Bat Exclusion Material
While bats fly, that’s pretty much where their similarity to birds
ends. Leaving the roost, they scuttle to their preferred opening,
crawl out, drop a bit, spread their wings and they’re off, flapping
and soaring, wheeling and diving and dramatically reducing your
mosquito and flying bug population.
Useful or not, you’ve decided that the bats in the attic have to go.
Your first step is to find the holes and cracks in your structure
through which they leave and reenter. The best way to do so is to
observe them as they come out to feed at nightfall. Then, you first
must close off their egress/entry point with an excluder that allows
them out and prevents their reentry. Meanwhile, you should also
survey the building to assure there are no alternative outlets.
The exclusion process usually entails a trip to the hardware store
to pick up supplies, such as soft window screen, clear plastic or
metal mesh netting, as well as a tube or two of caulking.
Bats that take up residence in houses usually are small, weighing
only one or two ounces, so the screen should have openings of only a
quarter-inch or so, small enough that the animals can see through
but which does not represent an obstruction to their exit. If they
feel blocked in, they won’t go out.
Cut the mesh/netting to a size wide enough to cover the access hole,
shaping it so that it allows the bats to emerge easily, climb out
and fly away. Staple or tack the mesh in place on the top and on
both sides, with a couple of feet of the netting extending down
loosely, allowing the bats out but preventing them from flying back
in. Finish the job by caulking any openings in the rest of the
building that the bats could use to return.
You can also use the screening material to create a different form
of exclusion device: a funnel. With the large end tacked in place
over the bat’s exit hole, the animal can emerge from the small end
but can’t re-enter. A plastic water bottle, open at both ends, can
work in the same way, and variations on this technique, called
batcones, are commercially available.
Experts advise leaving the exclusion devices up for several days,
monitoring them at night and at dawn to check their effectiveness.
Listen for chirping inside and once you’re sure the bats are gone,
close and seal the holes. The process should also involve compassion
and common sense: don’t close the holes with some of the creatures
still inside, leaving them to suffer, die, and ultimately, to stink
up the attic.
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