Bats are a bit creepy and maybe even scary to your average city dweller, especially if they’re living in your attic. But it’s important to know that Washington State has strict laws to protect bats. Here’s why bats are actually awesome, and how to handle a bat infestation legally and safely.
Why are bats beneficial to your neighborhood?
A female bat can consume her entire body weight in insects in a single evening. Forget the citronella candle, just get some bats! Mosquitos, termites, and other much more serious pests are kept in check by a healthy bat population. It’s difficult to stress just how many more creepy crawlies would be in your house and biting you in your garden if bats suddenly disappeared.
Why are bats living in your attic?
Bats naturally seek out cavities in trees, caves and other places that protect them from light and predators. As our region densifies there are fewer natural spots for them to live. They begin seeking out attics, wells, and other manmade hidey-holes. You’re most likely to find bats living on the southern side of a building with full sun.
How do you get bats out of your attic?
First off let’s say that bats are not as harmful to your home as rats or mice. They don’t chew wires but their guano can be smelly and cause water damage to drywall.
While it may be tempting to close off the entry holes, you would likely be trapping the bat pups inside your attic. This is a recipe for a very stinky, and very cruel disaster. The safest, and legal option is coaxing them out on their own volition.
Note that these methods only work when the pups are mature enough to fly so you’ll have to wait until mid-August. That gives you a couple weeks to plan the bat siege…
- Make some noise. Put a radio in your attic as close to their roosting site as possible
- Use shop lights to make the space bright so they can’t get to sleep (preferably fluorescent bulbs since incandescent lights risk starting a fire)
- Install a one-way door so bats can go out, but not back in
- Put a bat box nearby to encourage these beneficial creatures to stay in the neighborhood
- Close every entry point and use caulk for the most complete seal job possible
And don’t wait too long! Be sure to do a thorough exclusion job before October or you may be stuck with bats all winter. For more information on bats in Washington State check out the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s guide to living with wildlife.
If you have a bat problem or are interested in installing a bat box call our owner and head technician, Chris Parker at 800-326-1698.