Bats are not flying rodents, even though they resemble mice with wings. They have fur, give birth to live young, and are the only mammals that have achieved true flapping flight. There are almost 1,000 bat species in the world, but only a handful are native to our geographical region. They play a huge part in controlling insects, as this is their primary food source. Fall is the time of year they’re searching for hibernation sites during their mating season. This can affect you and your home and could also be a health risk.

Bat Biology

Little Brown Bat

little brown bat photo cred Ohio DNR

Big Brown Bat

big brown bat photo from Organization for Bat Conservation

These are the most common bats that everyone in the Midwest has seen at some point or another. They’re known as “urban bats” and are likely to be seen swooping under streetlights or skimming bodies of water while foraging.

Habits and Roosting

Big brown bats will form small colonies in the summer, but normally roost alone in the winter. Female roosting sites range from barns to attics while they’re mating and birthing baby bats. Males prefer tree cavities, buildings and other cracks and crevices outdoors. It’s not rare to see Big Brown bats in below freezing temperatures, hibernating in crevices.

Little Brown bats require locations that are several degrees above freezing and have no air flow or drafts. These types of bats are known to return to the same site year after year to roost unless the site is disturbed more than once. It’s almost like they have internal homing devices! LOL.

bat control illinois 

Food

These particular bats are of the first to come out of hibernation in the spring. The Big Brown bat will forage on insects all night long, every night, but is most active just after dusk. Little Browns prefer to hunt over water close to their roosting spots during the day, but can also be found above trees. They seem to enjoy beetles and hard-shelled bugs and will eat their entire body weight indulging in this activity. Picture this: a colony of 25 bats can eat a pound of insects each night! How’s that for “green” pest control!?!

echolocation to catch food

Lifespan

How long does a bat live? You’re not going to believe this, but Little and Big Brown bats have proven to live up to 20 years!! That would be under natural wild circumstances though. Hibernation disturbance, accidents, intense weather, predators and even pesticide poisoning are all factors that could shorten their natural longevity.

Conservation

Most bats are protected creatures by federal law and possibly even state law. It’s so important to know your state’s regulations on this creature, to help you determine if bat removal or bat control is something you shouldn’t just leave in the hands of a professional. Like other nuisance wildlife, there is a risk of rabies and other diseases if you come into contact with this mammal. Always be cautious not to touch these animals.

laws for bat control

Bats as a Nuisance

Just like many other wild animals in our region, bats are losing their natural habitats to housing development, commercialization and population of once wild areas. This causes them to look for other options for roosting and hibernating. Even though they play an awesome role in nature as insect predators, sometimes bats can become a nuisance if they take up residence in your home or property’s structure. A few factors that make bats a nuisance are:

  • Noise
  • Odor
  • Feces (guano)
  • Urine
  • Staining surfaces
  • People’s general fear of bats

Bat Removal

Sometimes bats get confused, lost, or end up inside your house where they obviously do not belong. Want to know how to remove a bat from the house? Follow these steps:

  • Don’t Panic. If you’re terrified of bats or too skittish to handle the situation calmly, get someone who is to help you out.
  • Provide access to outside. Wait until dusk and just open a window or door.
  • Turn off all inside light sources. Bats follow light to find their way out. Shutting off TVs, night lights, and lamps in the room the bat is located will help them see light outside. You can turn an outside light on to help.
  • Do not chase it. If you do the two things above, it will find its own way out. I promise.
  • Never touch a bat with bare hands. It will bite to defend itself, as any wild animal would.
  • Never pick up a bat from the ground. It could be rabid or ill. You don’t want to take that risk. Trust me.
  • Never try to capture a flying bat. You will most likely hurt the bat and yourself.
  • If the bat is resting on your wall, you may try to slide a piece of cardboard under it while holding a coffee can over it, but please wear gloves in case it gets freaked out. We don’t need any tragedies.
  • If someone is bitten by a bat, clean the wound very thoroughly with soap and water and consult your physician for further help.

Bat Control

Do you hear squeaks in the walls or the ceiling? Maybe you’ve noticed animals flying out of your house at dusk or in the evening? Or perhaps you’ve seen mystery stains appearing on your shutters or on your dormers… These are some good signs that you may have a bat colony roosting in your house.

guano stains on house

Stains are a solid sign you’ve got bat traffic happening. The stains are from bat urine, feces and the oils in their fur. As they come and go, they’ll leave their mark. Bat droppings look very similar to mouse droppings. They’re black or dark brown, the size of a grain of rice, they’re easy to crumble and they sparkle.

HOLD UP. SPARKLY POOP?

Yes! Sparkles. It comes from all the irridescent insect wings and parts they’ve consumed. Fancy, huh? No joke! 🙂 Don’t be fooled by the sparkles, though. Guano is very dangerous to human health and can cause respiratory issues if accumulated.

Anyways, if you have the telltale signs of bats in your house, call a professional. Honestly, there are so many nooks and crannies that bats can fly through that it’s very difficult for homeowners to tackle this on their own. Plus, if you seal up certain crevices during the wrong time of year, you could force the bats further into the living spaces of your house.

Rose will help you with bat control. They don’t call our special services director “batman” for no reason!

Bat Proofing Your House

Proactive is always better than reactive. If you know your neighborhood has a lot of bat activity during certain seasons in the year, or your neighbor has had a problem with bats in the attic in the past, it would be very wise to consider bat proofing your house before it effects you as well. Bat proofing, or exclusion, can be done very effectively and will save you money and hardships down the line not only with bats, but also with other nuisance wildlife and insects!

exclusion for the house

Exclusion is:

  • A completely green service
  • Sealing gaps where pests can enter
  • Installing door sweeps to eliminate air flow
  • Using vent guards and chimney caps to close entries to the inside of the house
  • Eliminating food sources for animals around the house
  • Adding TAP insulation to your attic

Each situation is unique and there may be more or less to your particular exclusion service, but our professionals will discuss options with you after inspecting to figure out the best solutions for you and your property.

Bats in your belfry?

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