For the past few mornings when I open our patio umbrellas I have found a little brown bat. It eventually is disturbed as I open the umbrella and shortly flies away but we had a bat in our house last spring and I am worried about that happening again. Do you have any tips or do you recommend a bat house? Thanks for any insight you can offer.
As explained in our bat control article, bats are very much creatures of habit and attracted to areas where other bats have been living. My guess is the bat odor from previous activity that’s no doubt coming from your house or some of the furniture around the home (maybe even the umbrella itself) has attracted this recent visitor.
I also suspect the bat you have is a single male. I say this because they tend to roost by themselves in areas where other bats have been known to be active.
So if you wish to keep him away from the home, I suggest you incorporate one of the bat repellents we have listed in our bat control article. And if you review the list of options listed in our article, I’m sure you’ll agree that one the easiest things for you to do would be to install a Yard Gard 10-15 feet away from the umbrella but pointed right at it. This unit uses sound bats don’t like and when deployed where bats have been roosting, it will keep them away for good. Keep the unit running 24 hours a day for 1-2 weeks and I’m sure he’ll relocate away from your home and outdoor furniture.
Now if you’re interested in having him stay on your property and take up residency in a bat house (this would be done to have him provide natural insect control), you’ll have to present an alternate housing option as close as possible to the umbrella he’s been using. This can be accomplished by placing a bat house on a pole (this would be temporary) and then you’ll have to set the house alongside the umbrella as close as possible to where you’ve been finding him.
If you add some Bat Call to the house, he’ll no doubt “notice” the house and with any luck, move in. Once he moves in, you can relocate the house to another pole, the side of your house (or other building), a street light pole, an electric line pole, a large tree with little or no tree limbs, etc.
In summary, letting him have access to the umbrella is not a good idea as this will only lead to more bats coming around. This could lead to conflict with people and since bats are known carriers of rabies, human interaction with bats is something that needs to be avoided. Additionally, their droppings contain all kinds of bacteria and other contaminates so they too present a health hazard – especially in areas where you like to sit and relax.
With that being said, bats can be beneficial and no doubt desirable to have in the landscape. And with the help of a good quality bat house, you can keep them away from your living areas but still on your property to reap the benefit of their insect eating habits.
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