There is little in nature more invigorating than watching bats flutter about at dusk, occasionally “dive-bombing” the insects that annoy us so much. Bats are the best insect control there is, eating up to 600 mosquitoes each in an hour. It sounds good right? Yet very few of us are willing to let bats make their homes in our homes, apartments, or other buildings. And why is this?
Unlike mice, bats do not chew holes in buildings. They really don’t have to! It takes a space less than an inch wide for a bat to easily come in or out of a building. So holes to the roof or walls are not damage caused by bats. Rather, there are more insidious risks of bats inhabiting our spaces.
The types of damage bats can do to a building are basically three:
- Spread of Disease. Bats, like other animals, can carry rabies. And although bats rarely bite humans, the risk of bat bites frightens us away from areas inhabited by bats. Along with the risk of rabies, bat guano carries the spores for Histoplasmosis, a disease mainly affecting the lungs of people, especially those with immunity disorders, the elderly, and the very young.
- Introduction of Bat Mites. Bat mites, often mistaken for bed bugs, will often make humans their new hosts. Insect exterminators, sometimes mistaking these for bed bugs, will treat a building, only to be called back time and again because the bugs were killed, but with the presence of bats, new ones took their place and the infestation began anew.
- Structural Damage. As we noted above, bats do not chew on buildings. However, their guano and urine will accumulate over time, resulting in waste dripping through ceilings, ruining insulation, and soaking through sheet rock or particle board, eventually causing the interior of the structure to collapse.
The three hazards add up to one thing: property devaluation. Tenants will quickly move out of a building just knowing there are bugs, bats, or the odor of the bat urine and guano. Buyers will be unlikely to take a second look at a building stained with bat guano, knowing that it is expensive and time-consuming to remove the bats and their droppings, as well as repair the damage done.
The damage caused by bats can be horrendous. But to allow the bats to continue to devalue the property is probably the worst decision an owner can make. He should take action as soon as bats are suspected, thus alleviating the problem and keeping the cost of remediation minimal.
There are only a few ways to deal with bats and the problems they cause:
Ignore the problem hoping it will go away. We’ve already pointed out that is the worst choice because bats will not go away. Instead, they will proliferate and cause more damage over the years.
Try to handle the bats yourself. We highly recommend that you avoid this. If you must, please keep the following in mind: Bats are legally protected. Killing them can result in large fines. Possibly as many as one percent of bats carry rabies. Bats mouths and teeth are very small, and a bite mark may not be detected. Any contact with bats should be treated as a possible exposure to rabies. (Rabies shots can cost up to $3500 per person depending on the state). Bats are persistent, driven by instinct. If you exclude them effectively, they will try to find their way back in over the next several nights – please be aware of windows that are not properly screened. Even a professional exclusion, performed by a technician with years of experience, can result in bats ending up inside the building or house. Also, remember some bats do migrate – other species hibernate in their nest. Sealing up your house in late fall after you think they’ve migrated should only be done if the species has been confidently identified. Otherwise, you and the bats will have a surprise next spring.
Call in a local pest control company. It is possible that your local pest control company does some bat work ‘on the side’. Bat exclusion is a very specialized niche – much different from regular pest issues. To safely and properly handle bat work, a company must work from ladders and/or man lifts. Knowledge of construction standards and codes is important to prevent sealing up areas incorrectly that allow a building to vent properly. The personnel working with the bats should be protected with rabies shots. And finally, bats are wild, persistent animals. There is no substitute for experience.
Call a professional bat control company. This is the most logical route to go. A professional in this area will know just how to find the holes bats use. He will then exclude the bats by inserting specially designed “doors” in the holes that allow the bats to leave, but not re-enter. After a few days, when he is sure the bats are all excluded from the building, he will close up all the holes so that the bats (and any other creatures looking for a cozy home) will not be able to enter. At that point, clean up of guano and urine and the control of the bat mites can be completed, making the area available and safe for removal and repair of any damaged property.
By calling in a bat control professional, the owner has saved the hassle and expense of hiring exterminators (whose work did not address the entire problem), the risk of employees being exposed to disease, and additional expense of further property devaluation.
Your Local Bat Removal Expert,
Tim M Munneke
November 14, 2021 |
Bat colony under a tile roof 100-200 bats...the roofing paper should be changed correct? Before sealing up? Best, Tim
November 15, 2021 |
With that many bats, there will be a mess under those tiles. It is impossible to know how much damage is done without pulling off the tiles, but I agree with your assessment the paper is probably compromised.
April 13, 2021 |
Iam buying a house in Phoenix Arizona, we did an inspection and found two areas The present of bats are, How much damage usually they cause, amount of time to get rid of them and would they come back again?
April 13, 2021 |
Hi, damage varies because of all the variables: size of colony, length of time they've been there, where they are roosting, etc. If the exclusion is done properly, the bats will leave to eat at night and not be able to get back in. And if the exclusion is done correctly, they will not be able to re-enter. Even so, it is wise to hire a company that offers a warranty on their work. Also, make sure the company does not trap bats in or preform the exclusion during maternity season when mothers could get separated from their pups.
