- BAT FACTS
- BAT PROBLEMS
- ATTACKING BATS
- ROOSTING BATS AND THE MESS THEY MAKE
- BAT CONTROL PRODUCTS FOR THE HOME AND YARD
- HOW TO BAT PROOF YOUR HOUSE
- BAT HOUSES
- CONTACT US
Bats have long been known as beneficial animals because they eat insects. However, they can become 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 how to safely clean up their mess and keep them off our homes and out of attics.
Related articles: FLYING SQUIRRELS MICE SQUIRRELS
BAT FACTS ^
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. This article will detail various ways to expel bats from your attic and keep them off your home.
BAT PROBLEMS ^
Bats can be a pest for several reasons. Some people are so afraid of them, just seeing bats in the yard is enough to make them panic. In general, these bats are foraging for food and in most cases won’t want to encounter anyone so don’t worry they might “attack”. Contact will people is rare and though they might fly close to you when its dark, their sonic sounding clicks will “echo locate” you and everything else in the landscape. This type of radar or sonar enables them to effectively “see”.
Bats become a more direct nuisance when they roost on the home. When hanging to exterior siding, they’ll typically use the spaces under soffits, porches and overhangs. But if given the chance, bats will readily move into wall voids under the siding or into attic spaces.
One of the more common entry point for bats to get inside the home is through gable or attic vents. 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. Over time this screening will degrade and eventually break apart. Small holes will soon become big enough allowing them to fit through and into the open attic space inside.
ATTACKING BATS ^
We get calls all the time from customers claiming they have bats “attacking” them when they go outside in the evening or night. In fact these bats are just out and about foraging for meals and when they detect your presence, do a fly by to get a better look at you. Using their sonar, these bats will rarely fly into you but the rule here is to not “panic” or move about quickly. Just let them fly by and after 1-2 passes, they’ll move away. Remember, bats eat insects and one of their favorite meals are mosquitoes and other biting pests. Letting the roam in your yard means you’ll probably enjoy less pest activity so in most cases, letting them forage is a good idea. But if you insist on keeping them off your land, you can install one of our ULTRA SOUND REPELLERS. These devices can cover large areas and bats will avoid any air space where they’re active. More on these below..
ROOSTING BATS AND THE MESS THEY MAKE
Roosting bats are the second and more common way bats present problems on structures. They have strong “hands” built into their wings and can use these “fingers” to hold tight on most any surface including wood, stucco, brick and even aluminum.
On a side note, bats are actually more similar to humans than rodents. In fact the they have 5 fingers per wing, much like we have 5 fingers per hand. And they have 32 teeth like humans. People often describe bats to be “winged rats” but ironically, they’re more like people than rodents. The point is their “hands” enable them to grab tight onto a wide array of surfaces and to maneuver in all directions once they land. This allows them to take advantage of our homes to use for shelter.
In fact one of their favorite places to roost is on attic vents. The screening behind the louvers provides a secure spot to grab and the louvers offer shelter. Initially bats will line up under louvers row after row. Male bats tend to hang around by themselves but females tend to colonize in numbers. And when they have pups, its not unusual to see row after row of roosting bats behind the louvers. Over time, the screening leading to the attic space will break down and once that happens, bats will enter the space behind.
Once inside the attic space, they’ll hang from rafters and ceiling boards and this is when their numbers can really grow.
Its when they get inside the home that the real problems start. Bat droppings, known as guano, will quickly accumulate posing a health hazard and making a mess. These droppings have been found to contain bacteria and virus and for obvious reasons, 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 of the home 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 UP BAT GUANO AND DROPPINGS ^
If you’ve had a bat problem in the home and need to clean up their mess, follow these guidelines to keep safe. 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 take care when removing their guano and make sure to keep them out of your home.
For outside cleanups where there are droppings on the side of the home or on the ground, washing the area will usually do the job. But for attic spaces or wall voids, you’ll need to wear a RESPIRATOR. Be sure to use one with good charcoal and fabric filters like our model. The charcoal will filter out noxious organisms along with the nasty odor one will easily detect during cleanup. You should also wear some old clothes or DISPOSABLE COVERALLS so you don’t have to worry about getting dirty when working.
