Although bats provide a very important role in our environment (a single bat can eat up to 3,000 insects, including mosquitoes, in one night), they can also be dangerous if they roost in buildings or come into contact with people. It’s a myth that bats in Canada fly in your hair or suck your blood, but there are many other problems they can cause, leaving many wondering how to get rid of bats.
Property Damage from Bats
Bats commonly reside in building walls, attics or between the roof and the ceiling. Droppings and dead bats can cause severe odour, damage and contamination of property and heating/AC systems, which makes removing bats from a house all the more important
FACT: Bat colonies can range in size from one to several hundred. The longer a bat stays in a building, the greater the chances of breeding and infiltrating smaller spaces in turn making removing bats from a house more difficult. Proper removal and cleanup may eventually involve ripping out drywall, sheathing and flooring.
FACT: Bat colonies double in size every year. Bats in Ontario tend to hibernate or go back to the same property every year unless they are removed and excluded properly. They do not typically fly south for the winter and tend to roost and hibernate in places with a moderate temperature (i.e. buildings).
Health Risks from Bats
Removing bats from a house addresses a serious health concern as bats are one of the most common carriers of rabies, which if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems or even death. Symptoms can take up to six months to occur, after which it is too late to treat. Many health departments in Ontario recommend rabies treatments if exposed to a bat.
FACT: Bats can bite you when you’re sleeping or if you attempt to catch them. If inhaled, bat droppings can cause histoplasmosis, which is characterized by flu-like symptoms. The very young, very old and those with impaired immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness.
FACT: A bat can produce several times its own weight in waste each month.
How to Find Bats
If a bat is flying around inside your house or business, there’s a good chance there are more living in the attic, walls or roof. They typically sleep in tight corners and underneath insulation, so detection can be very difficult.
FACT: A bat can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
How to Get Rid of Bats
Simply closing holes doesn’t work. Bats will often find another way out (and back in again) and if they die in your house or business, they will cause odour and damage.
FACT: The most effective method for bat removal is to get rid all the bats and completely seal the entire building from further entry.
Killing or capturing a couple of bats likely won’t solve the problem, since more are living in the attic, walls or roof.
FACT: Bats hibernate when temperatures dip below 10°C (e.g. September to April) and young bats may be left to die if a parent is killed. They typically feed on a 24-48 hour cycle – removing the active bats from your house may mean you’re only catching half the colony.