Bats in the attic; How to deal with bats in the winter time

I just had the privilege to talk to someone on the phone about her bat problem and I have had similar conversations in the recent past so I figured it was worth a post. How do you get rid of bats? I have bats in my attic, do you remove them? I get the questions all the time. Bats are more common than you think and since the smaller bats can fit through 3/8 of an inch, most homes are susceptible to a bat infestation. I guess the answer is it depends. Keep reading to see what it depends on.

Bats are a very beneficial species. They feed off of bugs and flying insects, a large portion of them are mosquitos. For a small animal they have a very low reproductive rate. Female bats raise one baby called a pup a year. There are some local species of bats that are endangered and bats across the country are dealing with a disease from Europe called White Nose Syndrome that is seeing massive die offs. However, just because they are beneficial does not mean that they should cohabit with people. Some bats carry rabies, parasites and their feces is a breeding ground for histoplasmosis, which is a fungal disease which when contracted has symptoms similar to pneumonia.

The most effective (and also happens to be the most humane) method of dealing with bats is to exclude them. Through the use of bat cones or valves, which are basically one way doors installed where the bats are entering and exiting a building, bats are “excluded.” No human needs to touch a bat, making this safe. It is also humane as no bats are injured or killed in the process. They simply leave and when they return are unable to get back in so they go find some place else to live.

Bats in the attic
Photo credit: cursedthing / Foter / CC BY-ND

Now back to dealing with bats in the wintertime. Bats hibernate during the winter. For exclusion to be effective it requires the bats to leave for them to not be able to come back, but they are not leaving they are sleeping. Potentially, there could be a warm up where the bats do become active and may become excluded but in the middle of winter, with no insect supply and no protection from the elements they would starve or freeze to death. Between the ineffectiveness of exclusion during the winter and the lethality of the exclusion process during the winter time if it does work it is just a better practice to wait until spring time. While not illegal to exclude bats during the winter it is unethical. As a side note, most states do have a blackout period during the summer time when mothers are raising pups that it is illegal to exclude bats.

Most people are unaware that they may have lived with bats in their attic for months. A few more weeks until springtime won’t hurt as long as they are not entering living space where humans are. If you do find a bat in your living space call us for bat control wildlife professional who can remove it and set it free or get it tested for rabies depending on the situation. While a bat set free will probably die, when the safety of people are concerned it is an acceptable loss.

Get rid of bats immediately. If you do hear scratching and think you may have bats in the attic you can call us. We will come out, do an inspection and verify that it is bats and not a squirrel or raccoon. If it is bats we can answer any questions you might have, make a game plan and schedule you for this spring. Our number is 219-464-7966 in Indiana and 708-320-0004 in Illinois.

Bats in the attic; How to deal with bats in the winter time
Illiana Wildlife Services – Indianapolis
(317) 203 – 6083