Are you wondering how to get rid of bats?
Bats really do have a bad reputation. Whether it’s due to creepy halloween myths, the association with vampires, or the age old tale that all bats carry rabies and attack people’s hair for no reason, many people just don’t like bats.
And for those who wind up with bats infesting their homes, the fear and anxiety surrounding bats can be heightened. That said, there is so much you may not know about bats, and if you do a little bit of research you may wind up changing your mind about these fascinating and highly beneficial creatures.
Of course, even then you probably don’t want bats roosting in your home or attic. Today’s article is going to cover not only how to get rid of bats in your home, but how to sustain bats near your property. Because trust us, once you’re done learning about bats, you’ll realize you do want them around your house, just not inside of it.
What Are Bats?
Bats are mammals, not rodents, as some mistakenly believe.
Many people wondering how to get rid of bats are under the assumption that bats are filthy, diseased creatures related to rodents and other vermin.
However, in spite of a common misconception, bats are not rodents and have absolutely no relation to mice or rats. In fact, bats are actually mammals of the order Chiroptera. They are the only mammal capable of actually flying. In many ways, they are even better flyers than birds, with stronger maneuverability and a talent for hunting at night using echolocation.
There are 1,200 different bat species in the world, but only 40 species live in the United States. And while there are so many species, the most common species of bat responsible for invading our homes are the little brown bat and the big brown bat, (both of whom weigh less than 0.62 ounces).
Bats live all over the world, save for some secluded islands and the antarctic. These are docile, beneficial creatures who typically roost in caves, abandoned mines, and other dark, sheltered spaces. In fact, most bat roosting colonies are protected by a number of states and conservation laws in the hopes of preserving bats, especially since they only breed once a year and usually only produce one pup.
Furthermore, while bats can carry some serious diseases, less than 1% of bats really do have rabies. Still, when bats invade our homes, attics, barns, or eaves to roost, they can cause serious structural damage. Worse, their guano and urine can lead to secondary health issues. For this reason, it’s important to try and recognize a bat problem in your home as early as possible and seek help immediately before their roosting spot becomes a roosting nursery.
But how do you know if you have a bat problem in your home and how do you get rid of bats once you have them? Let’s find out.
Bat Damage – How To Recognize A Bat Problem
Bats nest in attics and chimneys and can cause major problems for homeowners.
The first sign of a bat problem, according to experts, are signs of guano. Guano, or bat droppings, look similar to mouse or rat droppings as far as color and size. However, you can tell guano from rodent droppings upon taking a closer look.
While mouse droppings are typically about the size and shape of a grain of rice, guano is more misshapen and has bends, dimples, and lumps.
You may also recognize a bat problem in your home if you smell a foul odor, hear chirping around dusk or dawn that sounds similar to crickets, or find small openings around your home’s siding or roof. Bats’ wings also make noises as they flutter in and out of their roost to sleep.
If you think you may have discovered signs of bats roosting in your home, keep an eye on the sky at night. Bats leave their roosts every night around dusk to feed, and you may see more bat activity around your home during this time if you have bats roosting in your chimney, sidings, eaves, or attic.
The professional pest control expert in the below video further discusses how to tell if you have a bat problem in your home and how to get rid of bats safely.
How To Get Rid Of Bats – Three Popular Methods
There are three popular methods for bat removal.
Unlike many other pesky intruders, figuring out how to get rid of bats can be tricky due to bats’ breeding habits and the fact that many of their roosting spots become protected once they have pups.
In fact, many homeowners share stories of having to simply wait a bat infestation out before sealing up their homes for cleaning and repair. This is why it’s so important to be vigilant and try to catch a bat infestation early, so you can stop it before bats give birth.
Timing is also important for how to get rid of bats, and we’ll cover that more below. For now, we will take a look at a few of the most common methods for how to get rid of bats.
- Commercial Repellents / Preventative Sealants
- Home Remedies
- Professional Pest Control
You will notice that traps and poisons are not on the list of methods for how to get rid of bats and that’s for a couple of reasons. For one, traps are often ineffective in removing colonies, nor do real “bat traps” even exist. While some may promote “bat traps” for sale online, experts warn against them and their credibility or effectiveness.
Poisons don’t work either and are highly discouraged as a method for how to get rid of bats. Remember, bats are protected in many regions. Furthermore, poisons are often unnecessary. Bats only roost temporarily during breeding and while nursing. They also usually leave every night to feed. It is best to evict bats from your home using repellents or deterrents, then go about sealing up any entry and exit points to keep them from returning.
