Bats are one of the coolest animals known to man! They have amazing hearing, come in plenty of varieties, and even an awesome superhero was created based off of them! But sometimes they can be kind of scary, and invasive in the masses!
If you are having a bat issue, here’s how to keep bats away from your property:
- Fill in all of the holes and crevices of your structure with a caulk or hardening foam.
- Use a fence, mesh, or boards to cover up open areas and tight spaces.
- Use a natural or commercial repellent to persuade the bat(s) to leave, and not come back
Bats are strong animals, and have very few deterrents that they are afraid of. They will come and go as they please, in tens, hundreds, even thousands! So freaky, right? Well there’s more to this story. Let’s explore the defenses used to keep bats away.
How to Keep Bats Away From Your Home
Let’s get right to it!
- Inspect your house to make sure that no bats are still residing in it
- Once inspected, tightly seal every hole, crevice, and random open space in your home!
Surprisingly, that’s just about it!
In general, bats are really only attracted by one thing: dark and open spaces. If you are having a bat problem, it’s probably because you have a spacious and barely lit area in you home. Take a look around to see if you can find this area.
Spaces in which a bat can enter your house areas are usually locations that are set up high, such as a rooftop, attic, or crawl space under the gutters. Within these areas, there is a serious chance that there is a hole that they can fit into. You’ll have to fix that.
How do you fix a bat entrance? Well it quite simple. You can place mesh netting over the hole or crawl space. Bats are climbers, not diggers, and would have a hard time getting through it.
You can also use a sealant. A sealant is a caulk, or thick liquid solution that fills a hole.
Sealants a more attractive choice than netting because it barely takes up any space, and the liquid can be smoothed out. Caulk is also sticky, which the bats would not be a fan of because it would counteract their walking ability.
Are Bats Afraid Of Humans?
In the original sense of “afraid,” no, bats are not afraid of humans; humans are afraid of bats. PETA states “Bats always try to avoid contact with humans, and other animals.” They prefer to be with themselves as a collective colony.
If a bat is in your home or property, you’ll usually find them flapping around in a U-shaped pattern. It may look frantic, but that means that they are trying to find an escape route. They’re not afraid, they’re simply trying to leave.
When you see this happening, the best solution is to create an opening for the bat to fly out of. You can open a window, create a hole in the areas that the bat flies around, or use a long rod (like a broomstick) to carefully guide it out of the opening that it originally came out of.
Do Bats Attack Humans?
Bats rarely attack humans; and if a bat does attack a human, it’s because they were either provoked, had their original food supply taken away, or they have a disease that makes them aggressive.
What Provokes Bats?
The biggest factor that can cause a bat to attack is a human. When we see this intriguing creature fly around outside (or unfortunately in your home,) we humans are the ones that screams, freak out, and try to hit it.
We begin to swat at it, try to capture them, or hit them with anything that we can find. That is a form of aggression towards the bat, which makes them retaliate by either flying aggressively around you, or directly biting you.
If you want to avoid being attacked by a bat, simply walk away from the infested area. Bats are localized animals, and tend to stay in one space. So if the area is outside of your house, then it’s up to you to leave the area.
What Do Bats Feed On?
Bugs, insects, fruit, and blood!
Well, there are only three types of bats that actually do feed on blood: the Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus), the Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi).
These bats have the standard diet of blood, yes, but they leech it from small, manageable animals like fish, frogs, or woodland creatures. However, if that supply is low, it will go for a human. After all, to the bat, we’re just another big animal with blood, which is true.
These bats are common throughout Central and South America, but none in the North. Most people have the misconception that the bat will feed at the neck of an animal. In reality, they’ll go for the bloodiest part that they can get, like your big toe, so watch your step!
Outside of these three types of bats, just about all other bats are either insectivores or frugivores, meaning they either eat insects like mosquitoes, or dense fruit like apples or melons.
What Do Bats Not Like?
Bats are pretty secure in themselves, and portray a nonchalant attitude. In other words, bats don’t really care about the outside world, so they tend to not have many dislikes…
Except for natural deterrents like strong smells, bright lights, and ultrasonic devices. They are not a fan!
Aromas that catch your attention are the same scents that bats despise! Aromas like:
- Animal Urine
- Green Tea
Since bats have an excellent sense of smell, these scents are too potent for them to stand. It irritates their olfactory center, and they usually end up leaving the stench-filled area. Home remedies can be made out of these spices, so mix it up, and keep your bat away.
This equipment works well with keeping bats away from your home because it disturbs their hearing, which is a primary sense for travel and feeding. The constant change in frequency becomes extremely annoying for them, and will make them flee to a quieter area.
