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Why and How Bats Get In Your Home

A baby bat inside an attic

Bats are great animals, and a key part of the environment and our ecosystem. Bats only become a problem when they decide to use an attic or other section of a home or building as a roosting or nursery colony.

Most people do not tolerate that idea very well, and it becomes necessary to evict the bats and repair the structure as needed to prevent them from entering in the future. Accumulations of their droppings (guano) can cause health, odour and insect problems, which is the primary reason bats should be excluded from a structure occupied by a wildlife control company.

Why and How do I end up having bats living in my house?

People seldom notice small cracks or gaps on higher buildings, but a 1/2″ crack in a mortar joint 30 or 40 feet off the ground becomes a superhighway for bats to enter a structure. Since they are nocturnal and for the most part very quiet animals, they often use attics for years before the odor from the build-up of droppings alerts us to their presence.

Bats often get into attics by slipping into the gap between the soffit overhang and the exterior brick

If you had bats flying inside your home this means that you probably have bats living somewhere in your walls or attic.

Usually the first time you have bat flying around the inside of your house there is a slight chance that they might entered from an open door or window and it can be dismissed as a one-of event. But if that happens repeatedly then we can safely say that you have some bats living in your home.

Baby bat season

Baby bats are born in the early summer. They are very small and have little fur.  When their mothers go out to feed in the evening the unsupervised babies sometimes go exploring inside the walls and attic and become lost, ending up in living areas, having fallen through small gaps inside the home. Baby bats become mobile through late summer and without much experience they tend to get lost more often than adults.

Open windows

On very rare occasions bats may mistakenly fly through open windows when hunting insects.  These are often isolated incidences and don’t necessarily mean that there is a roost near the property.  However, it does suggest that there is a colony within the local area and that means your home is susceptible to future infestation.

Bat droppings found on window sills are a sure sign of bat activity around your home

Bats, like all wildlife, look for a place that offers protection and a comfortable temperature where they can live and thrive. Unfortunately your home satisfies both requirements. Bats, depending on the species tend to reside either in your attic or in your walls. There are two species of bat that can infest your residence –  Little Brown Bats and Big Brown Bats.

Little Brown Bats are known for migrating back and forth between attics where they spend spring and summer and caves where they hibernate for winter. Unfortunately for Little Brown Bats, they have gone nearly extinct as White Nose Syndrome found in caves and mines has killed millions of them across North America.

White Nose Syndrome syndrome is caused by a fungal growth that attaches to bats who hibernate in caves and abandoned mines. The fungus attaches to bats and forcing them out of hibernation which causes them to expend winter fat reserves prematurely resulting in their death. Little Brown Bats are commonly associated with roosting inside homes and structures in rural areas.

If you live in a built up area (city or subdivision) it is highly unlikely that you will have Little Brown Bats living in your home.

In contrast, Big Brown Bats are hearty enough to live inside buildings and homes year round. These bats don’t migrate to caves and mines for winter and therefore have not been exposed to the deadly fungus.

The majority of bat problems we see involve Big Brown Bats. Their colonies tend to be smaller than those of Little Brown Bats.

Finally, the answer to why you have bats is that they decided to establish a colony in your home because it provides a safe environment with stable temperatures for them to live, mate and raise their young. Bats only need a very opening to access an attic, any small gap or crack between building materials could be an entry. Regardless of the age or condition of the home, the potential for bat entry exists. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control sees bat problems in new and old homes alike.

How do they end up flying in my house?

It’s important to remember that bats who make their way into your bedroom or living room don’t want to be there. There’s no food for them eat (insects) and it’s not nearly dark or cozy enough for them to roost. In most cases, bats found inside the living space of the home have found their way there from attic by accident. But how do bats get lost?

As an attic cools down at night during the summer, cool outside air is drawn in through any cracks or holes, and the bats follow these air currents to familiar exit holes. It is very common for bats to find their way into the living quarters of homes, usually during warmer summer temperatures when we use our air conditioning. The cool air from your home can escape into the attic through very small cracks and holes, and the bats simply follow the currents, accidentally ending up in your living area. They do not want to be in your home, but are simply reacting to cool air currents on instinct. What they really want is a sky full of flying insects to eat. Sometimes the bats that enter the home are young ones trying to find their way outside for the first time.

Once bats find an entry in your residence, they use two locations as their living space, the attic and the walls. Most people believe that if they don’t see a bat in the attic, this means that they do not have an infestation. This is not true. Speaking for Big Brown Bats which are the majority of the infestations, the walls of your home are the preferred living location. The reason why they prefer the walls instead of the attic is temperature.

The walls maintain a stable temperature way better than the attic where, especially in the summer months, it can get really hot. Bats are very sensitive to temperature variations, and these variations drive them up and down the walls as they try to find a suitable temperature.  When this happens bats sometimes get lost inside your walls and they end up in your living space.

We always see a spike in bat calls whenever the temperature rises quickly over a short period of time. The sudden change has sent the bats inside the walls of homes scrambling downward in search of more comfortable conditions. Invariably some will travel too far downward and become lost.

The main location where lost bats end up is the basement and especially unfinished sections of basements. Because all the pipes go up and down through the walls of your house there are gaps between the floors and bats use them to end up in the basement. The air ducts that run throughout your home give bats the chance to end up just about anywhere.

NEVER try to catch a flying bat you are likely to injure it severely and it may even bite in self-defense. Sometimes in the summer, young bats, which are inexperienced flyers, will become exhausted before finding their way out. They may try to land on a wall or curtains, or they may crash land on furniture or the floor.

Understanding basic bat behavior helps us realize what causes them to enter the living quarters of our homes. Bats are very sensitive to air currents, and the cool air which enters an attic after sunset is what triggers the bats to exit the structure and feed each night.

Protect your home from bat invasions by calling Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today! Proudly Serving: Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Sudbury, St. Catharine’s, Guelph, Cambridge and the Niagara Region.

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About the author:Founder of Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control in 1989. Canada's largest urban wildlife removal and exclusion company. Industry leader and pioneer. Split, Scram, Scoot! However you want to say it, Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control has helped over 200,000 home owners and businesses safely and effectively resolve their wildlife issues. Happy to discuss business and franchising opportunities

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