How do I get rid of bats in my attic in the winter?

Answered by Frank Schwing

Getting rid of bats in your attic during the winter requires a humane and effective approach. Here are some steps you can take to address the issue:

1. Identify entry and exit points: Start by inspecting your attic and surrounding areas to locate where the bats are entering and exiting. Look for gaps, cracks, or holes in the roof, vents, chimney, or any other openings where bats can gain access. Bats can squeeze through small openings, so be thorough in your search.

2. Observe bat activity: Spend some time observing the bats to determine their patterns and behavior. Bats usually leave their roosts at dusk to feed and return before dawn. Note the locations where they enter and exit, as this will help you plan your removal strategy.

3. Install one-way exclusion devices: Once you have identified the entry and exit points, you can install one-way exclusion devices. These devices allow bats to leave but prevent them from re-entering. One popular option is a bat cone, which is a funnel-shaped device that allows bats to exit but not re-enter. Install these devices over the identified entry points, ensuring they are securely fastened.

4. Seal entry points: After several nights of observing no bat activity, it is safe to assume that all the bats have left your attic. Now, it’s important to seal all entry points to prevent future infestations. Use materials such as caulk, mesh, or weatherstripping to seal any gaps or openings. It is crucial to do this carefully, ensuring you don’t seal any points while bats are still inside.

5. Consider professional assistance: If you’re unsure about handling the situation yourself or if you have a large bat colony, it may be wise to seek professional help. Wildlife control experts can safely remove the bats and provide long-term solutions to prevent their return.

6. Practice bat conservation: Bats play a crucial role in the ecosystem by controlling insect populations. If you’re dealing with a small number of bats or if they are not causing significant problems, you might consider leaving them alone. Installing bat houses nearby can provide alternative roosting sites and encourage bats to relocate naturally.

7. Clean and sanitize the area: After the bats have been removed, it’s important to clean and sanitize the affected area. Bats can leave behind droppings (guano) that may carry diseases and create an unpleasant odor. Use appropriate protective gear such as gloves and masks while cleaning. Remove the guano, vacuum any remaining debris, and disinfect the area thoroughly.

Remember, it is illegal to harm or kill bats in many regions due to their protected status. Additionally, killing bats can lead to further complications, such as the smell of decomposing bats. By following these steps, you can safely and effectively remove bats from your attic in a humane manner.