So, you’re dealing with bats. And you need to get rid of bats. Fast.
As scary as they may be, this is often due to the negative stereotype they have as portrayed by every horror movie, ever!
Bats are actually pretty gentle creatures and are a necessary part of the ecosystem.
They’re often endangered in many states and are protected, so killing them is not advised.
This pest control guide will cover how you can get rid of bats naturally and drive them out of your house and away from your property.
Sound good? Let’s get started and go bat-free.
Last updated: 1/21/21. This page has been updated for accuracy.
Bat life cycle
Bats have life cycles that are predictable.
Even though bats come in various breeds, shapes, and sizes, the general lifecycle of a bat is pretty straightforward.
With over 1200 species of bats, they inhabit the globe all over the world.
Typically, bats will give birth between May and July during the warmer months. In warmer climates, bats can give birth up to twice a year.
When a female bat gets ready to give birth, she’ll find a place to hide and roost, which is typically where they become a pest.
Gestation for a bat takes up to 6 months, but for most species, this occurs much earlier.
Bat pups are born as singular bats, though bat twins have been sighted. They reach maturity in just two months.
Newborn bats can’t really fly nor do they have good control yet, so they’re often left in the roosting area while the mom gets food.
They’ll nurse up to five months in the roost, even though the bat pups can fly around a month after being born.
Bats will then start to fly and forage their own food after a few months and return to the same nest afterward. The cycle repeats for next season.
They’ve been getting a bad rep lately, but most bats will hide and fly away from danger rather than provoke it. We should respect them rather than exterminate them when possible.
Bats have fascinating anatomies and have been the study for researchers for years now.
Because of their lightweight, aerodynamic bodies, they’re able to detect, traverse, and fly around terrain at high speeds super efficiently and utilize echolocation for traveling in the dark.
Bats have webbing that creates their wings rather than any forelimbs.
There are two claws on the wings and have extremely light bones in each wing that work like human fingers.
Their wings are flexible to allow them to adjust their flight patterns as needed.
They have a skull, ribcage, spine, and many other skeletal structures similar to humans.
They were known to be the only flying animal in existence, whereas other animals simply glide.
The wings are made up of cartilage with bendable tips. Each wing of the bat seems to be covered with skin that’s very elastic and can be stretched and contracted to allow them to be extremely malleable.
Bats use echolocation to communicate with their environment and don’t even need any vision to hunt in complete night.
They can find prey and fly without any light source by using this mechanism lodged in their inner ear.
Not all bats have echolocation capabilities, but the majority of species do.
To prevent coldness and to make hibernation easier, their bodies are covered with fur. Bats also have short legs with small knees.
The claws on their feet are extremely adaptable and strong, which allows them to roost upside down for extended periods with ease.
Little brown bats vs. big brown bats
The most common house bats in the US are divided into two species that are closely related:
- The little brown bat
- The big brown bat
As simple as the naming nomenclature is, it’s important to distinguish the differences between the two bat species. Here are some ways you can tell one from the other.
How to identify the little brown bat
Little brown bats are smaller than their larger counterparts, as the name obviously implies.
The adult little brown bats are just about 4” max from nose to tail
For reference, that’s about the length of your pinky finger. They have dark brown fur that’s uniform throughout their entire body.
Their wingspan is about 9” on average, and their guano (bat poop) looks like small grains of rice. You can see that they have a smaller nose with short hair on their backs.
They almost look like miniature versions of the big brown bat, other than some slight body structure differences and smaller guano.
The guano for the little brown bat measures only about 0.3cm on average.
How to identify the big brown bat
The big brown bat is just the larger counterpart to the little brown bat.
They have about a 4” body length from nose to tail and longer bat fur that’s less uniform than the little brown bat.
The color is a lighter and silkier texture that’s wavy. They have a noticeable nose that’s about 3 times larger.
They have a dark ear pair, feet pair, and wingspan compared to the little brown bat, and they have a wingspan of about 12”.
The guano they leave behind is also much bigger and look like oversized rice grains that are about 1cm long.
Here’s a nice guide to ID the difference between the bats.
What time of day do bats come out?
Just like you see in horror movies, bats are mainly nocturnal creatures.
After the sun sets, little brown bats will come out of their roosts to look for flying insects and feed on them.
They’ll fly around for about 3 hours to feed, and will be most active during this time.
After they’re done eating, they’ll go back to their roost, hang upside down, and repeat the process the next day.
When you see bats during the day, they’re most likely disturbed or are in need of a new roost or location.
There also may be competition for food or shelter in the area, and that bat could be migrating.
But typically, you won’t see them during the daytime and will only notice them at night after the sun sets.
This is the time of day that bats come out and the most common time you’ll see bat activity.
Is it illegal to kill bats?
As scary as bats may be, they’re considered an endangered and protected species in many states.
Bats are necessary for the ecosystem to sustain itself, and killing them is an offense all over the United States in many states.
It is your responsibility and duty to make sure you’re complying with all local and federal laws concerning bat removal in your state.