May 26, 2020 |
We just discovered that we have bats in our attic - will all of our belongings that we keep up there be ruined?
May 26, 2020 |
Hi, I'm sorry that you're dealing with bats in your attic. Bat guano and urine has a very strong scent, some people compare it to an ammonia smell. I would be worried about your belongings because it will be hard to get the smell out once it's there. But also of concern is your family's health if the guano is permitted to accumulate over time. If you would like more information about how to humanely exclude the bats from your home or more information about histoplasmosis, please call our customer service agents at 877-264-2287.
May 16, 2020 |
We live in central illinois. We saw at least 20 bats flying out of our attic gable vent. We have always noticed a high number of bats in our general sky area since buying the house in 2010, but had NO idea they lived in my attic until yesterday. I have had cracking in the ceiling plaster, below the attic, for quite a while could the bats have been living there longer than us (2010). Any advice is welcome!
May 19, 2020 |
It sounds like you have a very established colony. If you call our customer service number (877-264-2287), we can give you a free consultation. You likely have quite a buildup of guano (10 years+) and this could start to affect your health, so you should have the bats excluded, but you'll need to work around maternity season. We can help you with the details so please call at your convenience.
January 7, 2020 |
I am considering buying a home that had a bat infestation in the attic. The bats have been removed & the property was cleaned up. The old attic insulation was removed & replaced. How can I be sure it is safe to live in with no hazards to our health?
January 7, 2020 |
Hello, we recommend asking them some questions, like: Is there still a warranty on the work performed by the bat company? If so will they transfer it to the new home owner? (They often will for a small cost) you may pay the company to come back if their warranty is expired and inspect the property again. Bats are very determined to get back into the spot where they were born so they may find a way back in, in the future, unless you stay on top of the problem. If it was cleaned up properly, there should be very low risk of histoplasmosis. For more information: www.getbatsout.com/bat-guano-dangerous/
May 22, 2019 |
Just curious, knowing what you know about bats, would there ever be a situation where you would encourage a bat colony to take up residency? If so, what would the safety-to -humans & pets animals involve? What would be the scenario needed to encourage and facilitate a bat colony to be established on a property you might own? Could a 100 foot long defunct hollow concrete industrial stack be used to attract a bat colony? What problems would the bat urine/guano cause?
May 23, 2019 |
We would never encourage a bat infestation in a human occupied structure whether that's a house, barn, commercial building, or anything else. That said, many of our customers don't want the bats to completely leave the area. They are wonderful for insect control and some species in the south are pollinators. An accumulation of bat urine and guano can cause a myriad of problems. Everything from an unpleasant odor to structural damage to a serious health hazard called histoplasmosis. For more information on attracting bats, I would visit the Bat House Forum here: http://www.bathouseforum.org/
September 1, 2018 |
Is it illegal in indiana to have black bats be infested in your home all in the ceiling a.d the walls
September 3, 2018 |
I'm not 100% sure I understand your question. An infestation itself is not illegal. How you take care of the problem does have legal guidelines that have to be followed. You can't kill the bats, they have to be humanely excluded. If you are a renter and asking if a landlord has a legal liability to take care of the problem for you, then the answer is yes. Maybe call my customer service and discuss more in detail what you are asking? The number is 877-264-2287.
September 1, 2018 |
If I buy a house for nine million dollars. Then on getting the keys found out that one side is filled with bats in the roof. Does that devalue the house? Secondly can I sue?
September 3, 2018 |
Just having bats may not devalue the property. They could be causing property damage though which obviously would. I'm not an attorney, but I do know some states have laws regarding these situations. If the seller knew there were bats, they have a legal liability to disclose it in your contract. The hard part with these situations is that to sue, you have to be able to prove they knew about the bats. Talk to your real estate agent and ask them for the name of a good real estate lawyer. Call our customer service at 877-264-2287 and we'll have a tech come do an inspection.
April 11, 2018 |
We may have bats in our rental property and were told that we can't do anything to get them out from from April 13 - August 13. Is this the case? Also, the insurance may not cover any of the damages if there are any, any suggestions regarding outlets for this type of situation.
April 11, 2018 |
Unfortunately, I can't answer that. Regulations, and whether or not they are enforced, are entirely based on where you live. There is no where that begins their black out period before April 15th, however. Are you referencing your renters insurance not covering your belongings that are damaged? We have worked extensively, and with much success, with homeowners insurance to get building repairs and cleanup done, but we have never worked with renters insurance. Email our commercial specialist (rentals fall under commercial properties) at firstname.lastname@example.org and give more details about your situation if you would like more specific answers. Sorry I couldn't get you more now!
March 6, 2018 |
Found bats in our attic yesterday. Live near Hammond in Louisiana. Do you service this area?
March 9, 2018 |
We certainly do. We are nationwide and serve the entire continental US. Please call our customer service at 877-264-2287 and they'll set one up for you.