How to Keep Bats Out of Your New England Home and What to Do if You Have One
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
The other day I was standing in a friend’s yard in Maine when I noticed a small black bird whiz across the sky. It was one swift motion I saw out of the corner of my eye. It caught my attention and as I looked for it again I noticed multiple small black birds darting in rapid zig zags, which is when I realized they weren’t birds at all.
They were bats.
I went from “wow!” to immediate laughter as I stood in the yard of someone who has a deep genuine fear of mice. These are literally mice with wings.
There’s a Bat in My House, What do I do?
It brought me back to my childhood home sitting in my room and all of a sudden hearing commotion out of my door. I poked my head out only for my mom to quickly yell “get back in your room and close the door!” but not quick enough for me to see the chaos of her swinging a broom around and a bat zooming around our hallway.
Apparently, what my mom was doing wasn’t actually the right way to get rid of the creature of the night. According to Animal Control, if you swat at a bat or try to hit them with something, their sonar indicator will tell it to keep swooping at you as a defense against a predator.
So, what are you supposed to do if a bat gets into your home? First off, it depends if it's a singular bat or if you have a colony problem.
How to Get Rid of a Bat in Your House
If you have just a rogue single bat that got inside, there are a couple of ways to go about it. If you’re going to handle it hands-on, wear a pair of gloves because these boys carry rabies and all sorts of diseases that you don’t want to get ahold of. The best thing you can do is isolate the bat into a single room, open a window or door, and patiently wait for it to fly outside.
If the bat is hanging somewhere, place a small box or container over it, slip a piece of paper or cardboard underneath, and manually remove it from your home outside. Trapping is the way to go; you can’t poison them like you would a land mouse in your home and it’s actually against the law in most states since they play such a pivotal role in maintaining a balance within nature.
How to Get Rid of a Bat Colony in Your House
What if it’s not a singular bat on the loose and you actually are a breeding ground for a colony of bats? That removal is going to look a little different.
The same Animal Control website shares that you should watch your house at dusk and look for the area where bats are flying in and out of and locate that as the primary area. Bats can fly into gaps as small as ⅜ of an inch so they could be sliding in through bulkheads, pet doors, windows, or even gaps around your air conditioner in the summer.
Your next move is to seal off any of these cracks or holes and block these off. Then, set a one-way exclusion netting or funnel on the primary area to be left in place for a few days until making sure no more bats are flying out at dusk. You can then remove the exclusion and seal up the spot.
As the website shares, do NOT do this during the summer maternity season because there may be flightless baby bats inside the attic and it’s actually illegal.
How to Prevent Bats From Entering Your Home
It’s pretty simple: Make sure you have no open spaces where they can get in. They are attracted to light since they feed on bugs that love it when you leave the lights on and again, they can fit into the tiniest little spaces so making sure there aren’t any open windows, holes in your screens, pet doors open, or places they could get in, you’ll be fine.