A bat roosting in a crack of a building

How to Get Rid of Bats

If you’re reading this, you have likely found bats in your commercial or residential property or suspect your building may have a bat problem. You can attempt the removal yourself or hire a professional bat removal company.  In this post, we will advise how to get rid of bats, whether you are personally doing the removal or hiring a professional bat removal company. 

How do you know if you have a bat colony in your property? 

If a tenant has reported a sighting of a single bat, you may need to discern whether this was a one-off incident or your property is housing a bat colony. There are three main signs that a bat colony is living in a home:

1. A bat has been found – Bat colonies usually roost in high-up places such as attics. Occasionally, finding a bat in a house is an isolated incident, but it usually means bats live in the building. Bats do not generally travel alone; they live in colonies ranging in size from around twenty to as many as thousands of bats!

Four bats in the rafters of a house

2. Sounds of scratching or squeaking in walls – You may occasionally hear bats during the daytime if they are disturbed by loud noises. However, they usually make noise in the evening when leaving the roost to feed and returning at dawn.

3. Bat guano (droppings) – Guano will usually be around the roost’s entrance. These droppings can build up on walls, windows, porches, and other areas where bats enter. Check the window sills, exterior walls, and the ground around the house for guano, which looks like a larger version of mouse droppings.

Bat guano along the walls and floor of an attic

If you have concerns about a property you manage, or a tenant has reported suspicions, you could do a “bat-watch,” around twilight, outside the property. If you have a colony of bats inside your property, you will see them leaving at night to go and feed. 

Pro-tip for a twilight watch – Bats do not have to leave their roost every night; they can go multiple days without going out, so plan to watch a few nights in a row and have enough help so you can view all sides of the house.

a couple watching outside their house to check if they need help with bat removal

Before you start the bat removal process

If you have confirmed that bats are living on your property, there are essential factors to consider before removing them or hiring a company to exclude them. 

Many bat species are federally protected, and many states have bat protection laws. Therefore, you can’t treat their removal like other “pests,” and it may be illegal to kill them depending on the State. Removing bats during the maternity season can also be illegal, as bat mothers and pups are especially vulnerable and may not survive outside the roost. 

At Get Bats Out, we understand all US laws regarding bat removal since we have technicians in all states. Therefore, any professional bat removal company should be well aware of these legalities. However, if you hire a “handyman” or general “pest control” company, they will likely have little specialized knowledge regarding bats. Therefore, we recommend you meticulously research your state’s laws before they start the bat removal. Of course, the same applies if you are doing the work yourself. Once you are well aware of the laws in your state and are confident you can legally exclude the bats, you or the person you have hired should carefully follow the five steps listed below. 

How to get rid of bats – 5 steps to follow 

To get rid of bats, you will need to follow these five steps:

Step one: Find the Entrance. 

Identify bat entry and exit points. One of the most apparent indicators is guano. If you find bat droppings on a window sill, look straight above; there will probably be a hole in your house, which is a bat entry point. It may be small – bats can squeeze through tiny gaps, as small as of an inch! Bats are dirty and oily, so the hole will likely have some brown streaks around it. As suggested previously, you can also try watching your house in the early evening, around dusk, and take note of where you see bats leaving the house.

bat hanging from a deck

Step two: Bat-Proofing

“Bat proof” all of the house except for the holes the bats use. You can use caulk, grout, wood, or expanding foam. As soon as the usual entry point is sealed, bats will look for a new way to return to their roost. Therefore, you must inspect and seal all of the exteriors of your house. Pay extra attention to the roofline and higher points of the house. The bats may have more than one entrance into your home, and there could even be a secondary colony. Therefore, you should listen and look for any signs of bats, such as squeaking, guano, and staining.