The device’s fluctuating wavelength tend to significantly confuse the bats’ communication, natural habits, and sleep. The beautiful fact about this option is that most of the devices operate by simply being plugged into an outlet!
Words to the wise: ultrasonic devices are a great repellent, but it must be very close to the entrance of their den so that they will hear it. Bats purposely choose tight quarters because they are usually very quiet. So place it near the entrance, and watch them fly out!
In addition to bright lights, predator urine – like a fox or coyote – is strong enough to distract the bat’s sense of smell, and make it fly away in a disorganized manner. Loud noises are also a major dislike for bats as well.
Let’s add fiber glass and aluminum foil into the mix as well. Fiberglass is usually the lining choice for most attics and ceilings, but it’s insulated. When it comes into direct physical contact with the bat, it irritates their skin.
Aluminum foil is a creative option because it causes a flickering and unsteady light to constantly flash, which disorients the bats. If you choose this option, be sure to have the shiny reflective side outward, towards the den of the bats.
Are Bats Afraid Of Light?
Bats in the attic tells us that lights – both artificial and natural – are avoided by bats because of their vision type. Although it’s accurate, their eyes are naturally designed for low-levels of light. They need this environment for their other senses to work properly.
Even too much moonlight is an issue for bats, and they typically do not create their nest, or “roost,”near potential areas that can be easily shined upon. Little-to-no light is why they choose quaint and cozy areas to roost in, and will avoid light at all costs.
Use lights to keep bats away from your property by placing them in areas where you may have holes, or openings that bats can crawl into. Check your attic, ceilings, and windows for holes and crevices, and place a big bright light over it until you can fill it in. That should do it.
Do Bats Hate Loud Noises?
No, not really. Brown University conducted a study on the resilience of bat hearing. The results showed that although there is a lot of random sounds that surround bats on a daily basis, to bats, it’s at a very low frequency, which means they can barely hear it.
It also went to show that bats may have an organic mechanism within their inner ear that will adjust to the outside noise levels of the world. My guess is because it balances out their echolocation, which is what they use to navigate from area to area.
So blasting your radio at the loudest volume will not get rid of a bat that’s in your house, nor will it deter other bats from coming in.
Are Bats Blind?
To my surprise – and possibly yours – bats are not blind. In fact, Dr. Christopher Baird of West Texas A&M University states: “Bats use their good hearing to find food in the dark of night, and their good eyes to find food during the light of day.”
Because we always hear about bats using their echolocation at night, we rarely think about them using their eyes! Bats eyes are naturally set to operate best during soft-lighted times of the day, such as sunrise or sunset.
However! They use their eyes during these dimly-lit hours to find a den and food, and their echolocation at night as an “extra pair of eyes” to feed for when they can’t see. Interesting, right?
Take this into consideration when attempting to keep them away from your home. Make your yard or area as bug and den-free as possible, and you’ll stand a chance of deflecting our nonchalant aerial friends.
Do Bats Migrate?
I was pretty curious about this question, and the answer is astonishing.
Yes, bats do migrate, but they also hibernate! Wow! Who would’ve thought?! But why do bats migrate, and/or hibernate? Keep reading…
Bats tend to migrate due to three reasons: either the weather is too cold for them to bear, their food supply of fruit and insects are becoming depleted, and have to go elsewhere to find food, or they’re migrating so they can hibernate! So intricate.
During the cooler parts of the year, bats take refuge in tight crawl spaces – like your attic or gutters, – in order to stay as warm as they possibly can. But it can be a challenge for them to sustain.
Most migration takes place between the summer and winter seasons. When the air begins to become frigid, certain types of bats, like the Mexican free-tailed bat, migrate to warmer climates so they may continue to forage for food, and most importantly, to stay warm.
Speaking of foraging for food, the search for good grub is always on the bats menu. They will fly hundreds of miles to warmer climates in order to feast their tiny mouths on various fruits, animals, and insects like flies, moths, and mosquitoes, all year round!
Want another reason? Here it is: mother bats will also migrate their children to a more favorable atmosphere that’s filled with food, in order to comfortably raise their offspring in a more conducive area for ultimate prosperity.
Yes, bats hibernate! They tend to do this during the winter time, just like most other animals. They choose ideal terrains to spend the next three-to-six months in such as mountains, caves, mines, rock crevices, or even your house!
A bat will create a den in just about any area that is warm, humid, and can fit tens to hundreds of bats in it.
Since bats are primarily in the Americas, they tend to move further south to the lower parts of the U.S., and all throughout central and South America for warmth and an abundant food supply.
Do Bats Like Heat?
Yes, bats do like the heat.
