WHEN WAYWARD BATS END UP INSIDE YOUR HOME!
By Chris Williams on July 3, 2018.
We found a bat in our upstairs bedroom yesterday. Freaked me out because I’d never seen one up close before. We weren’t sure what to do but we opened a window and it finally flew out. How do you think it got in there? We have screens in all the windows.B. D., Meredith, NH
We’re getting into the time of year when we get calls like this. That’s because we’re nearing the end of the breeding season for little brown bats, the bats most commonly found roosting in homes. In our region, the young are born in May to June and remain with their mother for several weeks while nursing (bats are mammals). Eventually, the young start moving about on their own and making excursions outside of the roost. By early to mid-August, they are weaned and fully independent and can come and go at will.
YOUNG BATS CAN END UP IN LIVING SPACES
In that early training stage though, young bats can get confused and may attempt to exit the attic roost by a different route. If they sense light or air currents from the attic door or through gaps around the chimney, for example, they may end up dropping down into wall voids or into living spaces instead. Sometimes bats that are spending the winter in an attic can end up in lower levels when a burst of very cold or warm weather gets them moving about into new areas. The bat doesn’t want to be sharing your space any more than you want it there.
Bats are federally protected and you cannot kill them or disturb them while there are young in the roost. But you can take steps to have a single bat that’s in your home carefully removed.
THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS
The good news is that you did just what you should do – let the bat remove itself. If you run across a wayward bat in your home, never touch or chase it because it will try to bite if you grab it, and rabies is still a concern. Try to confine the bat to one room, open windows so it can detect air movement and let it fly out on its own.
The bad news is that this incident might mean you have a bat roost in your attic or in a wall or ceiling void. It’s possible that the bat came from elsewhere and just got in accidentally through a gap somewhere but it’s more likely that you have a bat nursery in your attic. If that’s the case, by law you can’t seal off that space until the young are gone about mid-August. If the mother isn’t allowed back into the attic to feed her young, they will die, and you will also have an odor problem.
RESIDENT BATS? GIVE COLONIAL A CALL
What you can do now is give Colonial Pest a call and have us check for a bat roost in your attic or elsewhere. Right now, we can also look for openings where the bat was able to get into the living space and seal those up to prevent future surprises. In August or September we can legally block any remaining adult bats from entering the attic space and can then bat-proof your home, closing up openings into the attic space (see August is the Beginning of Bat Removal Season). We have certified nuisance wildlife experts on staff who are experienced in bat management and our work is guaranteed!
By the way, if you ever have a bat inside that doesn’t want to leave, you can always give us a call. We can humanely capture it and return it to the outside world. But if you ever find a bat in a room with a child, incapacitated adult, or pet, you should assume that there may have been contact between the two and the undamaged bat should be kept for rabies testing.