Local bat removal technician bat-proofing a property

Step Three: One-Way Door 

Once you have bat-proofed the rest of the building, install a one-way door over the bat’s primary entrance and any holes you think are additional entrances. You can make these one-way doors by creating a temporary “curtain” of plastic or netting over the hole. The device should be attached above the bat’s entrance and hang a couple of feet past the entrance. Secure the sides of the device so they won’t blow up in the wind, but do not stretch them too tightly, as the bats could become trapped inside. Leave the bottom of the “curtain” open to allow bats to exit. 

Step Four: Wait and Observe 

The bat colony will go outside to feed and drink at night. Wait a few nights to ensure all bats leave. Bats may not leave if there is heavy rain or icy weather, so you may need to wait longer if the weather is bad. If the exclusion device comes loose, bats will be able to get back in; therefore, check daily that the bat exclusion device is still in place.

A bat exclusion device on a property

Step Five: Seal It Up 

Finally, remove the exclusion devices and seal the holes. You should only do this when you know the bats have gone. Any bats still inside the home will be trapped once you have sealed up their entry point. If they cannot find another exit point, they will die inside the property, causing a foul smell as their bodies decompose. If vents are blocked up, this could cause a fire risk; be careful not to obstruct vents or chimneys.

Residential Pennsylvania bat removal

Will you need rabies shots?

Before you take the above steps to get rid of bats, you should consider your rabies status. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rabid bats have been discovered in all 49 continental States. Although many bats are healthy, sick bats are found every year. Therefore, rabies is always a risk when you have had contact with bats. According to the CDC: “Recent data suggests that transmission of the rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites from bats. Human and domestic animal contact with bats should be minimized, and bats should never be handled by untrained and unvaccinated persons or kept as pets.”

Therefore, before attempting to remove bats, you should contact a medical professional and discuss the type of rabies shots you require. There are two different types of rabies shots:

  • Pre-exposure Rabies Shots – This is the less expensive option (usually around $1000 for the series of three shots). All of our bat removal technicians have their shots and timely boosters when needed. 
  • Post-exposure Rabies Shots – If you have already come into contact with a bat, you may require post-exposure shots. These are more expensive; the cost will vary depending on where you receive treatment and the supply status. Including rabies shots and hospital fees, the price can average between $12,000 to $15,000, although people have reported costs of over $30,000!

Clearly, it is better to ensure you are vaccinated before attempting bat removal and if you have had contact with a bat, get a medical consultation immediately. 

a woman receiving a rabies shot to her arm after bat exposure

How to get rid of bat guano?

Where bats have been living in your property, they will inevitably leave behind guano. Your first reaction may be sweeping it up, but bat guano should be approached cautiously. Fungal spores called Histoplasma can grow in accumulations of bat guano. When piles of guano are disturbed, these spores are released into the air, and if we breathe them in, we are at risk of developing a respiratory disease called Histoplasmosis. The symptoms of this disease are similar to many other respiratory viruses and include fever, cough, fatigue, and chest pain. For some patients, this disease can have long-term debilitating effects on their lungs and other organs. 

Clearing up small amounts of bat guano is safe, provided you treat it with fungicide or bleach first and wear a respirator when sweeping it up. A respirator with the correct level filter is required for fungal spore protection – a light dust mask will not do the job. For larger piles of guano, we recommend you contact a professional company with experience in guano clean-up

A bat removal specialist performing guano removal

Histoplasmosis Fungal Spore Testing

It’s impossible to tell if a pile of guano contains Histoplasma just by looking at it. The only way to determine if there are harmful spores is by getting the guano lab-tested. We can take samples and get these tested for fungal spores in the guano. If Histoplasma is present, we recommend a deep decontamination of the attic and other contaminated areas inside the building. We offer histoplasmosis remediation work as a service alongside bat removal or on its own. Get Bats Out technicians use industrial vacuums with HEPA high-efficiency filters, and we treat the guano first to reduce the risk of spreading spores. We wear PPE, including a full-face respirator mask with filters measuring one micron, eye protection, and disposable protective clothing. Once the guano is removed, we treat the area to kill any harmful spores left. Contact us for more information on histoplasmosis testing and guano clean-up. 

