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  • Bat Removal - Information about the humane trapping and removal of bats.

Bat Removal

Bat removal is a field of expertise for our field technicians. The work is often complex. Most bats in the US are protected by law. In addition, bats can squeeze through very small holes and gaps, as small as 3/8 of an inch, and bats usually enter via the most difficult to reach upper peaks of your roof. Doing a bat job correctly and legally requires a live exclusion of the bats. Every last entry gap and hole must be found, and sealed, while leaving some primary exit points open with the proper exclusion netting or devices appropriate to the architecture. The bats exit the house at night, as usual, through the one-way devices, and then cannot get back in. Attic cleaning is often recommended in the case of bat infestation.

COMMON PROBLEMS: Bats are good animals. It's just that, from time to time a colony (usually an all-female maternity colony of Little Brown Myotos, Big Brown Myotis, or Mexican Free-Tail Bats) will choose your house or building as a roosting site. Bats require specific conditions. They want to live in a hot, dry, place which is high enough off the ground to allow for flight clearance, and be safe from predators. Your attic is perfect! This would be okay, except that bats leave their droppings (guano) behind, and they live a long time, and stay in the same roost for decades, if possible. Thus, untreated, a colony of bats can grow to huge numbers. We have seen many cases of thousands of bats in a single colony. They most commonly cause these problems:

  • Buildup of guano (bat poop) inside the attic or walls or chimney.
  • Odor from the large colony of bats and their waste.
  • If the colony is large enough, noise is an issue.
  • Health concerns, such as rabies or histoplasmosis.

OUR BAT REMOVAL PROCESS: Luckily, the most effective means of removing bats from a building is also legal and safe for the bats - none are killed in the process. We perform a live exclusion. The bats fly out of your house every night for water and food, and thus we are able to install one-way exclusion devices that allow them to get out safely, but not fly back inside. This may sound simple, but there are many important considerations, such as:

  • The species of bat - different bats behave differently, fly differently, and relate to exclusion devices and techniques in different ways.
  • The architecture around the entry/exit holes - this will determine the devices used.
  • Size of the colony - this actually matters a great deal. Larger colonies are considerably more complex to deal with.
  • Number of entry points - some buildings are simple. Some are incredibly complex, with hundreds of entry areas.
  • The weather - this affects bat behavior, and whether or not an or all bats exit.
  • Not all bats leave each night, or at the same time. This affects the exclusion process.
And very importantly, take not of the time of year - no exclusions may be done during the maternity season, when the attic is full of flightless baby bats. Any exclusion attempts during this time result in disaster. This period varies by species, but for most north american bats, it is during the summer months, most typically late May through mid August.

OTHER BAT ISSUES: From time to time, we encounter problems with bats other than a maternity colony roosting in an attic of a building. Possibilities include:

  • A bat (or several) flying around inside the living space. Beware, this is almost ALWAYS a result of bats living in the attic or walls, which have crawled down into the living area. We can safely remove a bat in this scenario.
  • A bat has been found inside the house, and you fear rabies exposure.
  • A colony of bats living inside the chimney.
  • A colony of bats living somewhere in your external building architecture, such as tile roof, behind window shutters, etc.
  • Bat droppings scattered outside in an undesirable location.

ATTIC DECONTAMINATION & OTHER SERVICES: In most situations, it may be desirable to clean your attic after you've removed bats from the space. They can leave behind large amounts of droppings (guano), sometimes a foot or more deep. These remnants attract insects like cockroaches. The scent left behind is very strong, is unpleasant to you, and can encourage new bats to attempt to enter your house. It's possible or likely that mold will grow on the areas of feces and urine, and urine can damage wood or sheetrock. Some of the mold can potentially cause diseases that people can catch, such as histoplasmosis.

