Bats, the flying mammals of the Chiroptera family, are generally harmless and can even be beneficial to have around, especially for controlling harmful insects. They eat lots of mosquitoes, bugs, and other dangerous insect pests.
Despite this obvious benefit, some people are still worried about the potential damage that bats can cause to their homes when they decide to roost on your property. But could bats actually do any damage to your house?
So, Can Bats Do Structural Damage to Homes?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Bats can cause damage to your home if they roost there. In fact, there are a number of ways that bats could potentially damage your home. One way is if they roost in large numbers in a small space, like an attic. This can cause bat guano (poop or dropping) to build up, which is not only smelly but can also attract other pests like rats and cockroaches. The guano can cause rot in your insulation and wood as well as create stains on ceilings.
Here are other ways that bats could damage your home:
Holes and Cracks
Bats could create holes or cracks in your walls or ceiling as they come and go from their roost. These holes can let in not only bat guano but also rainwater, which can cause water damage to your home.
Bats Can Bring in Other Pests
Because bat guano can attract other pests like rats and cockroaches, bats could potentially bring these other pests into your home as well. This can create a whole new set of problems that you’ll need to deal with.
Bat Feces is Corrosive
Unlike mice, rats, and other rodents that cause damage by chewing on wires and other objects, bats cause damage with their guano, which is quite corrosive and can cause rot.
This is because bat droppings are high in ammonia, a compound that can break down organic material. Over time, this can erode wood and insulation, causing stains on ceilings and other surfaces.
Guano Build-Up Could Cause Ceiling to Collapse
In some cases, the build-up of guano can be quite substantial, and if it’s not cleaned up, it could actually cause your ceiling to collapse, especially if the spot has been compromised by rot or water damage.
Bat Waste Can Cause Stains in the Wall and Ceilings
Bat urine and droppings can also cause stains on your ceilings and walls. These stains seep into porous surfaces like wood and drywall, causing discoloration. These stains can be quite difficult to remove and may require professional cleaning.
Bats Waste Can Cause Bad Odor in Your House
You may think bats in your house are OK because they are quiet. But, the bat waste they leave behind can cause a very bad odor in your house. This odor can quickly fill up small spaces, like attics, and can easily seep into the living areas of your house making your whole house stink.
Bat Diseases and Parasites
Like many other wild animals, bats also lead to health risks. This can range from being mildly annoying, such as itchiness from bat bites, to deadly, like rabies. Bats can also carry parasites that can infest your homes, such as mites and fleas. So, while bats have some benefits, they can certainly cause some problems as well.
The following are the different diseases and parasites bats can transmit to humans:
Rabies – bats are one of the leading carriers of this deadly virus in the US. This virus is transmitted through bat bites or scratches. If left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.
Histoplasmosis – this is a lung infection caused by inhaling spores of a fungus that come from bat droppings and other birds. When this happens, you may experience fever, chest pain, and coughing up blood when you have this disease.
Salmonellosis – salmonellosis is food poisoning caused by eating food contaminated with bat guano. Symptoms will include diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. This disease is usually not fatal but can be severe in young children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems.
Bat Mites (bat bugs)– are tiny parasitic mites that live on bats. But, if you come in contact with these mites, they can bite and cause skin irritation.
While the transmission of these diseases and parasites is not very common, it is still important to be aware of the risks. If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Why Do Bats Enter My House?
There are a few reasons why these flying creatures would want to enter your home. One reason is that they are looking for a place to roost or rest during the day. Bats are nocturnal animals and your attics, crawl spaces, and even wall voids make for the perfect bat roost.
Another reason could be that they are looking for a place to raise their young. Female bats usually give birth to one or two baby bats, called “pups.” They will look for a warm, dark place to raise their pups until they are old enough to fly and fend for themselves.
Getting Rid of Bats
Now that we’ve gone over why bats are in your house and the damage they can cause, it’s time to get rid of them. The best way to do this is to call a professional bat removal company like AAAC Wildlife Removal. We will provide the best solution for your bat problem.
If you don’t want to call a professional, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of the bats yourself. We’ve provided a few steps below:
Step 1: Find the entry points.
We already know that bats are flying creatures, so be sure to search for obvious areas first. Your chimneys, cable vents, or roof vents.
If your house doesn’t have any of these, look for small cracks or holes in your walls, ceilings, and around your windows. Bats can squeeze through very tiny spaces, so be sure to check both the inside and outside of your home.
Also check your porch roofs, drip edges, wood sidings, soffits, loose roof shingles, and gaps on walls. Many bats find these common areas suitable enough to hide from the daylight.
Remember that entry points are usually very tiny cracks or gaps, so you’ll need to inspect your home thoroughly inside and out. Once you find the entry points, you can start to seal them up.
Step 2: Allow the bats to get out but not back in
Once you’ve found all the entry points that bats are using to get into your home, you can seal them up except for one. In this access point, you will need to place a device that allows bats to fly out of your home but not back in.
There are a few ways you can do this:
1. You can use bat cones, which are devices that you place over the hole that lets bats out but not back in.
2. You can use bat valves which are pretty similar to bat cones. These are tube-like one-way devices that fit over the hole the bat uses to get in. The bat can then go out, but not back in.
3. You can use a screen or netting to cover the holes. If you use a screen, you should place it like a rectangular tube with two openings. One opening is attached to the crack and the other leads outside. The outer end of the screen should not be at the level of the hole.
These devices all serve the same purpose, when bats try to go out at night, they will hit the bat valve/ bat cone/ screen and be redirected outside, but when they attempt to go back, they won’t be able to because of the one-way device.
Step 3: Repair the holes and entry points
Once the bats have been removed from your home, it’s time to really make sure they can’t come back. To do this, you’ll need to repair anything that might be acting as an entry point. This includes cracks in your walls, holes in your ceilings, and gaps around your windows.
This is a crucial step, as bats can squeeze through incredibly small spaces. Be sure to double-check both the inside and outside of your home for any cracks or holes, no matter how small.
You can use several sealants available at your local hardware stores. Choices may include a wire mesh that is half an inch wide or less, new boards, plaster, or foam sealants.
Prevent Bats from Entering Your Property
The best way to keep a colony of bats from roosting in your home is to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. Here are some tips to help you do that:
Check for Holes around your house
In order to find the point of entry for these pests, you will want to check for holes around your house. This can be a difficult task as some of these animals are incredibly small and they can fit even the very tight spaces. For this reason, it is important to do a thorough inspection of your home.
You should check some familiar places around your windows, along the roof line, in the attic, crawlspace, and chimney. Once you have found the point of entry, you can then take the necessary steps to block it so the bats cannot return.
Seal Small Passages
As we mentioned, some bat species can enter your home, even through extremely slim or tiny entry points. In fact, they can go through one that is as small as 3/8 of an inch.
There are some ways that you can seal off these tiny spaces, which include caulk, steel wool, and screening material. But, if you’re unsure how to seal the passage correctly, you can always contact a wildlife control company for assistance.
Install Bat Houses
You can prevent bats from roosting in your home by installing bat houses in your yard. By doing this, you will provide these animals with an alternative roosting spot that is far away from your house.
You should note that bat house installation should occur after the current colony of bats has been removed from your home, as they will not move into the bat house if bats are already roosting in your house.
Did you know that…
- Bats “see” with sound! Although they still have eyes, these creatures use bat sonar (Sound Navigation And Ranging) to navigate in the dark. This is a sophisticated process we call “echolocation.”
- Not all bats hibernate and migrate, but some do both. Species like the brown bat hibernate for as long as six months; Pteropus or flying fox do not hibernate since they generally exist in countries where food is consistent.
- Some people go hunting for bats for reasons such as food or perceived medical value.
- Bats pollinate! They are essential pollinators in deserts or tropical climates. Bats from Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands often visit flowers for their pollen, nectar, or seed, which is how they influence pollination. Some would also frequent a tree for their fruit.
- Bats hide primarily in a cave, so predators looking for prey are not their most significant threat! Instead, millions of them die from a disease called white-nose syndrome.
- In bats, the longest recorded wings reach 5 feet! And the smallest wingspan measured only over 5 inches.
Professional Bat Removal
There’s no better solution to your bat problem than getting professionals like us at AAAC Wildlife Removal. We will quickly and efficiently remove the bats from your home while also taking the necessary steps to prevent them from returning.
Whether it’s a bat problem, a raccoon infestation, or other forms of destructive and uninvited creatures, you can count on us to get the job done right. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation!
In short, bats can and will damage your house if they take up roosting there. Their urine and guano often cause property damage and pose danger to human health. If you think you may have bats in your home, get rid of them before they do any more damage, call AAAC Wildlife Removal today!