Monday, May 05, 2008

Bats in Our Belfry

It looks like we may have bats living in the attic of the new house. We were out there yesterday and saw a bat, in the middle of the day, flying around one of the ponds. Rob and the kids observed it go into a hole under the eaves of the house.

My friend Sheila was there, helping me plan wallpaper removal and paint colors. She told me the story of her uncle who had hundreds of bats living in his attic. Creepy!

Then I mentioned the bats to another friend and she related a story similar to Sheila's! Way too creepy!

Now, at first, Rob was excited to see a bat. After all, they eat lots of insects. With a creek, 2 ponds, and some marshy area, I'm sure the insects will be killer this summer. But, the bats will need to find a new home. I'm not too keen on sharing my house with them.

Fortunately, it's a fairly easy problem to solve. You cover the hole(s) into the house with wire mesh, taping it with duct tape on three sides. The bats are able to get out through the side without the tape, but cannot get back in.

And, being the wacko environmentalist types we are, we'll put some bat houses around the property so that the little bats have a place to go.

Being homeschoolers, we'll have to turn this into a bat unit study!


drewann said...

We had the same issue and used the same method for removal. Within two weeks all the bats had left the house. I remember telling a local that we had a few bats and she smiled knowingly at me. We had at least 100- we counted them at night leaving the attic!
Good luck.

Frances said...

How fascinating! Thank you for sharing the educational links - I definitely learned something new today. :)

MacBeth Derham said...

Nice! I like it when the nature study comes to you! Still, the concentration of bat guano under the roof could be unhealthy. 8-P

Candlestring said...

You might find it interesting to know there is a small town in Montana called Belfry. Their school mascot? A bat!

rob w said...

Husband Rob here. Actually it wasn't an eave but the side (vertical) wall of a roof overhang. And it wasn't a hole as much as a thin horizontal crack that the bats apparently formed. Amazing creatures to be able to fly right through such a narrow space. I could hardly believe my eyes!

Anonymous said...

Be careful with bats. We had to have someone come in and removed them and professionally remove the bat guano. It can be toxic. We've had bats in 2 of our houses-and in this house we had a professional build special screens to go over things on the outside. Bats can squeeze through small holes (you probably already know that) and we put screen on the inside of the attic and then the bats lived in the eves on the outside-they could squeeze between the planks (not sure this is building a good mental picture)

N95 masks are important when dealing with the droppings and they need to be removed by "wet" removal so as not to spread any toxins.

Be sure to look up the laws in your state. Here in NC there is a period between June and September that you are not allowed to tamper with the bats home or remove them from yours because of mating season. Of course, I am not a lawyer-but the guy who helped us here told us this-he is a wildlife expert and an expert in bat removal. He loved bats! Our house is 3 stories high and we needed a cherry picker to get to where the bats were (see why we hired someone!? LOL)

Here is a good site:

Bat guano is very dangerous to humans if it is touched, ingested and especially if the dust from dried bat guano is inhaled. Inhaling dried bat guano spores can lead to a deadly disease called Histoplasmosis. This would
be most likely to occur when sweeping up dried bat guano in an attic without proper safety equipment. The Centers for Disease

God bless you today. May He make you a blessing to others!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great links -- I appreciated being better educated on these creatures. There's lots of misconceptions out there about bats: just want to reiterate about cleaning up after bats. I"m a real estate agent and bats in the attic are a huge problem, especially the guanno. You need a professional exterminator to do the cleanup, then have every possible entrance into the space covered w/mesh screens. Bats are terrific in the great out-of-doors, but do not mix well w/people. When I represent buyers, we always insist that the seller exterminate and provide us w/written confirmation from a certified company. If I represent the sellers, I recommend they do everything possible to clean up and eliminate the bats from the dwelling prior to placing the house on the market becuase the buyers can demand remediation based on health & safety concerns.

Anonymous said...

When I was 12 years old we lived in a house with bats in the attic. I awoke one night with one flying around in my room. My dad captured it (with a tennis racket and a large shoe box!) and animal control came and got it the next day. It was observed for a period of time for signs of rabies. It did not have rabies so I did not need shots.

Apparently if a bat bites you while you're sleeping you may not know it since their teeth are razor sharp and the bite painless. You may never see the bite if it is on your scalp. So, if you awake to find a bat in your room -try to capture the bat! BTW, most bats are not rabid.

Anonymous said...

After all that has been said, if you ever do find a bat in the living part of your house, please have it tested for rabies. My nephew and his wife live one county north of you (Clinton) and when they found a bat in their house last year almost didn't have it tested until they heard someone else nearby had one tested and it came back positive. Theirs was the ninth bat tested in Clinton County last summer to come back positive for rabies. And that was only about halfway through the summer. Luckily E, who was pregnant, had had the shots before because of her job and only needed a booster, but B had to get the whole series. They had no idea how long the bat had been in the house or where it had been so they decided to play it safe. Once there are symptoms, it's too late for the vaccine and there's no treatment for rabies.