Bat removal: Got bats in your bell tower? Exclusion is the most humanitarian and legal method of removing them. Here’s how to do it.
We need bats, even though they frighten us. According to Bat Conservation International, about 1,200 mosquito-sized insects are eaten by bats per hour; some species of bats fertilize plants and feed on beetles that eat crops.
Even though our Carpenter Gothic house’s barge boards have cutouts of what can only be described as bats in flight, that doesn’t imply I wanted bats living in my attic.
Bats and the old insulation they had contaminated had to be removed before installing new insulation in the attic. It is unlawful to kill bats in the U.S. because they are valued and at risk from a new plague, White Nose Syndrome, spreading rapidly.
Getting Rid of Bats
Use Professional Bat Exclusion Services
Instead, the “exclusion” method is used to get rid of bats, which entails sealing the structure except for the main exits, which are fitted with one-way doors to allow bats to leave but prevent them from returning. So I turned to Jim Dressmaker of Westchester Wildlife, a wildlife control expert with 27 years of expertise and the creator of the bat cone, an exclusion device for professional bat exclusion and excellent bat education. He and Neal Trigger (seen above, from left to right) help us with our bat extermination effort.
Exclusion of Bats from Time Out
My “belfry” included a colony of little brown bats, which can develop to a population of a few hundred over time, leaving behind guano (excrement) pile that is harmless if left alone, but that, with time, generates an unpleasant stink.
We had a maternity roost perched on the beams where they met the chimney. But, again, timing is crucial when it comes to batting exclusion. During May through August, female bats give birth to one pup. (On the plus side, nursing mothers can consume as much as half their body weight in insects in a single day.)
The building’s exclusion must be done either in the spring when insects are present but before bat pups are born or as soon as possible after the young bats can fly, usually in the fall. Little brown bats migrate to caverns to hibernate in the winter before the first frost appears.
Fill Chimney Gap with Batc one
After watching bats soar out of an old brick chimney at dark, I had no idea how many bats were in the attic, but I did know which exit they preferred: a stone-capped corner of the chimney.
Bat removal: An inspection reveals that an area where the mortar had crumbled between the bricks is the principal exit point and the ideal spot for a bat cone, according to Jim. Plastic or acrylic, the tube-shaped device is easy to escape, but bats cannot reenter because of the tube’s downward inclination and slick surface. Before the hole is filled, the balconies are left in situ for a few days, even longer if the weather is terrible and the bats stay inside.
Put the Team in Their Place
A fungus that thrives in moist conditions can’t live in an attic colony; therefore, there is no chance of histoplasmosis, a lung ailment caused by bird and bat droppings linked to histoplasmosis.
The crew needs to be shielded from the dust and strands of insulation even yet. So Josh Dressmaker and Craig Conway donned Tyvek coveralls with attached booties, goggles, gloves, and HEPA face masks in preparation for vacuuming old cellulose insulation and guano.
A 13-horsepower gas-powered TAP vacuum (Thermal Acoustical Pest control) is the most efficient way to dispose of loose-fill insulation fast and thoroughly. Large reclaim bags are used to dispose of the garbage vacuumed up through a 6-inch-diameter hose from the attic to the vacuum cleaner.
Investigate every nook and cranny of the roof for signs of water damage.
Neal Trigger and Russ Howard inspect the roof’s ridgeline and the areas between clapboards and shingles for any holes or gaps that may have opened up over time. Josh and Craig vacuum the attic floor, sucking up not only insulation. And guano but also a defunct wasp’s nest and the remains of a nest of starlings.
This means that every possible entry point must be caulked except for the bats’ preferred exits that have been fitted with balconies. In Jim’s experience, silicone caulk is the most effective.
When applied, “it’s stable and has a body, so it’s simpler to apply, it dries transparent, so it disappears, and it stays flexible, so there aren’t any gaps open up due to shrinkage,” says the author.
For caulk to harden, it should be applied early in the day.
Glue the pro-cone to the eaves
While scanning the white clapboard for traces of bat urine and guano. Neal looks for minute brown streaks and microscopic black pellets that could be ignored. Balcones made for corners and angles are used to fill in gaps in irregularly shaped areas.
Neal strengthens the bat cone installation with hardware cloth and caulk to ensure no reentry points. In addition, wire cloth prevents squirrels and other rodents from gnawing through the bat proofing, even when bats do not.
An Attic Vent Screen
The crew discovered a colony of bats living in the vents of an attic. To fit an excluder, Russ cuts a piece of hardware cloth roughly the size of the circular duct.
A more finished screening will be put over the vent after the bottom louver damaged by birds has been replaced. So that bats will not be able to return to the vent. In addition, using galvanized hardware prevents corrosion and rust stains from forming in the future.
Deodorant with Enzyme Spray
Neal uses a hand-pumped sprayer to apply D-Polish after removing the previous insulation. Bat guano was the primary source of the stains and odors in this area. Enzymes break down the odor-causing agent in the mix.
There’s more to wildlife control than simply getting rid of the animal, says Jim. “I’ve used a wide variety of products. Since it was successful on skunk spray, I had a good feeling it would work well on bat stink.”
The scent attracts bats back to the roost; thus, getting rid of the smell is essential. To keep bats from returning to nests they’ve occupied for years, which they’re capable of doing for the rest of their lives, you must take every precaution.
Invest in New Insulation
Even D-orange Molisch’s aroma has disappeared. Neal begins installing new insulation between the joists after the old has been removed and decomposed. Using R30 Fiberglas insulation, he will lay down one layer, then add another layer laid in the other direction. A water-based sealer would have been sprayed onto wood joists and beams to obliterate any remaining odors before the insulation was installed.
Put up a Bat House in the chimney.
While it’s not uncommon for bats to roost in the same site year after year, it’s more likely that they’ll choose to stay there rather than in your house if you provide them with an alternative location.
Jim places a bat house as close to the old “bat entrance” as possible because of the bats’ homing abilities, leading them back to their favorite access points. For a bat house to be functional, it must be installed at least 15 feet above ground level. Despite its diminutive size, the cedar bat home may house a small colony of several hundred bats. We’ll know if the bats have accepted the bat house as their new home by the end of the year.