Now, let’s do a quick overview of the above popular methods for how to get rid of bats, and then we’ll take a look at some of the best products we recommend for bat removal.
How To Get Rid Of Bats Using Commercial Repellents and Preventive Sealants
Using repellents and sealants for how to get rid of bats is perhaps the most important method you can use as a homeowner. Why? Because these tools not only help to evict bats currently residing in your home, but they also help prevent bats from returning.
Bats can enter into homes through an opening as small as a dime, so even with proper home maintenance, it’s sometimes impossible to know where a crack or opening has formed. Repellents help to keep bats from entering, even if there’s a hole for them to enter through, and using sealants helps keep bats from being able to come back.
How To Get Rid Of Bats Using Home Remedies
Along with repellents and sealants to evict bats, you can make your own homemade bat deterrents. Bats are sensitive to light, sound, and smell. They like roosting in areas that are dry, dark, and quiet, and will often leave a roosting area that is not hospitable to them.
We will go over a few of the best home remedies you can use for how to get rid of bats further down.
How To Get Rid Of Bats Using Professionals
In most cases, calling a professional is necessary for dealing with a large bat infestation. While you can help keep bats at bay or often get rid of a single bat who has accidentally found her way into your home, getting rid of an entire colony, especially if it is a nursing colony, is difficult without help.
This is why most experts recommend staying vigilant if you live in an area that is rich with bat activity, as well as using repellents and deterrents throughout the year to help keep bats from roosting in your home.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how to get rid of bats using repellents and go over some of our favorite repellents below.
How To Get Rid Of Bats Using Commercial Repellents
Odor repellents are some of the best methods of removal for bats.
Commercial repellents may work well to prevent bats in the early stages of an infestation. We also recommend using bat repellents for how to get off bats even after the bats have left the premises. Some of our favorite products for how to get rid of bats using repellents are listed below.
Pest Control Ultrasonic Repellent
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One of the bat repellents we like for how to get rid of bats is an ultrasonic pest repellent plug in. It uses sound frequencies that irritate bats and other pests like spiders, bed bugs, snakes, ants, roaches, mice, and more.
This product is safe to use around people and pets. However, this method may need to be used along with a few other repellents, like odors and lights.
Bonide Bat Magic
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As we mentioned above, you may need to use a few different repellent methods together before you’ll be able to get the bats to leave your home. Another repellent we like is made by Bonide called Bat Magic.
This is an odor repellent that uses scent packs to help evict bats from your home. It is also safe, humane, and can be used around people and pets as it uses essential oils to repel the bats. Each order contains four scent packs and each pack reaches up to 150 feet.
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Most experts agree that mothballs work well to help repel and get rid of a colony of bats in your home. They use a very pungent odor that helps not only drive bats away, but also pests like roaches, mice, lizards, moths, bed bugs, and ants.
You can either hang mothballs in a cloth above entry and exit points or place them around your attic to help vacate the winged intruders.
Mothballs also work as a wonderful repellent to help keep bats from returning once they are gone, which we’ll talk about more further down.
Cleanrth Ultrasonic Bat Repellent
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We keep finding that ultrasonic pest control options can be hit or miss when it comes to how to get rid of bats, however this ultrasonic repellent had great reviews so we’ll add it to our list.
We like that this is specifically designed to repel bats, whereas many other ultrasonic repellent plug-ins are designed to get rid of a number of other pests. You can even set it to different modes so it can target different levels of an infestation.
If you are worried about none of these commercial repellents being strong enough to do the job, let’s take a look at some home remedies you can use for how to get rid of bats below.
How To Get Rid of Bats Using Home Remedies
Cinnamon is an excellent home remedy to get rid of bats.
As we mentioned above, bats are sensitive to sound, light, and strong odors. If you don’t want to use commercial repellents for how to get rid of bats, you can always make your own bat deterrents from ingredients you have in your kitchen or pantry.
Some of our favorite home remedies for how to get rid of bats include:
Bats are nocturnal and sleep during the day. Their eyes are sensitive to light, which is why experts say a good method of removal is to use a floodlight or powerful flashlight to help evict bats. Point light where the bats are roosting to ensure the space is brightly lit, and leave it this way for 24 hours a day for up to a week.
Many people have used mirrors when looking for how to get rid of bats. They use them in the same way others use strong lights, and position these mirrors in a way that they are reflecting daylight into the bats’ roosting spot. The bright light will help evict bats who are trying to sleep and lead them to look for another roosting spot.
- Aluminum Foil
Like mirrors, aluminum foil is reflective and will catch the light. You can hang strips of aluminum foil near entry and exit points anywhere you notice or fear you may have bats trying to roost. This method will help prevent them from roosting.
- Cinnamon And Water Spray
Bats are naturally repulsed by the scent of cinnamon, which is great news for humans, who tend to love the smell. Mix powdered cinnamon with water in a spray bottle and spray any area of your home you have noticed bat activity. You can continue to do this as often as needed, however we should note that this method will likely need to be used with other methods of bat removal.
- Essential Oil Sprays
Similar to cinnamon, bats are also repelled by the strong scent of many kinds of essential oils. The best oils to use for how to get rid of bats include eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil, mint oil, and peppermint oil. You can mix the oils of your choice in water and use this as a spray to help deter bats.
How To Get Rid Of Bats For Good – Best Products for Prevention
Repellents help to keep bats from becoming a problem in the first place
When considering how to get rid of bats, you should also consider how to keep them from returning. While bats only settle down about once a year so they can raise their young, they can still be problematic when they do and cause hundreds of dollars in structural damage.
This is what makes finding the best bat preventatives so important. Below are a few of our favorite bat preventatives to use for once you have figured out how to get rid of bats, as recommended by experts.
Woodlink Bat Shelter
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You may be surprised to learn that one of the best methods for how to get rid of bats and keep them from returning is to provide them with a better shelter than your home or attic. Since bats are such beneficial creatures to have hanging around your home as opposed to on or in it, a bat box or bat shelter makes sense.
Putting up a few bat shelters around your home will give bats a safe and comfortable place to roost that they will prefer over your home. It will not only keep them from trying to roost in your home or attic, but it will also help keep all those flying pests like mosquitos and other insects at bay.
Bird B Gone Shield
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Another preventive we like for how to get rid of bats is this shield by Bird B Gone. It is meant to help prevent the nesting of swallows and bats in attics, entryways, under eaves, and more. It works humanely and without harming the bats, but it will help to ensure they don’t find your home in particular a comfortable and safe roosting spot.
While this product is made for outdoor use to prevent bats from roosting around the perimeter of your home, it can help keep them from getting into your home by not allowing them close enough access to find cracks and crevices to slip into.
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As soon as you’re able to figure out how to get rid of bats and they evict your home, you will need to go about sealing cracks and crevices. One of the easiest and most effective tools you can use to keep bats from returning to your home is copper mesh, like the product above by Stuff-Fit.
Copper mesh is easy to use and manipulate and makes it simple for you to fill all types of holes and cracks around your home, roof, and attic.
Quick Tips – The Do’s And Don’ts Of Bat Removal
Bats are an important species and it is illegal in many states to kill them.
Having a bat infestation in your home can be seriously stressful, but it’s important to follow the rules when going about how to get rid of bats. Not only will this help you do the job successfully, but it will ensure you do not harm the bats.
Let’s take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts for how to get rid of bats.
How To Get Rid Of Bats – DO:
- Know when to evict the bats
The best time to evict bats is between late March to the end of April, and again at the end of August through September. The reason is because you don’t want to evict bats with newborns in the roost, as only the adults will go, which leaves their pups behind to die. You should also be careful of trying to get rid of bats from October through March because Big Brown Bats often hibernate in homes during this time, and you could unintentionally seal these creatures in and cause them to die inside your walls or attic.
- Evict the bats using humane repellents like odors, sound, and light
Bats are sensitive and are easy to drive out using humane methods like sounds, lights, and odors. The more intolerable you make the bats’ living conditions, the more quickly they will vacate the premises.
- Wait at least a week before permanently sealing entry and exit points
Use temporary sealants for at least a week in order to allow any straggler bats (bats who have stayed behind in your home) to exit. You can do this by using specially designed pipings and mesh that allow the bats out, but keep them from getting back inside. Once you are sure your home is completely bat free, seal all entry points permanently.
- Call a professional if you fear you cannot control your bat infestation
There are many pests you can easily get rid of on your own. Unfortunately, bats may not be one of them. If you have a major infestation or a colony with newborn bats inside your home, it’s time to consult with a professional.
- Wear protective gear once you’ve removed the bats and clean thoroughly
Remember, a bat’s guano and urine can carry serious diseases and lead to illness, breathing difficulty, and more. It’s important to wear protective gear when cleaning up after a bat infestation including gloves and masks.
- Offer the bats a safe place to roost outside of your home like a bat box
This is particularly helpful if you live in an area that is rich in bat activity or if you have suffered from a bat infestation several times. Bats like warm, dark, quiet places, and if you provide them a place that is better to roost than inside your home, they’ll take it.
How To Get Rid Of Bats – DON’T
- Attempt to evict bats during breeding season during May through August
If you attempt to evict a colony of bats who have newborns in the roost, you’re going to be in for a real problem. Newborn bats cannot fly and are completely dependent on their mothers. If you use bat repellents on a colony with newborn bats, you’ll only drive the adults away.
This will leave the newborns to slowly die, which is not only cruel but also illegal in many states. If you do have a nursing colony of bats in your home, consult with a professional.
- Use poisons or traps to eliminate the bats
Poisons and lethal methods for removing bats are not recommended and, in many cases, even illegal. Furthermore, using poisons may often only end up killing a few bats, which in turn could leave your house smelling awful and lead to a higher risk of illness for your family if you are unable to find the dead bats in your walls.
- Try to touch a bat with your bare hands
Bats do bite and, although rare, can carry diseases like rabies. Always try to keep your distance from bats and try to avoid having direct contact with them. If you do need to handle a bat, use thick, leather gloves and a towel.
- Harm or kill a bat if you catch one
Bats are generally not aggressive and prefer to keep to themselves. Over the years, myths and scary stories have led bats to develop somewhat of a sinister reputation. However, bats are highly beneficial and even protected in many states. If you come across a bat, simply find a safe way to capture and release it. If you feel you are dealing with a sick or strange acting bat, you should contact a professional immediately.
How To Get Rid Of Bats – When To Call A Professional
In some regions, removing a protected species of nesting bats is illegal without a licensed professional.
Because removing bats can be tricky and (in some states) even illegal depending on the time of year and species of bat, it might be wise to call a professional for help immediately.
There are a few exceptions to this recommendation, however.
First, if you’ve only encountered one bat and it is, for example, fluttering around in a panic inside your home, it may have flown in and gotten confused. You are likely just dealing with a lone bat who needs to be let out.
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed you have bats trying to make your home their home early on, setting up repellents and evicting them before they have their babies may save you from needing professional assistance.
That said, if you have found a colony of bats in your home and have seen lots of signs of guano, heard lots of noises, and smell a foul odor, you may have a large infestation and it will be time to call in the pros.
Another benefit of calling in professionals to deal with how to get rid of bats in your home is that bat cleanup can be dangerous to your health. A professional bat removal expert will be able to advise you of the damage caused and how to best go about cleaning up safely once the bats are effectively removed.
Tips On Preventing Future Bat Problems
Using repellents and ensuring you have sealed entry and exit points is the best way to help prevent bats.
Anyone who has ever dealt with a bat infestation will tell you it’s not a walk in the park. It is especially complicated considering the delicacy of bat removal and how careful you must be to get the colony all out together. In fact, and as we mentioned above, sometimes people find they must wait for the bat colony to vacate on their own before they are able to clean and seal up their property.
In order to prevent this from happening to you (or to prevent it from ever happening to you again) it is important to implement some preventative measures once you have figured out how to get rid of bats for good.
Some of the best preventative methods according to experts are listed below:
- Seal any entry points
Once you know the bats have been effectively evicted, it’s time to make sure they can’t return again. If you know where the bats have entered your home from, target that area first and seal it off. Then do a once over of your home to ensure there are no other entry points where bats can find their way in.
- Bat proof the perimeter of your home
Along with sealing off all entry points, cracks, and crevices to ensure bats can’t find their way into your home, it’s also important to keep bats away from the perimeter of your home.
While it is nice to have bats hanging around outside and in your yard at night (so they can catch all the pests) you still don’t want them nesting on your porch and under eaves. Install bat-proof repellents that will keep them from finding a comfortable place to land.
- Continue using repellents
We also recommend that you continue using repellents to help keep bats from returning. Whether you choose to leave some mothballs in your attic or you opt to continue using an ultrasonic pest repellent plug in, you’ll sleep easier knowing you still have protection and are continuing to make your home an undesirable place for bats to roost.
- Provide bats a bat box or bat shelter away from your home
If you live in an area where bats are highly active, it may be time to install a bat box. This not only helps keep bats out of your house, but it also keeps bats near enough to help control other pests, so it’s a win-win for everyone!
- Reduce the bat’s food source around your property
If you really want to keep bats away, remember they are attracted by two things – shelter and food. Along with sealing your home to ensure they can’t get in, another method for how to get rid of bats and keep them from coming back is to remove their food source.
Some bats prey on insects while others prefer fruit and flowers. That said, the most common bats to infest homes eat insects. The best way to keep these bats from hanging around your property is to implement other pest control remedies to keep insects away.
We hope this article has been helpful and that you now have a better idea of how to get rid of bats in your home safely and effectively.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.