Hearing screeching or scratching in the attic, especially at night, can be unnerving. Whether it's raccoons or bats, housing unwanted critters is never fun to deal with. Determining what sort of animal you have is the first step in eliminating the problem and working to keep them away from your humble abode. Our extensive guide will teach you all you need to know about how to get rid of bats, their calling card, and how to keep them away in the future.

Why Are Bats In My Home?

two small bats flying around

Bats are winged mammals that can live for up to 20 years. Assuming you don't want to give them free room and board, you'll want to get rid of them as soon as you spot them. A few of the reasons why you might have bats are:

  • You're close to their food. Bats enjoy insects and fruit, so if you're close to an insect hub or nearby fruit trees, then bats may be a problem.
  • Bats live pretty much anywhere so if your home can give them the shelter they crave then you can bet your boots bats are on their way. Normally, bats enjoy living in barns, homes, and darker places like tunnels.
  • The reason bats live in walls or the attic is because they're dark and it give them enough shelter to roost and possibly breed

How Do They Get Into My Home?

The majority of bat species living in the United States are fairly small so they can easily slip in through small cracks in the foundation or mortar. Though, larger areas like chimneys, open windows, and open doors are at risk too. As we said, bats like cooler temperatures when they're mating but they're also drawn to the cooler air in general. When you have the air conditioning on during the spring and summer, bats might be drawn to the house to keep away from the sun and hotter temperatures.

a small bat on a wooden ceiling

Something you'll also need to keep an eye on is bats making their way into your living space. Walls tend to have a more stable temperature than the attic, so if bats are hibernating in the walls they might get lost and make their way into the main space. Even if they don't make it into the main space, bats can also find their way into the basement. Unfinished parts of the basement are even more susceptible to seeing bats.

How Do I Know I've Got Bats?

There are a few telltale ways to inform you of whether or not you're dealing with bats.

Bat droppings (guano droppings) are one of your first signs. They're typically found on windowsills and look slightly bigger than mouse poop. You'll find the guano droppings nearby to where they're entering, so if you spot them on a porch or accumulating on the walls then you'll have a better idea of where the colony is located. Take a look at your attic windows or near the attic door if you spot guano droppings nearby, especially if the amount is a hefty one.

bat poop on the ground

Of course, it's not just guano droppings to be aware of. Bats relieve themselves in other ways and their urine can stain your walls and cause damage to your floors.

If you can hear bats fluttering around in the walls, then you know it's time to take a peak in the attic or stay on alert. Since they're creatures of the night, more often than not you'll hear them squeaking or scratching around dusk or dawn. Keep in mind that bats are much quieter than you think, too, so if you suspect even once that you hear bats then it's better to check before any more come or are born.

Bat Characteristics

Even though there are dozens of bat species out there (approximately 50 of which live in the United States), they share many similar physical characteristics to keep a look out for:

  • Bats have large webbed wings, sizes varying depending on the species
  • They fly around in circles and more sporadically
  • Many species live in colonies
  • They mate in the cooler months, so if you think you have bats in the fall or winter then you'll need to act fast

How To Get Rid Of Bats In The Attic

1. Mothballs And Sealants

moth balls on a white background

Store-bought options include mothballs and sealants to make your life easier. Mothballs are easily found in department and hardware stores and they're the best way to get rid of bats. They can also prevent them from coming back in the future.

As we mentioned before, cracks in the foundation can be a big welcome mat for bats. Visit your local hardware store and consult with an expert on which sealant you need to close up any holes. Ensuring your home is properly sealed stops bats from coming in or ever returning.

2. Cinnamon Or Eucalyptus

If you're looking for a natural remedy to your bat situation then look no further than some eucalyptus or cinnamon. Bats hate both these scents and it'll shoo them right out of your home. Eucalyptus gel or oil in a spray bottle can be spritzed wherever the infestation is to drive them away and keep them out.

Bare in mind that eucalyptus can be a bit strong for some people, so if you want something gentler on your nose but still tough on bats, cinnamon is your next best option. Cinnamon powder can be spread in their nest or where they're residing to get rid of them.

3. Reflective Surfaces

crumpled tin foil

An easy do-it-yourself solution is to place some aluminum foil or a mirror where the bat nest is. Hanging pieces of tin foil in the attic or basement will constantly annoy the bats due to the reflected light. The material also makes a noise that throws the bats off.

Mirrors, on the other hand, might be more expensive to use but it will just as effective. When the bats are sleeping, you'll need to set up the mirrors and use lighting to recreate the daytime. The light will annoy the bats enough to drive them away.

What Not To Do

When you're handling the situation yourself, there are some things you'll need to avoid doing. These tips will protect yourself and keep from harming any bats.

  • Don't try to catch them when they're flying around because they'll bite you
  • Killing bats is illegal in the United States, which means you shouldn't use bat poison when ridding of them
  • Clean up their droppings and urine with full-body clothing, gloves, and masks to avoid bacteria or diseases. A professional might be better to handle the job
  • If you're serious about getting rid of them but scared of handling them, you should consult a professional

Prevention Tips

small bat in a house

In order to keep them away from your home and show future bats they're also unwelcome, keep a constant eye on your home. Make sure you don't have any growing crevices or cracks in the walls or foundations. Keep your windows and doors shut; when the summer months hit you can put up mesh screening to keep pests out.

You should also look into sealing off any larger openings, like the chimney. Place sturdy caps on your chimney to avoid having them fly in through there or nesting inside of it.

Swapping out the outdoor light bulbs on your porch for softer yellow ones will attract fewer pests and bugs. Attracting fewer insects will also keep bats away since they're a huge food source for them.

Final Notes

a long eared bat in the house

Having bats in the home can be a serious nuisance. Getting rid of them for good doesn't have to be, though. They can hide in the walls, basements, attics, and chimneys but can also scoot in through open windows and doors. Keep mesh in the doors and windows, maintain the upkeep of your home, and grab chimney seals to avoid having bats fly into your home. Take the proper care when handling their droppings as they do carry diseases and can be harmful to you.

Also remember it's illegal to kill them so if you're worried about getting them out of your home, call a professional to do the job.

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