will be able to leave but not get back in. They are not the best flyers so they can’t navigate up and under the hanging screen. Although they have strong teeth, they will not use them for chewing through material like the screening. Furthermore, this Screening is rigid and tough. It’s designed to keep it’s shape and to endure some abuse. This insures it won’t break down even if they do come back and land on it over and over attempting to get inside.
If the Screening is too rigid for the area you need to protect, the BAT NETTING might be better suited for the job. This product is not as strong as the screening. However, it is quite flexible and supple allowing you to install it many different ways. Like the screening, it can be installed over siding by just stapling the top above the entrance areas and letting it hang down. The big advantage of the netting is that one can custom fit it to whatever it is you are trying to protect. Since the netting will bend and shape – much like wrapping paper – you can mold it around corners, soffits, gutters and any odd part of the structure which may be allowing bats to enter. The other advantage of the Netting is that it’s not as visible as the Screening. However, the big drawback is that it’s not nearly as strong. Since it’s thinner and frail compared to the Screening, Netting will break down a lot faster and installations are not permanent or as long lasting. Expect to get 6 months to a year from any section installed; doubling or tripling up on the layers installed will help to lengthen this time. Using it this way is definitely suggested when making placements over hard to reach or high areas. One other way to use Netting is to stretch it out over wide spaces of air through which bats are flying and either scaring people or making a mess. Though bats aren’t intending to be a nuisance, they can become one when they establish flight paths under car ports, above patios or over pools. Since bats are very much creatures of habit, once they get these flight paths established, they will use them over and over again. If you have some bats flying around your pool, stretch out some netting on the sides where they are approaching. It’s easy to pull up the Netting with NETTING CLIPS. These special clips attach to the Netting and are slotted to fit cables. Using a couple of hooks and/or pulleys, its easy to configure some Netting which can be put in place quickly or taken down just as fast. Such installations are perfect for creating a “no fly zone”. Bats will detect it’s existence and learn to fly elsewhere. This configuration is excellent when problem bats are flying over pools or other areas in the yard where they are not wanted.
BAT REPELLENT GEL
If you have direct access to the entry point, there are other products to use if the screening would be too hard to apply or just unsightly. 4-THE-BIRDS GEL is a product which comes in calking tubes and applied with a calking gun. It is more commonly used on ledges, tree limbs and other roost sights of nuisance birds. The gel is thick and sticky. It adheres well to any surface and lasts a long time. When the bats lay on it they will not like the feel of it and quickly leave. This product has been used on louvers of gable vents, behind shutters and inside the holes where bats are entering. By coating these areas and making them uncomfortable for bats to use, they will eventually move away. The key is keeping enough material on the areas where their bodies are touching. Unlike birds, the bats will be able to endure the treatment if its only touching their feet so for this approach to be effective, you must be sure they are resting their bodies somewhere which can be coated. And since bats will move from one roost site to another, its important to keep the treatment fresh. So if you treat and the roosting bats are still lingering after 7 days, treat again. If there are a lot of bats, they can wear the treatment down so treating 2-3 times may be required to chase off the entire colony.
If you are unable to reach these entry points, 4-THE-BIRDS LIQUID is the same material but in a liquid form. You apply it with a PUMP SPRAYER and can treat hard to reach entrance ways. This product will not hurt the bats as it is not a poison. It simply provides a surface bats will avoid.
4-The-Birds Liquid: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/liquid/4-the-birds
KEEP BATS OUT BY SEALING ENTRY WAYS
Of course, you can always attempt sealing up as many access points as possible which should lead to 100% elimination. Log homes, older homes which have experienced a lot of settling and designs that have a lot of gaps tend to be structures which offer a lot of entry points for roosting bats. Such structures can be made “bat proof”. This process involves the use of either expanding foam or expanding foam with repellent. Since bats will continue to return to homes they identify as good roost sites, any attempts to seal them out must be done with patience and persistence. It can be done but don’t expect success with the first try. Most jobs will involve one big application followed by 2-3 small spot jobs to finish the job. And the best material for the job is a professional line of products called PUR FOAM SEALENT. These cans are self charged and good for small jobs. If you have a lot of work to do, it would be wise to invest in one of the professional FOAM GUNS and maybe even the 24″ FOAM GUN. These tools will enable you to apply the sealent quickly and precisely without much waste or missed applications. In other words, they will more then pay for themselves. You’ll need the FOAM CANNISTERS for these guns, which easily fit on either applicator, and cover a much larger area then the smaller cans. The better foam for keeping bats out is the FOAM WITH REPELLENT. This cannister comes with expanding foam but includes a strong repellent which insects and animals do not like. It may be just what you need to make sure your bats and other undesirable home invaders aren’t able to find their way inside quite as easily as they have in the past. Be sure to keep your guns clean by using some FOAM GUN CLEANER. This will help keep the gun functioning and ready to go to work when next needed. Bat exclusion will work but if you attempt such work, use the right materials. This line of foam – especially the foam with repellent – will keep bats away once and for all.
Foam Repellent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/repellents/aerosol/pur-ipf-foam
Pur Gun Cleaner: http://www.bugspraycart.com/sanitizer/aerosol/pur-cleaner
USE A BAT DETECTOR TO LOCATE ENTRY POINTS
If you are not able to determine the route of entry your bats are using to access your home, you may need to use a BAT DETECTOR. This tool is great for identifying routes of entry/exit through which bats travel. It works by “listening” to the sonar bats use to move about. It has a tiny transducer which is able to receive their signal for up to 200 feet away. The best way to use it is to turn it on while on any one side of your home, preferably around dusk, and listen. The Detector will convert bat sonar to an audible sound and then play the sound on it’s built in speaker. Expect to hear a series of clicks starting slow as bats emerge. These clicks will vary as activity changes. When flying, the clicks will be fairly static and flat but as insects are identified, the clicking will increase up to the point of when the target it consumed. At that point the clicking will stop. This same sequence will occur as bats find other bats and communicate. Since most bats emerging from structures are part of a colony, there will be communication and hence, a lot of clicking. The Bat Detector can be used to find bats as they fly. Since bats rely on their sonar to locate food, communicate amongst themselves and to simply navigate the night skies, if you keep the Detector on pointed at likely flight ways you will hear bats as they fly around. This is a common hobby among bat enthusiasts who are interested in following nighttime fly ways of local populations. The Detector can also be used while in the attic. By pointing it in different directions you will be able to identify which side of the attic is being used for nesting and roosting.
BAT SPRAY AND GRANULE REPELLENT
For nuisance bats in the attic, crawl space or other non living spaces of the home, treating with Pest Rid Repellent can help keep them away and off the home. Pest Rid is made with all natural ingredients that have been found to repel nuisance animals and insects. It comes in both liquid and granule form and both should be used in conjunction with one another. Basically both forms release odors and tastes which bats do not like so where it’s applied, bats will avoid.
To treat with Pest Rid, you first need to know the bats are gone. This can be in early evening when they leave to feed. Or it could be after you’ve installed some Netting or Screening. Just make sure the area is free of bats before you apply the spray and granules.
So when ready, first apply some PEST RID SPRAY. Use 1 quart for every 125 sq/ft of surface area. Any standard PUMP SPRAYER can be used to apply the liquid; renew the application every 30-45 days to insure they don’t return.
Eliminator Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/eliminator-gallon-sprayer
Next, install GRANULE GUARDS with PEST RID GRANULES setting out 1 Guard for every 75 sq/ft of surface area that needs to be protected. You’ll need to set 4 oz of Pest Rid in each Guard and you should renew the granules when you renew the spray which should be every 30-45 days.
Pest Rid Granules: http://www.bugspraycart.com/exempt/granule/pest-rid-exempt-granules-2-pound
ULTRASOUND BAT REPELLER
Another option you may employ is the use of Ultrasound. This is the use of a high pitched frequency of sound, generally only detectable by animals, which mimics the distress sound of an animal. Ultrasound has been found to work well at repelling birds, rats, mice and bats. The sounds emitted are that of an animal in distress which in turn alarms the nesting or roosting colony.
So if you have an ongoing problem with bats in a structure such as a home, church or other building where they return year after year, consider installing a unit like YARD GARD on the outside can keep them off the building. For inside areas, go with the TRANSONIC.
For larger areas, the ULTRASON 4S has 4 detachable speakers that can be set out over a much bigger area so it’s like having 4 separate units all powered from the same control head. And for flat, uniform ceilings, the ULTRASOUND QB4 can be centrally located on a ceiling from where it will send out a signal in all directions. The Ultrason 4S is a lot more versatile because you control the speaker location; the QB4 is ideal for flat large ceilings like those commonly found in warehouses.
If you are like many homeowners who have a bat invasion but have lived with it too long be- cause you knew the bats were keeping the mosquito population down, there is a way to get the bats out but also to keep them. First identify where the bats are coming in and out of the home. Next, install the bat screening we talked about above using it as a one way valve. At the same time, install a BAT HOUSE alongside this entry point. The bats will have no place to roost so they will utilize whatever roost sight they can find. In some cases, placing some of their guano on the house landing pad will enable them to find it quicker. Once they move into their new home, you can relocate it where you want. Try to keep it where it will have a similar temperature and sun exposure as it did when it was hanging on your home. In general, the less the change when relocating the bat house increases the odds that the bats will stay.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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