By reading this guide, you agree to hold all responsibility to yourself and agree that you’ve done your due diligence before exterminating or removing them.
You can check with your local city or state for bat laws. Here are some helpful resources:
Often, killing bats is prohibited. But you may be able to remove them by driving them out of your home or garden.
How to get rid of bats in Florida
Florida seems to be a state populated by bat problems. Bats are protected in Florida under wildlife laws and you can’t willfully kill bats in the state.
The following activities are also prohibited in Florida regarding bats:
- Trapping bats
- Exterminating bats
- Killing bats
- Poisoning bats
- Capturing bats
How to tell if you have bats
It’s pretty easy to tell if you have bats. There are major and minor signs of a bat infestation that you can easily spot without much difficulty.
Here are the most common signs of bats:
- Bat droppings (guano) around your home, attic, basement, chimney, soffits, or anywhere else
- Bat urine
- Visible bats leaving or entering your home
These 3 signs are the most obvious and telltale signs of a bat problem. Chances are, you’ll first notice them by seeing them with the naked eye.
They’re out during the nighttime hours to feed, where you may notice them during the warmer months of the year.
Look for them during the night
They’re only out for a specific period during the night, so you won’t see them all night long. If you think you’re seeing bats and it’s a summer month during the sunset photoperiod, they probably are bats indeed.
Of course, you’ll have to look for more signs to confirm that it’s indeed a bat problem.
You may also notice other signs of bats:
- Bat squeaking
- Noises or thumbs in your wall voids
- Scratches on walls in your attic or basement
- Scratching noises on your walls
- Air current changes (bats use air currents to find entrances and exits in small cracks)
- Flapping noises
Bats and air currents
Bats utilize the air currents in a room to find where to exit and enter.
They can detect the slightest changes in air pressure and will “ride” the current in order to find the crevices or cracks.
Sometimes, they follow the wrong one or the current changes and thus end up where they’re not supposed to be, such as another room or even your living room
Bats don’t want to be where you are as it’s probably lit and they want to avoid any interaction with other species, like humans.
Riding the air currents can lead into your home
Bats that find their way into your living quarters probably did so by accident or an air current changed. It could also be a baby bat exploring and found a new entrance that older and large adult bats couldn’t access prior.
If you block any cracks in your house, bats will no longer be able to easily determine how to enter or exit your home- which is why you need to verify that all cracks are caulked up.
Not doing so will just have them move to another crack by riding the air currents again. You’ll need to seal all the possible currents you can. This may require a professional.
This is why they come in through the windows, doors, drafts, basement, attic, and even your window AC unit!
Why do bats keep coming in my house?
Bats usually get into your home and become a pest problem when there’s a crack or crevice that bats can squeeze their way through.
All they need to enter your home is a 0.5” crack at the minimum. They can squeeze through soffit overhangs that extend from your room over your house’s walls.
Bats are often able to remain undercover and live in secrecy in your attic or wall voids without you knowing. If you see bats actually inside your house, it’s likely that there are a lot more hiding somewhere in your attic.
Bats like tall buildings
Bats typically prefer higher structures, which are about 40 feet off the ground.
Once they find a way to get into your home from this height, they’ll sneak over and take shelter in your attic or other dark areas. And since they’re nocturnal creatures, you’ll likely never notice either.
Other times, smaller bats that are newborn may wander and become lost, which may have them end up in your household.
They may have gotten lost from the attic and end up in your living room.
Summer weather means more bats
Baby bats are typically present and active during the summertime when the temperatures pick up.
And since they’re smaller, they can find additional entry points throughout your home, which may lead to your living quarters.
Other obvious entry points like doors, patio doors, garages, windows, vents, or attic windows are all possible points of entry for bats. These entry points are easy targets especially during the feeding time of day at night.
Your home is a good roosting area
When bats are flying around, they may enter your home if you keep these openings available.
Bats will have no problem roosting in your home, as your house provides a warm structure and plenty of places to hang.
Some species live only in rural areas whereas others prefer any. There are also various species that have different population counts, colonies, and roosting habits.
Should you notice any signs of bats in your home, you should start to formulate a plan to get rid of them by driving them out.
What attracts bats to your house?
Bats are attracted to houses and areas that simply satisfy their requirements to survive.
There are two main types of food sources bats consume:
- Small bats that nest in temperate regions are nocturnal and eat flying insects. You’ll need a good source of small bugs present to your area to attract bats. If you don’t have any small bugs, you likely won’t have to deal with the smaller variety.
- The larger bat species mainly eat fruit, nectar, and plant matter. They’re attracted to flowering plants or ripe fruit. These are typically native to tropical regions.
If your area is a native bat state and you’re wondering why you have bats, these two reasons are the main explanation of why bats are infesting your yard, home, shed, or wherever else.
Other than food, they’ll need shelter.
Bats live in a variety of different shelters they call home, such as hollow trees, caves, forests, or even bat boxes/houses. If your property has some place for them to stay, feed, and nest, they’ll likely be attracted to your home.
Sometimes, you’ll get bats to your place without even knowing- that’s when they’re typically considered a pest.
You probably have an abundance of pests, plants, and fruits that bats are eating and a place for them to stay nearby.
Getting rid of the bats won’t do much if you don’t get rid of the shelter they’re hiding out in and the food source. You can eliminate either variable and the bats will stop coming.
North American bats fall into the Microchiroptera family, which also means small bats. They’re smaller than their larger cousins in Australia and about the same size as European bats.
They’re small in size, have shorter muzzles, eyes, and larger ears. These are the bats you typically see in horror movies- definitely contributing to their negative connotation.
Getting rid of bats in the winter
During the wintertime, bats are hibernating in the colder months.
They usually don’t come out to feed during this time, as they’re roosting and hibernating until the warmer months come.
If you see bats during the winter, they’ve likely been disturbed during hibernation, or they may be coming out of hibernation because of fluctuating weather. It could also be possible that the temperatures are picking up and even though it’s still technically winter, the bats sense warmer temps and thus are starting to come out of hibernation.
During this time, you may find bats around your home- exiting and entering various places such as your attic, basement, or even find them in your living room if they make it that far.
Getting rid of bats during the winter can be done by following the various techniques in this DIY pest control guide.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your strategy should change:
- Assess the situation
- Drive the bats out
- Set up bat traps and natural repellents
- Locate the entry point(s)
- Seal the entryways with caulk and reinforced steel mesh
- Repeat as necessary
You can read through this guide to get specific directions on each of these points, such as how to make a DIY bat trap or where to buy natural bat repellent. Each topic is covered.
Are bats afraid of light?
Bats are nocturnal animals by nature, so they only come out to feed during the twilight hours right after sunset.
After they spend about 2-3 hours outdoors flying around and eating various plants and bugs, they’ll go back and roost in their nest for the rest of the evening and all day the next day.
And then repeat the cycle again at night.
Bats are definitely afraid of light and will avoid any natural or artificial lights. This is why you can use motion sensor spotlights or floodlights to naturally scare bats away.
They’re adapted to low-light environments, and thus are extremely aware of any sources of light and will avoid these sources as much as they can.
Use artificial lights to drive bats out
But you can use this to your advantage, as they’ll easily be scared off by using various light sources.
You can simply set up some kind of artificial light to repel them naturally from areas like your attic, chimney, or basement.
Bats aren’t blind, but they do have poor vision. They avoid daytime lighting because their vision isn’t good enough to feed on prey.
And this also makes them an easy target for predators during the daytime. Thus, they only come out at night when possible.
Remember seeing bats around during the day means they’re looking for food desperately, or they’ve been disturbed. Their main reason for avoiding light is to protect themselves and avoid any predators.
Any of these lighting conditions will repel bats:
- Street lights
- LED lights
- Porch or deck lights
- fluorescent lights
- Artificial lights
- Natural light
Are bats attracted to light?
This is an assumption that many people misunderstand.
Bats aren’t necessarily attracted to light, as they’re often found in dark trees, bat houses, and caves.
The reason a lot of people think bats are attracted to light is that they come out to feed on bugs, which are attracted to the light themselves.
This makes it appear as if the bats are attracted to the light in the first place, but it’s actually the bats that are attracted to the pests, which are attracted to the light.
Bats tend to avoid light
Bats will avoid light, which is why they’re nocturnal and come out during the nighttime.
And this explains why they hide in dark places also. Bats don’t like light. They just like the bugs that like light.
For your purposes, keeping a light on your porch or in your garden may appear as if it’s attracting bats. But this isn’t the case.
There are swarms of pests hovering about your lighting sources, which are bringing the bats out.
Many common sources of light will attract bugs, which will then attract bats:
- Patio lighting
- LED lighting
- Security lights
- Motion lights
- Garden pathway markers
- Street Lights
- Accent lights
- Christmas lights
- And even your lighting that stems from indoors
All of these will attract pests at nighttime when bats are active, which will then have them feed on these bugs and make it seem like the bat is attracted to the light (which they’re not).
Are bats attracted to fire?
Bats and fire have been a long-debated subject in the bat world.
Bats have been mentioned to be attracted to fire, whereas other sources states they simply will avoid fire.
The smoke produced from active fires seem to repel bats, but they also like the warmth that fire produces and will hang around sometimes.
Even though fire is a source of strong light, bats will still approach the fire just for the warmth. There have been many studies regarding bats and the effect of fire on them.
You can read a few studies about bats and fire here:
What will repel bats?
You can use a variety of objects to repel bats naturally.
This part of the guide will cover various techniques you should utilize to repel bats from your home or garden.
You can use anything from shiny metal objects to lights, to cinnamon to drive them out.
Keep reading for each approach in detail.
Will noise keep bats away?
Yes, bats are easily disturbed by annoying or persistent noises.
This is why you can use supersonic repellers or white noise machines to drive bats out and naturally repel them.
You can easily pick up a white noise machine or supersonic repeller from any hardware store.
Keep in mind that the sound volume must be loud enough and directed towards the bat roosting site to have any effect. You must also leave this noise on 24/7 until the bats are relocated.
If the noise machines don’t prove to be effective, try another brand a different approach.
Bats are unique to each state, so one machine won’t work for all. Do your research. Read reviews. Do your part should you really want to rid yourself of bats.
White noise machines
Bats need a silent and dark place to roost during the day, and if you have a white noise machine active 24/7, this will prevent bats from roosting in your area.
A white noise machine, for those who are unaware, basically will create static noises (similar to the sound of a static TV channel).
These noises will annoy and disturb bats to keep them out of the area where the sound is present.
You can buy cheap and professional-level supersonic repellers, which basically generate sound waves that disturb a range of pests, including bats.
These sound generators create sound waves with frequencies we can’t hear, but will annoy bats to no extent. There are mixed reviews for these sound generators, and some work while others don’t.
For those who decide to go with a supersonic bat repeller, be sure to read reviews. There are some basic ones that you just plug into an outlet and it’ll produce sound to disturb and repel bats.
There are also professional ones that are higher-grade and emit enough sound to cover a larger area. Do your research accordingly and choose the right model for your purposes.
Essential oils to get rid of bats
There are some essential oils you can use to get rid of bats.
Essential oils are a nice solution because they’re all-natural, safe for pets and humans, and harmless on most surfaces.
There are a few essential oils that work better than others, but the tried-and-true essential oil to get rid of bats is peppermint oil.
Peppermint oil as a bat repellent
You can buy peppermint oil at any department store. Just be sure the oil is natural and not artificial. Also get the strongest version if you can, as some are more diluted than others.
Be sure to do some quick research and read some reviews before picking up a bottle. It’s not hard- you just want to be sure you’re getting real peppermint oil.
After you get the oil, here’s how to prep it to use as a natural bat repellent. This recipe will make you some bat repellent spray and some bat repellent station traps.
How to DIY make bat repellent
What you’ll need:
- Peppermint oil
- 3 cups of water
- Boiling pot
- Plastic cups
How to make the bat repellent:
- Add 3 cups of water to the pot.
- Bring the water to boiling.
- Add 1 capful of peppermint oil.
- Stir for 3 minutes.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
- Pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle, depending on how much volume your spray bottle can hold.
- Pour the remaining mixture into plastic cups. Distribute the mixture as half cups to make bat repellent stations.
How to apply the solution:
- Look for the bat nesting site.
- Spray the peppermint oil directly onto the site- this means spray the solution on their perch, walls, and any other object that they may come into contact with. Also, spray it around the entrance/exit so they get a whiff of the solution every time they enter/exit the nest.
- Place the peppermint oil traps around the area also. These will leave behind strong scents and the smell will distribute around the nesting site.
- You can leave these traps around for up to a week. Then remake the mixture and replace the cups with fresh repellent.
- Repeat this process until the bats are gone. Once the bats have left the area, be sure to seal up whatever entrance they were using to get into the area, or else you’ll be going backwards as bats will attempt to go back to the same site.
- Once you’re sure the current colony disappears, double-check the area to make sure it’s bat-proof. This is imperative to getting rid of the bats permanently.
Continue reading for tips on bat-proofing your home.
Will mothballs keep bats away?
Yes and no. Mothballs will bring limited success depending on the species of bats and their habits.
However, mothballs are cheap and it doesn’t hurt to try. You can buy them for cheap at any department store.
You can apply the mothballs simply by placing a dozen or so in a nylon stocking or pantyhose. This will be your “bat repellent.”
Hang the stockings around the nesting site. You can hang them on the porch, ceiling, walls, or entrance/exit to the nesting area. Or whatever they perch on.
Leave the mothball traps. Bats hate the smell of them and won’t come back over time. Remove when the bat problem is taken care of.
Does cinnamon keep bats away?
Cinnamon works the same way as other essential oils.
You can buy cinnamon in liquid, powder, or whole form. All 3 of them work to varying degrees, so try out all of them and see which one works best for you.
Start with cinnamon liquid, then try the whole form. Place them around the nesting site to repel bats naturally.
Remove them after the bats are eliminated. Cinnamon is safe for pets, children, and humans, so it’s a nice and effective way to get rid of bats.
Of course, you don’t want any living thing to come into contact with the cinnamon, so keep out of reach if possible as bats and other pests may have contaminated the cinnamon and it harbors bacteria.
What are bats scared of?
There are many things that bats are scared of that you can use to naturally repel them from your home or garden. Bats are typically frightened by the sound, metallic objects, or anything that’s not natural-looking.
Keep reading for a list of natural things that will repel bats.
Natural ways to get rid of bats
Here are some ways that you get rid of bats at home.
These are all cheap, free, DIY approaches that are safe for you, your kids, and your pets. Of course, use common sense and caution when doing any of this.
Use a combination of these methods together for the best effectiveness. And remember to rotate between them to prevent bats from getting used to one approach.
Bats aren’t familiar with the concept of a mirror, so taking small handheld mirrors and hanging or placing them near areas where you expect bats to be roosting will naturally repel them.
This means you can just use various mirrors you may have lying around and just place them as natural deterrents.
Bats who come across a mirror will avoid the mirror and thus won’t roost in that location anymore- provided that the mirror is distracting enough.
From experience, the bigger the mirror, the more effective it is in repelling them.
Using stand-up floor or door mirrors seem to do the trick pretty effectively. You can place them horizontally across the perch they’re using to hang upside down and roost on.
As long as they can see the mirror when they roost, they’ll be repelled by their own reflection. The mirror approach works for the majority of bats effectively.
Just like the mirror approach, using aluminum foil seems to be an effective way to repel and scare bats off.
Aluminum foil will disturb bats by distorting their echolocation they use to traverse the terrain.
The reflection aluminum also scares them off. And bats that come into contact with the foil are also frightened, as the sound of crunching foil is definitely something unnatural to the natural world.
Aluminum foil proves to a cheap, effective solution to repelling bats.
You can use the foil in two ways:
- Lay out large, unwrinkled sheets of foil and place them around areas where bats roost.
- Wrap up the foil around roosting objects.
Both of these methods seem to work pretty well against bats and will drive them off just because of how the foil just happens to mess with their senses so effectively.
Spray phenol at key locations
Phenol is a strong-smelling liquid available at hardware or grocery stores. You can spray this stuff around roosting sites.
Pour the phenol directly into any spray bottle and spray around the perches, walls, and surfaces where you think they roost.
You’ll have to reapply this daily for a week for it to be effective. The odor will build up over time. Eventually, the bats will leave because the odor from the phenol is unbearable for them.
You can also find phenol in physical form, often in the shape of balls that you can scatter around.
This makes it easier to clean up the smell after the bats are ridden and you need to clean up the odor from your home.
Use Christmas decorations
Christmas ornaments are also an excellent bat repellent.
You can hang them around the roosting area of the bats and they’ll bump into them and avoid them. The shinier ones work better, especially with a floodlight pointed at them.
You can also use a variety of blinking Christmas lights or flashing ones with random patterns. Place these lights around the roosting area or entry points or crevices.
Use a bat box
Bat boxes are basically homes for bats that are preferable for them to roost in rather than your home. The idea is to provide them another place to roost that’s outside of your house.
You can build a bat box or buy one from a greenery store. This solution is often automatic, as the bats will discover the bat box and roost there themselves.
You can often ask your wildlife removal group or local pest control for a bat box also.
After you get one, just place it near your home in a shaded area. Bats will naturally discover the bat box and roost there.
Use a one-way exclusion device
This is the most effective way of getting rid of bats by far. A one-way exclusion device is basically a tube that allows travel in one direction.
You’ll want to grab as many of these tubes as needed and place them at the entry/exit of the affected room.
For example, if your attic is infested, place an exclusion device at the entry point and bats will be able to fly out, but not back in.
Over time, bats will leave by themselves.
Exclusion devices are typically one-way valves or tubes and can be bought at hardware stores.
They’re cheap, easy to install, and very effective. The trick is to make sure you’ve covered all entry/exits with these devices. Bats will find a way around the device if you don’t.
Use a floodlight
Floodlights can drive bats out of roosting and keep them out of entry points around your house.
Bats can enter your home or attic through points as small as 0.5”, so placing floodlights around areas where bats seem to be present will keep them out just because of the fact that they avoid strong lights.
Basts are largely nocturnal, and will only come out at night to feed on flying bugs for about 3 hours after sunset.
If you have some kind of vent, soffit, or window as an entry point, you can try securing a strong floodlight pointing directly at the point. This may keep them from entering it.
Using floodlights are effective at covering single points where you can’t really do much to seal up the crevice. If you can seal the entry point, then do so. If not, consider using floodlights.
You can also use them to point directly at the roosting site.
Just like the floodlight approach, motion sensor lights are just as effective because they turn on when they detect the bat (or any motion) and will startle them.
You can place them around entry points you notice where they’re getting into your home, or place them around your garden to trigger when bats are present.
This will drive them out naturally without you having to do anything because the brightness of the sudden light will scare bats.
Just like floodlights, you can point them directly at the roosting site. Of course, using a solar-powered motion light won’t work indoors, such as an attic or basement.
You’ll need to use a hardwired solution (meaning a motion light with a wall adapter for electricity).
The stronger the light, the more effective the approach will be.
This is an obvious one but often overlooked.
Simply spraying down the areas with bats outdoors with a hose will drive them out. This is a safe, effective, and straightforward method that costs you pretty much nothing.
You may need a high-pressure hose in order to reach through crevices and cracks. You can aim the hose through these cracks to drive out the bats and raise the humidity of their environment.
And you can also use a hose with a “jet” option on the nozzle to reach higher places on your home, like your roof, chimney, or attic vents/soffits.
Water will drive them out and if you do this enough times, they’ll get annoyed and won’t come back.
Bats are repelled water direct water to their bodies, so this method works effectively. You can use this on bats hanging around outside your home or even within areas.
Set up automatic, motion-sensor sprinklers
At night, consider getting some motion-activated lights and using them with motion activated sprinklers.
When a bat flies around at night to feed on the pests, they’ll activate the lights, which will then activate the sprinklers to spray them down with water.
A pretty effective bat control system you can make at home and don’t even have to preset for it to work- it does the job by itself. Nifty huh?
How to get rid of bats in the attic vent
Attics are one of the most common areas where bats are found. This area offers nearly everything they could possibly want:
- A dark area to roost
- Secluded and quiet
- Easy access to the outdoors for feeding
Bats prefer to roost in a place that’s dark and away from any predators since they can’t see. The attic vents of your home make a perfectly roosting place before and after roosting.
Attic vent vs. attic
Note that the attic vent of a home isn’t the same as the attic itself. The attic vent is the pathway leading into the actual attic.
These are used for air exchange and allows fresh air to enter the attic, and a way for bats to enter/exit also.
Bats are commonly found in the attic vent, which makes it a lot more difficult to get rid of them since the vent typically isn’t easily accessible to humans.
Over time, your attic definitely will start to fill up with bat guano, as more and more bats take shelter there.
Damage to your home from bats
This may result in your home’s infrastructure to start taking damage and rotting from the feces and bat urine over time. Insulation of your property will get damaged, and of course, this leads to a pathogen and parasite problem seeping into the vents and later to anyone who’s living in the house.
This is why getting rid of bats in your own attic vent proves to be something you shouldn’t take lightly.
When you first notice a bat roosting in your attic, you should note that there are likely dozens more, as bats travel and roost together in colonies.
Finding where bats are entering your attic
You should first locate the exact location of where the bats are entering the attic vent.
You’ll want to look for the following signs of a bat infestation:
- A broken board or plank
- Gaps between wooden planks
- Holes present among the planks of the attic vent
- Other entry points surrounding the attic vent
Be on the lookout for multiple entry points to the vent. Just because you found one doesn’t mean you found them all. Bats are very good at discovering entry points and only need about a half-inch to gain entry.
After you find out where the bats are getting into your attic vent, you can usually fix the problem by sealing up the entry point.
Block up all entryways into your attic vent
This means blocking up any gaps or repairing broken planks or wood with gaps. Use caulk and steel wool on top of the caulking job to permanently seal them off from entering the vent.
The steel wool will stop them from removing the caulk with their hands, as they’ll try to dig out the caulk as they can tell it’s a weak point.
Professional help may be necessary. Seek it out if you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t want to damage your house. It’s suggested to start out with a bat exterminator, then possibly a roofer if necessary.
After this is complete, set up some DIY bat traps and some natural repellents to keep bats from entering again. This should be all that’s needed for stopping bats from getting into your attic vent.
How to get rid of bats in the attic
This goes hand-in-hand with the attic vent above. If you block up the attic vent, then bats can’t get into your attic itself.
However, if you already have a bat a problem in your attic, use a variety of methods to drive them out.
You should start with using an exclusion device (covered in this guide), and a combo of bright floodlights, essential oils, sound generators, and possibly some hanging ornaments, foil, or mirrors.
All of these will naturally drive bats out of your attic.
How to get rid of bats in the chimney
Bats and chimneys go together as a perfect pair. The chimney provides bats with a source of shelter and warmth and protection from predators.
Just like bats living in your attic vent, your chimney gives them a source of easy access to food and a safe area to roost.
Chances are if you find one bat, there are likely many more. Colonies of bats like to live in chimneys together. You’ll often find them hiding in your chimney and can breed, feed, and roost in safety.
This video demonstrates how you can easily spot bats flying in and out of your chimney (credits to Christopher Bove):
How to tell if you have bats in your chimney
There are many different obvious signs that you have a bat infestation in your chimney. Here are some you should be on the lookout for:
- Bats flying out or into your chimney during sunset
- Bat squeaking sounds coming from your fireplace
- Rustling or any other unusual sounds from the chimney
- Sounds in your wall voids near your chimney
- Guano present at the bottom of your chimney
- Odor from your chimney
- Droppings or bat urine lining on the chimney sidings or other areas
- Guano or urine on the roof or chimney itself
- Bat skin or oil around the louver, chimney vent, or orifice
- Large amounts of bats exiting or entering the chimney around dusk
Bats will enter your chimney and roost there as a group. Smaller colonies typically have about 30-40 bats to start with.
They’ll go out and feed at night as a group or come back to roost together after retrieving food or water together. You’ll often see them paired with others or flying together in a chunk of bats.
Simply stay outside and watch your chimney when night falls.
You may have to use some kind of spotlight or floodlight nearby if you live in an area without much moonlight due to trees, or have no artificial lighting available, like street lamps or patio lights.
Flushing them out of your chimney
After you’ve ID’d that you have bats roosting in your chimney, the next step would be to eradicate them by driving them out.
Remember, we don’t want to kill them as this is illegal in many states.
However, relocating them may be legal. Always be sure to check with your state and local laws before doing anything to the bats.
You’d want to start with repairing whatever damaged entry point the bats are using to enter and exit your chimney. If nothing seems to be damaged, consider downsizing the vent to a smaller diameter to prevent bats from squeezing through.
Of course, consider the fire risk and discuss the matter with a professional since you’re alerting the structure of your house.
Also, check for other broken objects that allow bats to enter your chimney:
- Broken window panes
- Cracked or missing house bricks
- Holes present on housing planks or siding
After you’ve found all the possible entry points, you’ll want to seal them up with caulk and a layer of steel wool to prevent them from digging out the caulk.
The best thing to do is to replace the material entirely, but sealing is a possibility provided that you can’t remove the damaged material.
Use fire-safe materials at all times, since this is your chimney which is subject to sparks, flames, smoke, and heat.
How to get rid of bats in the basement
The approach is the same as getting rid of bats in the attic.
You’ll want to find out where the bats are coming in from and then seal it up. Doing this will prevent further bats from getting into your basement.
Typically, you can evacuate the existing bats by setting up repellents, such as spotlights, mirrors, supersonic repellers, and a one-way tube.
This will let bats exit the basement, but not let them back in. The approach is no different from an attic, perhaps even easier in the basement.
Review the “how to get rid of bats in the attic” sections also, as the approach is nearly identical and doesn’t need to be written twice.
How to get rid of a bat in the house
A bat in the house is typically a sign of bats successfully taking over your basement or attic.
After bats have roosted some time in your home, they’ll go ahead and breed to propagate their colony.
Newborn bats are still learning to climb and fly, and are a lot smaller than adult bats.
Thus, they can squeeze through the tiniest of holes and crevices, which means they’ll go places larger bats could never go to.
This means that baby bats may access areas of your home such as wall voids, crawl spaces, vents, ducts, and soffits that may lead to your living quarters, bathrooms, and kitchens.
And this would mean that you would notice a bat for the first time in your home, but in reality, they’ve been there for quite some time already and newborn bats have just begun exploring your house.
Newborn bats may end up in your house by mistake
When bats end up in your living room and house, they probably didn’t mean to do so.
They may have gotten dazed and lost while exploring your attic, or somehow found a new path that leads to your living room!
Regardless, when you spot a bat in your home, there are two things you’ll want to do.
Don’t harm the bat, just drive it out
The first would be to get rid of the bat in your home.
You can drive the bat out with a long stick, such as a pole, broom, or mop. Open all your windows, doors, and other areas so the bat can escape.
As you move the bat from one room to another, close the doors to seal it off from going back to a previous room. Work your path to the exit and eventually prod the bat out of your home.
Finding the bat in your home
If the bat goes into hiding somewhere in your house, you may or may not find it again. When you do, repeat the process above.
If there’s a loose bat somewhere around your home, check these common areas where bats hide:
- Dark areas
- Under beds
- Behind furniture
These are all common areas within the home where a bat may hide.
Remember this is after the bat escapes the attic or basement and has gotten into your living quarters. Getting rid of bats that are hiding in the attic, basement, chimney, or other wall voids are covered throughout this guide in their respective sections.
After you’ve evacuated the bat, the next thing you’ll want to do is seal up the pathway the bat took to enter your home. If you need help locating it, there are sections throughout this comprehensive DIY pest control guide that you can review.
You’ll want to find out where the bat initially entered your home- was it the attic? Basement? Chimney? Or something else entirely?
Read each respective section and find out how to stop bats from entering your home again. For good.
How to get bats out of soffits
Bats in your soffit will need to be cleared by first finding the entrance and exit the bats are using.
You’ll want to place traps around this hole or crevice to drive the bats out.
You can use a mixture of traps detailed in this guide, such as:
- Motion lights
- Supersonic repellents
- DIY bat repellent
- Essential oils
Water (pressure washer)
Any of these will help keep the bats from entering back into the roosting area each time they leave to feed for the evening.
After repeated exposure to these repellents, they may leave the nest for a temporary period of time (or permanently).
When you don’t see any more bat activity for some time, you can seal up the crevice to prevent them from entering again. This will protect your soffits from another bat problem. If possible, clean up the waste they left behind.
Seal it up using caulk and barbed mesh or stainless steel mesh to prevent them from digging through the same location again.
Bats are a habit of nature and will remember their previous entryway into your soffits.
So you’ll want to seal up the creative with caulk and some kind of permanent material to keep them from tampering with it again.
How do I keep bats away from my pool?
The easiest way to accomplish this would be to use a pool cover.
Of course, simply plopping a pool cover over your pool won’t be enough to keep bats out for good.
They’ll squeeze through tiny pores around the pool cover’s edges, so you’ll want to make sure the entire perimeter of the cover has no way for them to gain entry.
Remember, they can nudge and push with their bodies, so make sure you secure the entire cover:
- Use heavy objects to pin down areas of the cover that provide an entry point to bats.
- Set up floodlights around the pool.
- Keep the pool lights on under the covers to repel bats by light.
- Set up ultrasonic sound emitters around the pool.
- Kill the bugs around your pool, and the bats will leave also. They’re only here for the bugs that are present in the area. If you get rid of the bugs, they won’t go near your pool as there are no more food sources for them to feed on.
- Hire a professional screened-in enclosure around the entire pool.
Although you may see some bats flying around the area, they’ll really ever enter the actual pool water. They’re just feeding on the bugs.
Bats around your pool aren’t something you really have to worry about on a warm summer night, but if you really don’t want them there, you’ll have to use the above preventive measures to keep them out.
How do I keep bats away from my porch?
Bats on your porch likely mean there’s an entire colony of bats around your building or actually living in your house, attic, or wall voids.
If you’re unsure, you’ll need to find out. Use the previous section “signs of bats” above to determine where the bats are roosting.
If they’re found to be living in your home, you’ll have to get rid of them from wherever they’re roosting in order to stop them from hanging out on your porch.
If they’re living just on your porch, that’ll be an easier problem to deal with.
Bats on the porch can be ridden by using a variety of methods:
- Hang mirrors
- Use ultrasonic bat repellers
- Use aluminum foil
- Use natural essential oils
- Create your own DIY bat repellent
- Mount motion sensor lights
Use a combination of defenses
A combination of the above techniques will work effectively against bats and will likely make them leave or find another area to roost.
Ensuring that the rest of your home is protected from entry is imperative before you start pushing bats out of another area. If you don’t secure your home, they’ll just leave from one area to another.
You may even make the entire problem worse if the bats migrate to an area that’s harder to drive them out, such as your soffits or attic.
How do you keep bats away permanently?
There are many ways you can keep bats away from your home, garden, or outhouse by using a variety of methods.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to use a combination of methods detailed in this pest control guide and choose a combo that works for your specification.
Every bat infestation proves to be handled differently, so you need to see which ones work for your situation and create a “custom” pest control plan.
Up the ones that work, and as for the ones that don’t, try another approach. keep trying until you find a solution that works.
How to bat-proof your home
There are many ways to bat-proof your house and garden, but the basis of it comes down to maintenance.
If you practice good housekeeping, you can greatly eliminate the number of bats flying into and out of your home.
Look for all possible entry points
Stopping bats from flying into your attic, basement, chimney, or home can be done by blocking any entryways.
This is the most obvious option, but also the only way to actually prevent bats from infesting your home. By blocking available pathways into your home, you completely eliminate possible bat colonies from getting started.
Seal up all entryways
Bats will attempt to look for another way to get into your home if you block up one entrance, so that’s why blocking up all possible entrances to your home proves to be necessary.
You must block up all possible entry points or else you’re just moving the bats from one area to another because they can’t get into their previous rooting area.
You’ll want to caulk, seal, repair, and set up traps and repellents to prevent bats permanently.
Stop bats from entering your home for good
Here are some handy tips for common practices to bat-proof your entire home:
- Repair damaged wood, soffits, bricks, or other damage to your home
- Replace damaged or torn screen nets on doors and windows
- Seal and caulk any cracks or crevices in your home’s foundation, walls, and structure
- Check vents and ducts for damaged materials and replace them
- Check roofing for missing or damaged shingles and replace them
- Apply new mortar or plaster where needed
- To prevent future bat infestations:
- Check your wall voids, crawlspace, attic, basement, and other areas such as the chimneys often for signs of bat infestations and act accordingly by driving out the bats and repairing the infrastructure
- Check your porch, deck, outhouse, and sheds for bat debris- then act accordingly
- Hire a professional to look over your home’s infrastructure to find areas that need repair
- Set up DIY bat traps
- Use DIY natural repellent
How to stop bats from coming to your garden or yard
Outdoor bats are easier to manage, as they’ll often migrate when disturbed.
There are a few things you can do to drive out bats from your garden and prevent them from coming back:
- Set up motion sensor lights
- Set up motion sensor sprinklers
- Use DIY bat traps
- Get rid of pests in your yard- if the bats have nothing to eat, they won’t roost in your yard
- Eliminate all debris, woodpiles, and other garbage
- Seal up cracks and crevices in your outhouse or shed
- Prevent bat entry to your deck or porch
- Attract natural bat predators
Did you get rid of your bat problem?
With patience and persistence, you can get rid of bats naturally by driving them out of your home or garden.
The trick is to use a variety of methods and find the combination that works for you. Thankfully, the majority of methods are free or very cheap that you can do at home to get rid of bats from your property.
Remember to always abide by local laws concerning bats. If you have any questions regarding ways to repel bats and get rid of them for good, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Or if you’ve had dealt with bats before, leave a comment below and share your wisdom!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.