Florida is home to 13 different species of resident bats so we’ve got 13 different kinds of bats that live there all year long. These bats are really fascinating animals because bats are the only mammals that are capable of true flight. They’re, also very beneficial to us, almost all the bats in Florida feed on insects and many of the insects they feed on are actually pests to our agricultural crops. So, in general, bats are beneficial and are really fascinating, but there are instances where they can become a nuisance. For example, if you have a colony of bats that has taken up residence in a building, there may be instances where you want to safely and humanely get those bats out of the building. In view of this, this post will be looking at how you can determine for sure whether you’ve got bats in the building and if you’ve got them, how you can safely and effectively get them out of that building.
Steps to Determine and Remove Bat Safely and Effectively From Buildings.
There are different reasons why bats might roost in buildings. Sometimes they have a natural roof site nearby that’s been destroyed and they move into the building for temporary refuge, at other times the bats might actually find something in the building structure that’s desirable and that could include factor like stable temperatures and also bats like areas that are free from disturbance.
So if you think you have a colony of bats using a building but you’re not entirely sure, there are several different things that you can look forward to determine whether you have them. If the bats are in an accessible location such as an attic, you can certainly go up during the day, which is when the bats would be roosting and look if you find the actual animals themselves. Another thing that you can do if the bats are roosting in a place that’s inaccessible is you can watch the bats emerging at sunset from the building, so in this instance, what you’d want to do is walk around the building during the day looking for locations where the bats might be getting in and out of the building.
All the bats in Florida are relatively small and they can fit in and out of a cavity that’s about the size of your thumb. So you’ll basically want to walk around the building looking for any crevice that’s about the size of your thumb that bats could be getting in and out of and you want to pay especially close attention to locations around the roofline, because this is where bats often get in and out.
If there were a large colony of bats, there would probably be some light brown smudges around that entrance hole because as the bats go in and out, they tend to leave some of their body oils behind. If you find any crevices like that then what you’d want to do is watch them right at sunset. The bats would be leaving sometime between 15 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunset so you’d want to just camp out and watch that spot for that period of time to see if any bats are leaving.
Another option is to look for guano. Guano is what we call bat scat, guano is relatively small in size, it’s about the size of a tic tac and tends to be fairly dry. If you crush it between your fingers it would crumble and because the bats feed on insects if you look very carefully at a crumbled pellet, you would see small metallic flecks of insect wings.
The last thing is to actually listen for them. Bats make calls that are high in frequency and beyond the human range of hearing but in social situations when the bats are together with their roost mates, they sometimes chatter to one another, especially right before they’re getting ready to leave the roost site around sunset.
How To Convince Bats To Leave a Building.
Whenever a bat is roosting in a building, and you have colonies of bats there in buildings, the only safe and effective way to remove those Bats is through an exclusion.
An exclusion is a process where a one-way valve is put up and the bats can exit out of this valve, but they aren’t able to return an enter. In Florida, bats begin gathering to give birth to their young and mid-April. For this reason, we have the maternity season. This is a period when exclusions are not allowed. It goes from mid-April to mid-August. From 15 April to 15 August you cannot conduct an exclusion. You can safely conduct exclusions between 16 August and 14 April. When you are conducting an exclusion there are some important points to remember.
First, is that you need to make sure the temperature is compatible with bats being out flying and looking for insects. Exclusions can only be conducted when you have four forecast days where the temperatures are going to be above 50 degrees.
Another key thing to remember is that once you’ve decided to conduct the exclusion and you have those four days that are forecast. You must leave the exclusion device up for the four full days before you take it down to minimum of four night with temperatures about 50 degrees for it to be a safe and effective exclusion.
Pre Exclusion Building Checks
Before starting the exclusion, it’s important to walk around the home or the building and look for other places that bats might make in once they’re excluded from their current roosts. Around the building one of the things to look for is the screening in the soffit. Look for holes and crevices that are about the width of your thumb. Another place to check in the building is the top of the columns. Any gap between the column can allow bats to climb inside the column. These are some of the places that you might need to address before doing the exclusion.
Selecting and Installing Exclusion Materials.
There is no one simple recipe for choosing and installing exclusion devices. Each situation is unique and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
You need to assess factors such as the materials used to construct the building, the size, shape and location of bat entry holes and the size of the bat species.
In order to select the best materials to fashion your exclusion device and decide how best to attach the exclusion devices in some instances netting may be the most suitable option for excluding bats. In other cases, tubes may be the most suitable.
One effective bat exclusion is sealing up all the holes where the bats originally got into the building, you want to be sure that you seal up the holes immediately after you take down the netting don’t let even a single night go by where the bats may be able to regain entry to the building.
So, if you do have bats in your building and you haven’t done an exclusion to keep them out yet, you do want to make sure you don’t, just go and seal up all the holes where they’re coming in with bats still inside the building. That’s the biggest mistake you can make because the bats will be trapped in there and they’re not just going to sit there and nothing happen, They’re going to die or they’re going to try to get out and since you sealed up all the holes to the outside, they’re going to try to find any hole that goes inside. So we often have people that have bats come into their house and that’s sometimes after they’ve sealed up all the holes to the outside.
So if you have bats in your building, there are a couple of things that you don’t want to do because they’re either illegal or are not effective. One of the first things people like to think about doing is putting rat poison out for bats, that’s ineffective. Bat aren’t going to consume that they are insect eaters, so you will end up wasting your time with rat poison. Mothballs are the only approved repellent for bats but they’re not very effective. Some people talk about leaving lights on to keep the bats out, you can do that in some situations where you have a building that doesn’t have many cracks and crevices inside rafters to hide behind small places. If you have any of those places in the in the room and you’re trying to keep bats out they will just go into the little dark nooks and crannies.
You also may hear about ultrasonic, noisemakers or sound makers that are supposed to keep bats out. These are little instruments that generate sound that’s a higher frequency than we can hear but the bats can detect it. Those have been proven to be not effective either as the bats just get used to that noise. We’ve, heard people just gathering the bats up or even vacuuming the bats out of buildings. That of course is inhumane to the bats and also illegal.
In conclusion, if you think you may have a colony of bats in a building, there are several steps to consider. First, determine for sure whether you have a colony of bat, second check the calendar to determine if it’s bat maternity season. If it’s between 15 April and 15 August then wait, if it’s between 16 August and 14 April then check the outside of your building for bat entry points. Seal up all potential holes or crevasses that a bat could fit through. Purchase either netting or tubes appropriate for a bad exclusion and properly attach them over the holes or crevices being used by the bats so that the bats can drop out beneath the netting or through the tubes but can’t get back in.
Lastly, remove the netting or tubes after you’ve had them up for a minimum of four consecutive nights with temperatures over 50 degrees and immediately seal the holes permanently. Congratulations! You’ve, now completed your bat exclusion.