Once the droppings have been removed and safely bagged in some type of strong plastic hefty bag, you can sanitize the area using ROUGH’N READY.
Rough and Ready can be applied with a sponge, rag or even a sprayer. Its ready to use so no dilution needed. One quart will cover up to 250 sq/ft; a gallon will clean up to 1000 sq/ft.
Another great way to apply it is with a FOGGING MACHINE. For attic spaces, our Mini Fogger is well suited. It can handle 2500-5000 sq/ft easily as it will propel the mist 15-25 feet out.
Commonly used around the home to treat for pests like mosquitoes and gnats, our Mini Fogger will change the liquid to a mist so it will effectively cover and coat all surfaces so nothing is missed.
HOW TO ELIMINATE GUANO ODOR ^
Once sanitized, there is a good chance you’ll have a lingering odor. Guano has a high level of acid based pneumonia and will embed itself into porous surfaces like unfinished wood, stucco, etc. This smell can be strong, pungent and unhealthy.
To eliminate the odor, spray or fog NNZ. This material is unique in that it actually breaks down organic compounds rendering the odor molecules null and void. By attacking the source of the odor, NNz will stop it from coming back.
Odors are very much “alive” and act like a living organism when moisture levels are right and minimum temperatures attained. But NNz will take care of this issue and can be sprayed everywhere including attics, living spaces, exterior siding and even on plants.
For the best results, applying NNz to the area where the guano was removed will usually do the job. But if the droppings were in place for any length of time, it would be wise to treat the surrounding area too. Guano scent will translocate and find its way in all directions. For this reason its important to be thorough when treating.
Add 8 oz of NNz to a gallon of water and expect to get 500-750 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon.
NNz can be applied with a standard PUMP SPRAYER or simply wipe it on using a bucket and sponge. Keep in mind that common house cleaners like pine sol, bleach and detergents will not help with guano odor problems and in most cases will just make matter worse so do not use them!
This is because odor is a living organism and as such, requires specific enzymatic ingredients to deactivate the structure. NNZ contains these ingredients and does a great job of neutralizing these organisms quickly and immediately. In most cases, you’ll see immediately improvement with only one treatment needed. But in extreme cases, a second application may be required.
Another great way to apply NNz is using the MINI FOGGING MACHINE listed above. Its perfectly fine to use Rough and Ready in the fogger first to get rid of all the contaminates and then 1-2 days later, to use it for applying NNz. The fogging machine is well suited for treating large attics, crawl spaces and even the side of the home. The mist will promptly cover everything so there is little chance of missing any surface.
Now if you didn’t want to buy a fogging machine, we actually offer a FOGGING MACHINE RENTAL. The machine we offer is quite powerful; it will pump 9-10 oz per minute and shoot the fog 25-40 feet into open attic and crawl spaces. It has a 1 gallon holding tank so add 8 oz per tank and distribute mixed solution over 800-1000 sq/ft. When fogging, you’ll get better coverage and it will be more uniform so the area you can treat per gallon will almost double.
HOW TO REMOVE BAT GUANO ODOR IN WALL VOIDS ^
If guano has dropped down into wall voids, the odor will no doubt leech into living spaces. Ripping down the walls to both remove the guano and spray NNz is an option. But this can be both costly and time consuming.
Before going to this extreme, try treating the space with our FOAMING TOOL. This device turns liquids to foam and when foam is pumped into wall voids, it tends to coat and cover all surfaces better compared to a liquid spray.
Remember that wall voids typically have studs spaced 16″ apart so plan on making at least one hole per void. For spaces filled with thick insulation, you may need to make 2-3 holes located 3-4 feet apart.
Holes need to be large enough to accept the wall void applicator so plan on making them 3/8th” wide. Its also best to start with holes up high. Often times placement up high will be all that’s needed. Foam will convert back to water/liquid and when it does, it will filter down often getting the bottom half of the void thoroughly drenched too.
The Foaming Tool works like any standard pump sprayer; add 1 gallon of water, 8 oz of NNz and 1-2 oz of FOAMING AGENT. Next, pump it up and insert the injector in the holes already prepared.
Foaming Agent comes in quarts and gallons and you’ll need to 1-2 oz of agent per gallon of water and NNz you create. In general, the more foaming agent you add, the thicker the foam you can create.