They are a close-knit, colonizing species that prefer to, literally, be very close to each other, which can create a bunch of heat! If it gets too hot in their colony, bats are known to move around, and find a cooler part of the den to recalibrate their body.
Bats are warm-blooded animals, and are aware of their bodily functions. Like us humans, they like luke-warm-to-hot areas, simply so they can continue to regulate their body properly.
Although they like the heat, they are capable of letting their core body temperature drop to almost freezing levels, which sets them into their state of hibernation called “torpor.”
At that point, the outside heat becomes a heat source to balance out their cold internal temperature.
The heat is a friend to bats, and necessary for them as well.
Do All Bats Carry Diseases?
Thankfully, all bats do not carry diseases.
Bats are generally associated with rabies, and yes, a couple of them may even have the virus. But most bats are safe to assume as healthy, however always take precaution when attempting to handling one.
When preparing your home to become bat-free, be sure to use the proper protective equipment to cover the open areas of your body. If you’re afraid of being bitten, that’s O.K., because that’s the only way that a disease can spread from a bat to a human.
I found a list of diseases associated with bats. Here’s what to expect:
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (or SARS)
- Nipah (a virus that causes brain fever)
Scary, I know. But don’t worry too much! Humans come into direct contact with bats very seldom. Remember, bats enjoy each others company, and darkness, and will completely avoid you in order to keep their comfort and convenience.
So unless your spelunking into deep caves and hanging out with the bats, you’re good to go. When trying to catch one that’s in your home, protect yourself, and do your best to guide it out of the entrance, instead of grabbing it. Minimal possibility of virus transfer is the goal here.
Which Diseases Kills Bats?
Interestingly enough, there is a fatal disease that kills bats. The Smithsonian states “the fuzz is a fungus new to North America. Today the fungus has spread to 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces, and infected nine bat species…“
This fungus is commonly known as White-Nose syndrome.
It’s found in various bats primarily located in the mountainous region of North America. The disease is usually inhaled, or ingested, by the bats during hibernation season because it thrives in cold weather.
Since the discovery of this eerie disease in 2008, it has managed to cause bat genocide with fatal causualities adding up to approximately six million bats, and counting.
Fun Fact! You’ll never guess how they believe the disease got here… humans! Oh the irony!
White-Nose syndrome is postulated by the Smithsonian to originate in the caves of northern Europe, and that cave diver and tourist may have contracted the bacteria, and brought it to the U.S. caves and mountains, and thus the bats the U.S., and parts of canada.
How Many Bats Have Rabies?
Less than one percent of the bat population has rabies. It is rare for it to be transferred from bat to human; in fact the Center for Disease Control said: “There are usually only one or two human cases per year.” But wait, There’s more!
You have every right to be concerned about Rabies because the main source of Rabies infections in humans are from bats! Their study went on to show that out of 19 cases reported from 1997 – 2006, 17 of them were because of bats.
This is a solid reason as to make sure that you fill and seal all small openings and crevices in the upper areas of you home, to keep those bats out of your home so you can stay safe and healthy.
Do Dead Bats Hang?
Dead bats do hang upside down, if they die in that position. Many factors can kill a bat, like extreme heat or cold. They can also die from internal diseases that they may have carried.
The reason as to why they can die upside down is because the muscles of their body loses its heat, and basically becomes cold. As the body gets colder, the muscles begin to harden, which creates a tighter grip on whatever the bat is hanging on.
Bat Trapping Tips
No matter how much effort we put into preventing bats from coming into our homes, sometimes, they beat us, and sneak in anyway. So if you currently have this animal in your home, here are some helpful tips for trapping bats:
- Inspect your attic or roof: if there is more than one, determine the colony size, and find out which hole they are flying in and out of
- Seal the bat entry holes: once you find the primary entry /exit hole, leave it open, and seal off all of the other holes first
- Perform a bat excursion: which is basically setting mesh, a funnel, or netting over the primary holes. It’s important to set it up so that the bats can easily fly out, but not come back in.
- Seal the primary hole and clean up: once they’re gone, tightly fill and seal the primary hole, and then clear your property or structure of all of guano (bat droppings) because it’s an attractant for more bats.
There isn’t much bait that will attract bats, except for guano and small flying bugs like flies and mosquitoes. So unless your willing to collect a full batch bat poop, or those little critters, bait is a waste of energy.
A cage is not recommended for trapping bats.
They can become extremely frantic when they feel threatened, and will bite with the intentions of hurting you. And since we know that bats can carry diseases, let’s be on the safe side and simply guide them out through their entry hole.
Although these creatures make look scary, they are still one of the coolest animals on earth! But you must take precautions when handling them, and follow all the steps provided in order to keep bats away from your home.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare