Of course! Seal every gap, crack, and hole in your house. Pay particular attention to the roof lines – fascia boards, gable vents, dormer peaks, soffit eave gaps, etc. Any gap of 1/2 to 1 inch is especially desirable. Bats can’t chew, so caulk or polyurethane sealant works great! Of course, if you already have bats in your attic, then you can’t seal the holes shut yet.
Good question, but no. Not all of the bats leave at the same time. They go out in groups and shifts, and return back and forth all night. At no time is 100% of the colony out at once. So if you seal at night, you will be sealing some in. You need bat exclusion.
Buildings, attics in particular, provide a warm, dry, safe space to live in and raise baby bat pups. An attic is sort of like a cave – but even better, because it’s protected from predators, and high off the ground, making stealth entry and exit easy.
Yes, but it is rare. Even though all warm-blooded mammals can carry rabies, for some reason there are different strains, and humans aren’t susceptible to many of them. For example, many raccoons are rabid, but they don’t pass the rabies on to humans. But for some reason, some of the strains in bats are transferrable to people, and thus most cases of rabies in the United States are due to bats. But the numbers are very low.
Interesting fact: the bats in your attic are actually all females! They are called a maternity colony, and they are in your attic in order to have a safe place to give birth to and raise their young. The males just roost outside, in tree bark, etc. Female bats give birth to only one baby bat per year, and raise it well. The young are born in late April – early June depending on species, and the young are growing and flightless until some time in August. You can’t do an exclusion while the young are flightless, because they’ll all either die or crawl down the walls of your house and many will find a way inside your rooms.
Chimneys are a different architecture than an attic, of course. The methods for removal are different. First of all, DO NOT START A FIRE. Burning bats will flood your living room. Special netting must be set on top of the flu.
Most people notice the odor first. If the colony is large enough, people also notice the noise they make. They are generally harmless animals, they don’t chew on wires like rodents do, but the main problem they cause is that they poop and pee a lot. Each bat can poop 20 pellets per day, and if you multiply that number times hundreds of bats over a couple of years, you get an attic full of bat guano! It smells bad, it corrodes wood and drywall, and it can grow mold.
There are about 45 species of bats in the US, but only colonizing bats live in attics. In the US, this really only means a few significant species, most commonly the Big Brown Bat and in larger numbers, the Little Brown Bat in the northern states, and in the southern states, you’ll find Evening Bats, but most commonly the Brazilian, aka Mexican Freetail Bat.
Absolutely not! Aside from being illegal and immoral, every attempt I’ve seen has resulted in disaster for the property owner. Why even attempt poisons, when a live exclusion is so much more effective and humane?
Unfortunately, no repellent of any kind has been shown to work in the slightest. No powder or spray, natural home remedy, bright light or high-pitch sound machines will repel bats. It would actually be very nice, because then we could remove bats easily (and harmlessly, just like a real exclusion).
According to the Insurance Information Institute, most pest infestations (and the damages accompanying them), are “maintenance issues” and not covered by insurance. The insurers feel it is the duty of the owner of the property to prevent the infestation or eradicate it long before any damage is done. In most cases, the property owner is left to pay for any damages.
That said, there are several options and situations that may provide significant financial relief if you are facing an expensive project – or at least save you money in the long run.