BAT CONTROL PRODUCTS FOR THE HOME AND YARD
Bats in the home are an obvious problem. But even in the yard they can be menacing. We carry several products which can be repel bats out of your home and even keep them off your property. First you need to decide if your bat activity is a problem and second, where they’re active. Listing below are a range of products we offer to control bats in your attic, on the home or in the yard. There isn’t any “best” product; its more about you deciding what will make you most happy and then picking the product that will be best suited for you to achieve that level of happiness. For some, keeping bats out of their attic is enough as they don’t want them in the yard. For others, having bats in the yard is fine. These are decisions you need to make for yourself and your family. Once you decide, we can help fit a solution based on your preferences. Keep in mind all the options listed below have proven history and will accomplish the goal described.
BAT SCREENING ^
Bats will often roost in small voids created behind parts of the home’s exterior siding. For example, they like to roost behind gutters where they hang in front of fascia boards. They’ll also roost behind shutters or just under tin roofing. For bats not entering a structure, screening or netting are two options that can force them elsewhere.
So if bats are using such spaces or entering the structure through the attic gable vent, soffit vents or other small entrances, BAT SCREENING can be used to cover access points. This heavy gauge plastic is easy to bend, cut, and attach to most any substrate. It has a “diamond” pattern and since its UV protected, the sun won’t break it down for many years.
Screening can be used over gable vents, soffit gaps behind gutters, seams around fascia boards or other entry points created by normal construction gaps and tolerances. Simply staple it to the home or attach it using standard plastic cable ties. Screening can be cut with scissors and has been treated to take direct sunlight without breaking down.
If bats are currently living in the areas you want to protect, you can use screening as a “one way valve” to allow them to leave but not come back in. To use screening this way, simply cover their holes but only secure the top section. This way the bottom will be loose so they can push it out when leaving.
Alternatively you can wait till dark when you know they’ve left and then cover up access holes.
Bats are not the best at navigating over the screen so even if the bottom is loose, they generally won’t try and crawl up under it due to the fear they have of getting stuck. And even though they have strong teeth, bats won’t chew through screening like rats or squirrels.
Screening is sold by the foot. Each “foot” is 12 inches tall and 4 feet wide. You can connect it using cable ties for extended runs like covering up the gap commonly found under the shingle line where it drops over the gutter.
BAT NETTING ^
If Screening is too rigid for the area you need to protect, BAT NETTING might be more flexible and better suited. This product is not as strong as the screening but its more forgiving and “form fitting”. This flexibility allows you to install it many different ways.
Like 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 netting is that one can custom fit it to whatever it is you’re 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 compared to the Screening, Netting will break down sooner 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.
Another 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 don’t intend on being a nuisance, they can become “scary” 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 can be hard to change.
If you have some bats flying around your pool, stretch out netting on the sides where they are approaching. It’s easy to pull up the Netting using 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. Now if you prefer a more “discreet” way to keep them out of the yard, set up our SOUND REPELLERS featured below.
Netting clips can be used to lock netting in place. Common places to affix clips are on trees and the side of you home.
BAT SPRAY ^
For nuisance bats landing on the side of you home or up under patios or gazebos, spraying PEST RID SPRAY over all surfaces might be strong enough to chase them away. Pest Rid uses all natural food grade ingredients and when applied to surfaces where animals like to land, it has been known to drive them away. Basically the concentrate of these essential oils is strong enough to not be “naturally occurring” which serves to warn insects and animals to stay away.
Pest Rid comes in Quarts and Gallons.
Quarts will cover up to 250 sq/ft and comes with its own spray bottle (the red jug below). Gallons will require a sprayer to apply it; any good PUMP SPRAYER will work.
Renew treatments once a month to keep bats away for good. Be prepared to spray more areas of the home in case they move to where you didn’t spray. In general, 2-3 treatments will teach them to avoid the area and use another location to roost or rest.
For the gallon jug, use a simple TRIGGER SPRAYER to apply it if you only have to reach 10 feet or less.
To reach 15-20 feet or higher, use a good pump sprayer.
