Something most cottagers are familiar with, and something I have written about before, are Little Brown Bats Yes, bats, those little winged rodents that swoop and fly around in the night air catching flies, apparently using nothing but a very well developed radar system.
I hadn’t really given much thought to bats lately, because I don’t have a bat problem, at least not that I know of, knock on wood….I hope I don’t…but I do have a co-worker who was telling me today about having 4 in her attic, and wondering if I knew what to do about that. What to do about bats in the belfry so to speak.
Well, as I am an expert on absolutely nothing, as it says in the disclaimer at the bottom of this page, I proceeded to tell her some things she could do. Then I got to wondering if I had a clue at all about how to get bats out of the house.
However, here are some of the things I came up with.
1) Put a bat house on the outside of the house, or a nearby tree, get them going to that instead of inside the house. Wondering what a bat house looks like, or how to build a bat house? Here is a site to show you how how to build a bat house and another one Here
There is also a picture and link to a bat house you can buy at the bottom of this post.
2) Stand outside the house at dusk and try to see where they are getting in and out. Just about dusk on a clear night is when your bats should start out for their nightly flights.
Once you figure out where they are coming in and out, wait until the next night when they are all out, and plug the hole.
Steel wool works pretty good in the short term for keeping bats out, although you should replace it with calking or wood later on. Just be sure they are all out before you close the entrance/exit. That means waiting until it is very dark as they don’t all leave immediately.
Some folks fasten netting with wood strips sealed on the top and two sides and open on the bottom. Apparently the bats can get out through the bottom, but not back inside. Depending on where the bats are, this is a viable option and one that should ensure you don’t trap any bats inside when you seal up their entrance.
3) If you get inside the attic during the night when the bats are outside, spray an animal repellant where you think the bats hang out.
Might even be worth trying one of the stronger fly sprays, like Muskol or Deep Woods Off.
4) Hanging mylar balloons or strips of tin foil in the attic that will flutter and move with any little wind might discourage them from staying.
5) Installing several bright lights in the attic and leaving them on 24-7 may also discourage bats from hanging around. Remember, they like dark places. Take away the darkness and they may change their mind. Just be cautious with lights on all the time because of fire hazards. You don’t want to burn the camp down because of a few bats in the attic.
6) Moth balls….some folks say throwing moth balls around the attic will discourage bats and mice from making your attic their home. However, I’ve also read that you would need so many moth balls to be effective, they would actually become a danger to your health. I think I would still place some around the attic, just don’t get carried away.
If you manage to get the bats to go outside of your cottage, but you still want the little critters around to keep the insects in check, I’d go with a bat house, and if you don’t want to build one, here is one you can buy, this is the Woodlink NABAT Audubon Bat Shelter
If none of the above works to get rid of bats, I suggest you call in a professional. It’s possible your little home away from home has also become a home to a bat colony, lots of bats….and in those cases, which usually include a mother bat and babies, it can be very difficult to get them out. A professional may be needed. It is not feasible to leave them alone as they will multiply and they will return each year in bigger numbers.
Little Brown Bats are in danger, and as such it is illegal to harm them here in Nova Scotia and I suspect other places. They are suffering from a disease called “white nose syndrome” So it is important that you take measures that will remove the bats or convince them to remove themselves, without harming them. A brown bat can eat something like 1000 times it’s own body weight in flies and bugs on any given night. They are doing a good thing for you, it’s just that you don’t want to live with them. So by all means, try to get them out of the camp or house, but try not to harm them in the process.
Want some more ideas? Here is another post about bats: How To Get Rid Of Bats
Little Brown Bat Picture: Wilkipedia Creative Commons – United States Fish and Game