  • We remove or vacuum all droppings, or remove all the soiled insulation.
  • We fog the attic with a special enzyme-based cleaner that destroys any organic matter and deodorizes the space.
  • In severe cases, complete attic restoration is necessary, with complete insulation removal, wood repair, decontamination, and new insulation replacement.
There is no such thing as an effective bat repellent. Many companies sell the same product over and over (usually moth balls, sometimes mixed with coyote urine or sulphur), but marketed toward each possible nuisance animal, sold in containers labeled "Critter Out" or "Bat-A-Way" or "Squirrel Stopper", etc. Still others sell devices that emit high-pitch sounds, again marketed for all wildlife species. These products absolutely will not affect bat behavior. It is both illegal and incredibly messy, dangerous, and unethical to attempt to kill bats. I have seen some pest control companies treat a colony of bats like a colony of insects, and spray poison, or tent the building to kill them. This is horrible on many levels. First of all, the bats, once exposed to poison, will immediately crawl down the walls in an attempt to escape. If there are any openings into the living space, even 3/8", bats flood into the house. If they are killed, they rot in the walls, and create a terrible odor. Usually, not all of them will be killed. You will have sick, and/or aggressive bats in the area. Please do not attempt to kill bats. It is so much easier, and so much more effective to do a live exclusion. Not to mentionl legal, and ethical. Bats are good animals - there's a reason they are protected.
Here are specific step-by-step instructions for how to remove Bats in the Attic which is not an easy task.
Are bats dangerous to people or pets? Read my Are Bats Dangerous? page.
How To Get Rid of Bats - Tips and steps for getting rid of bats.
Bat in Your House - Tips on how to get a bat out of hour house.
Bat in the Chimney - Information about removing bats in a chimney.
Bat Box - should you build or install a place for bats to live?
Bat Maternity Season - the time of the year during which no bat exclusions should be performed.
Bat Prevention - Preventative methods for how to keep bats away from your property.
Diseases from Bats - Analysis of what kinds of diseases bats can carry and cause in humans.
Bat Feces - Pictures of bat poop and info about danger, and diseases from bat droppings.
How to Kill a Bat - Does poison work to kill bats? Is killing bats the best approach?
Bat Repellent - Analysis of various bat deterrents and repellent products.
How To Trap a Bat - Methods for catching bats in cage traps.
What Diseases to Bats Carry?

North American Bats Biology and Information
There are over forty-six species of bats in the United States with the Little Brown and the Big Brown in the north and the Mexican Freetail in the southwest, being the most common. These eco-friendly mammals are important to the balance of vegetation and insects and are protected in most states. Bats make up about 20% of all mammals and are needed for pollination and insect control. They are the only true flying mammal.
Biology - Most bats are nocturnal that come out right after sunset. The bats diet consists of insects although there are some bats that feed on fruit and berries. They hibernate in the winter during the cold and come out when the insects start arriving. Bats will not fly in the rain because it affects the sonar capability that they have in bred. Most bats can eat up to one third their body weights and consume hundreds of insects in one night. These mammals cannot see very well and use sound to hunt for their food while using their wings to catch their prey. They will then return to the roost to feed.
Life Cycle and Reproduction - A bat can live up to twenty years and usually will only have one baby a year, which keeps the bat population limited. The bats do have predators of hawks and falcons which also contribute to a slow population growth. Female bats can actually control their pregnancy timing and when their young are going to be born. They have an instinct for food supply and the ecological environment that determines when they will breed. The females will store the sperm from the male until conditions become more favorable to reproduction. Female bats will feed their babies, sometimes called pups, until they can fly which is usually two to four months after birth. Pups rely on the mother’s milk and after a few weeks are expected to hunt for their own food. Pups are born alongside other bat pups and will usually be kept together until they are old enough to leave the roost. The mother will always know where her pup is even within a colony by its sound and smell.
Habitat - Bats basically have two requirements for living, a place where they can sleep during the day or hibernate during the winter, and places where they can find food. Other than these two, they will find a place anywhere that there is shelter and plenty of insects. Their roosts or home is usually in caves, under bridges, or even attic if they are assessable. Bats are considered protected which means that you cannot harm a bat or its roost. Many places will make up bat houses to deter from using homes as a roost.
Common Disease These Animals Can Spread - The main concern with bats is rabies. They are about twenty-five percent of the wild animal life that carries this disease. But in contrast more rabies is transferred from bats to humans than any other species. Bats that are rabid usually cannot fly because they are sick themselves and it is best if a bat is found on the ground to walk away and call someone. The bats have also been known to carry SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Henipavirus. They have very small teeth that can bite, especially a sleeping person that can go undetected, so care should be given if bats are in the home. The guano or bat droppings can also be infected with fungi and can become a health hazard.
Common Nuisance Complaints - If there is a colony of bats within or around your home it is possible that you may get sick from their habitat. What will be discovered is the rancid odor from the guano which has an ammonia smell. The droppings, if they become thick will rot out a ceiling. Bats can also be noisy at night since they are nocturnal.
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