ATTACK SPIDER ^
Another great repeller is the ATTACK SPIDER. This battery powered spider is about the size of a dinner plate. It features moving legs and a “drop down wind up” motor with string. When set, the spider will hang against the side of the home waiting for any vibration within 10 feet. Once it senses the vibration, it will release its string (the string is about 2 feet long) and effectively drop down. A second later it will automatically wind the string back up into the spiders body while moving its legs. This motion is sure to scare any bat wanting to roost or land in the area. In general, bats don’t see well but they are able to detect the spider and will stay clear of it once in place. Spiders are natural enemies to bats and they are instinctively afraid to go where a large spider is present.
Use one spider for every 200 sq/ft of area you need to protect. Spiders are powered by 2 “AA” batteries and can be placed under patios, hung from gutters or the side of the home. Leave them in place for 2 weeks to ensure the bats leave and forget about your home. If more bats come back, install them again for another two weeks.
BEST BAT SOUND REPELLER FOR THE ATTIC AND YARD ^
In our field tests, the best overall way to repel bats is to install our ULTRA SOUND BAT REPELLER. After testing over 10 ultra sound devices to repel a range of animals, we finally decided to have a unit built to our specifications. The final result is a unit will will do everything you need to repel a range of animals including bats. The list of features is too long to list in this article but here are the important settings required for bat control.
First, you can set it to run at night or day. For bats in the attic, you’ll want to run it all the time since they might want to use your attic during the day but at night, come and go. In the yard, run them only at night.
Second, our units are weatherproof so you only need one unit for bat control inside or outside your house.
Third, our unit comes with a power supply so you can run it all the time using any wall outlet. Power consumption is minimal, less than $.40 a month, and when kept always on bats will never come close to the protected area.
Fourth, our units have an included “light bar” which flashes on/off adding more “scare” to the effect.
Fifth, each unit comes with a wireless key (like the one you use for your car) so you can turn units off/on as desired.
Sixth, we have an optional mounting block which allows you to angle units up at a 45 degree angle and to place them over a 1/2″ stake. Stakes can be any standard garden stake or 1/2″ piece of rebar. Units only need to be 1 foot off the ground to keep them dry so a 2 foot piece of rebar driven into the ground will do a great job of keeping the unit pointed where it will most matter.
Lastly, units can be powered by 4 “C” cell batteries if need be. We recommend using the power supply for the first 2-3 weeks when first installing the units to make sure the bats relocate quickly. You can get 33 ft and 66 ft extension cords to extend the power cable so there is no reason to not use a nearby wall outlet to power them. This gives you optimal range because units always on will repel animals for 100 feet or more. But when relying on batteries, they will only turn on when activated and bats will have to come within 40 feet to turn them on. This could limit their initial impact so use them by keeping them plugged in whenever possible.
Using a mounting block, you’ll be able to set the unit just off the ground and direct the sound where needed. The height off the ground is not important but in general, 1-2 feet high is fine. Be sure to direct it to the section of the home where the bats are either roosting or entering.
As stated above, we recommend keeping it “always on” for immediate and long lasting results. More info on the settings can be found here: BAT SETTINGS
Remember, these units are very much “directional” so for most homes, at least one unit per side of the home is needed to get complete coverage.
If needed, we have power cord extenders which can lengthen the power supply up to several hundred feet. These can be buried in the ground too for discreet, more permanent installations.
HOW TO BAT PROOF YOUR HOUSE ^
Once you’re sure all the bats have been expelled from attics and wall voids, consider sealing off entry points.
This can be done using COPPER WOOL. Bats do not like chewing and copper is very irritating to animals so they won’t ever try. Plus the copper will not rust. Copper wool is both easy to cut and easy to stick in entry holes so its an easy to way to seal bats out.
Once open gaps are filled with Copper Wool, seal them with PUR BLACK. This unique expanding material is durable, strong and will seal gaps good and tight. For small jobs, the cans which include the injecting hose will work fine.
For large jobs where you’ll need several cans, get the larger size. This can is will need a PUR SHOOTER GUN. Similar in how it works to a caulking gun, this set up will let you specifically apply just the right amount to all gaps and cracks.
The larger can of PUR FOAM is about 25 oz and will only work in the guns.
You’ll also need GUN CLEANER when the job is done to “purge” the gun of foam so it won’t get clogged.
BAT HOUSES ^
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.
CONTACT US ^
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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