Bats At The Cottage

Hey Campers! Another great cottage weekend under our belts, sunshine lollipops and rainbows and everything that’s wonderful…..well….mostly……

This was a fabulous weekend with lots of sunshine and warm weather, I was swimming, boating, carpentry working, campfire sitting, dart playing and counting bats in the belfry……wait a minute….bats in the belfry?

Yup, on Friday night we watched and counted 7 bats fly out from the corner of the cottage where the veranda roof meets the cottage roof. There is a little hole in the fascia board that is apparently enough room for a brown bat to squeeze into…..a lot of little brown bats actually.

Brown bats, which are apparently the most common in our neck of the woods, are quite small and quite numerous in some areas. They do a great job battling insects, but they can also be a problem in your house attic or eaves.

Their droppings can be quite toxic and smelly and generally unhealthy for humans. Brown bats can live for about 12 – 24 years which means a colony can grow quite big in number over time, and become quite engrained in living in the same house as they grew up. In this case, my cottage.

Now I appreciate brown bats and the job they do battling mosquitos and other varmits that fly in the night sky around the cottage and the lake as much as the next guy. (According to my sources, each bat eats up to half its body weight in insects every night, which equates to 1,000 to 3,000 mosquitoes.)

However, I don’t like the idea of living in the same house as brown bats, or even close to them. Although not common they can carry rabies and other not-so-nice stuff so on Saturday night we hatched a plan…..Of course that plan involved Doug on a ladder….(you didn’t think it was gonna be me did you?)

The plan was simple, all we had to do was wait and watch for 7 bats to fly out of the little hole in the fascia, then simply fill in the hole so they couldn’t get back inside and would need to find other accomodations.

Saturday night found Wendy in the screen room camera at the ready, Darlene on the lawn, her camera at the ready and me ducking behind her. We waited…..we watched…..and then, suddenly one tiny bat appeared, coming out of the hole and dropping down as if he jumped from the roof before taking wing and heading skyward.

Of course I screamed and ducked when he seemed to be heading towards us. He was followed by number two, then number three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven…….wait a minute? Eleven? We thought there were seven bats, but no, there were eleven!!

That’s a lot of bats as far as I am concerned. We waited quite a long time to make sure no more came out and then Doug had a look with the flashlight and a stick to ensure they were all gone on their night time flights. They were, their little hiding place was empty.

There should be a bat in the following picture flying down toward the camera but unfortunately he was quicker than the camera shutter and we missed him.

So we waited and watched for about another 30 minutes until no more appeared. Then Doug got the ladder and went in, as I described it, just like one of the soldiers who used to go into the tunnels in Viet Nam after the enemy. He was equipped with a piece of stick, a flashlight and can of Expanding Foam and nothing else…He bravely poked the stick into the crevice and worked it around to see if there were any left.

There weren’t, apparently 11 was the magic number. Satisfied that they were all out and flying free, he filled the crevice and their entry exit point with expandable foam. A temporary measure until we have time to put on a new fascia board and make sure they have no cracks or crevices to use as an entry point.

Expansion foam is not something I necessarily would recommend for stopping bats because it can be toxic if they eat it. However, in our case it was handy and enabled a quick fix in the short term before the problem became any worse.

There is a system where you can use a bread bag with the bottom cut out that will allow the bats to exit but not re-enter, which might be OK, but in this case where we had them all out, it didn’t seem necessary. They were out…we just made it so they stay out!

These little creatures are a big part of the reason why I wanted to build a screen room on the front of the cottage. It’s great to be able to sit outside at night and not worry about bats and mosquitos and other flying stuff buzzing around your head. In fact as cottage renovations go, this screen room is one of my all time favorites.

I thought that would be the end of it, and I suppose it was, except now, as I laid in bed last night thinking about it, the question of where they are going to go now nagged at me. At least with them in the corner I knew where they were, no surprises so to speak….now we are left to wonder where they might turn up next!

According to the info I could find, it is likely that they will hang around and try to find a new entrance into the house or a house nearby. At least until the weather turns colder and they head for caves or abandoned mines.

I have thought about hanging a bat house in a nearby tree before now, so perhaps now that this has happened it might be all the motivation I need to get them their own place to live. I am not against the little critters, just not interested in becoming bunk buddies with them, sorry, but I am not. A “bat in the eaves” is too close to a “bat in the house” for my liking.

A previous post about Bats Here!
Information about brown bats and what to do when bats become a nuisance is Here and Here Both of these articles explain what you can do about nuisance bats as well as provide a diagram to help you build a bat house.

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One thought on “Bats At The Cottage”

  1. I had a similar problem with birds in my eves. My solution was to place a ladder near the entrance there are quite a few stray cats around the place so in a couple days no more birds.