How get bats out can help you

Get Bats Out is a full-service bat removal company. A qualified technician will perform a thorough property inspection before giving you a quote and scheduling your work. This inspection costs $295, which will go towards the overall cost if you use our bat removal services. We will inspect the property, take photos, and use this information to determine a plan for excluding the bats, what equipment will be needed and whether we need to be aware of any structural issues. 

When excluding the bats, we will ensure your whole property is bat-proofed before beginning the installation of exclusion devices. In addition, we will clean up after ourselves and, if you choose, can perform guano clean-up and odor mitigation. Even if you decide to use another company for the clean-up, we will still advise you of any parasite or histoplasmosis concerns. 

Bat removal specialists on ladders and man-lift

From the outset, we can provide expert advice on communicating with your home insurance company. Alternatively, we have insurance coordinators who can negotiate with your insurance company for you. 

We will also inform you of the health risks and whether you need medical advice. As mentioned, this includes carrying out histoplasmosis testing.

Is it worth performing a bat colony removal yourself?

There are several things to consider when performing a bat exclusion. There are benefits of doing the work yourself. You will not need to wait for a company to assess your property, prepare a quote and schedule the work; you can start the project immediately. You will save on the costs of paying a professional company.

On the other hand, by performing the bat exclusion yourself, you are at risk of contracting diseases such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Therefore, you will need to do extensive research and take precautionary steps, such as purchasing PPE and getting rabies shots, which can be costly. In addition, bat-work will include working at high elevations, often on the roof of your building. Again, this can present the risk of injury, and you may have to buy or rent special equipment to carry out this work safely.  

When carrying out a bat exclusion yourself, you must cover every square inch of your home. If the bat exclusion fails, you could make the infestation worse. In addition, you will have no warranty on your work; therefore, if your attempt is unsuccessful, all the time and money you spend will be lost.

Pros and Cons of having a professional bat removal company perform the work

The pros of hiring a professional bat removal company include the following:

  • Trained and experienced local technicians will perform your work. 
  • Correct up-to-date vaccinations – all Get Bats Out technicians are rabies vaccinated.
  • Professional Tools and Equipment for the project – You will not need to purchase equipment. Instead, professionals use high-quality equipment that has been tested and has proven effective in small to large-scale commercial and residential jobs. 
  • Warranty provided against reinfestation/work failure. Bats are unpredictable and tenacious; they will try to get back to their roost and can squeeze through tiny gaps, so not even an expert can promise you that bats will not appear again. That’s why professional bat removal companies provide a warranty so that you are guaranteed prompt help should there be a re-infestation. This can give you confidence that hiring them will not waste your time and money.
  • Bat removal technicians will continue troubleshooting until confirmation that all bats are excluded.

The cons of hiring a professional bat removal company are:

  • Expense – The cost of hiring a professional bat removal company will reflect the quality of work done by highly skilled, qualified technicians, specialized equipment, and insurance cover for dangerous work at heights. Of course, the costs of hiring a professional company should be weighed with the costs of purchasing equipment yourself and potential property damage and harm to self should a DIY exclusion fail. 
  • Timing – Your bat exclusion may have to be scheduled during peak bat season; therefore, you may have a longer wait than if you decide to undertake the work yourself. In peak bat season, we work on a first-come, first-served basis unless there is a clear danger to human life, i.e., bats gaining entry to the living space of a home or building.  

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand what steps are essential for successful bat removal and the pros and cons to consider regarding a DIY approach and hiring a professional. For more information about removing bats and what to be aware of when hiring a professional company, download our e-book “A Complete Guide to Bat Removal.” Contact us today if you have any questions or want a free bat removal consultation.

complete guide to bat removal ebook

Your Local Bat Removal Specialist,

Michael Koski

Get Bats Out Owner and President Michael Koski

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