One of the most unique and amazing attractions in Austin is watching the bats emerge from under the South Congress bridge at dusk. As remarkable a sight it may be from the edges of the bridge, it is decidedly less amusing when you find the bats emerging from your basement or attic. Although bats are great for the environment around your home (they eat pesky insects like mosquitoes), they can cause property damage through their droppings or by accidentally crashing into belongings.
Luckily, there are several ways you can bat-proof your home to prevent bats from becoming your new roommates.
1. Identify Possible Entryways for Bats
Bats can enter your home through openings less than an inch in diameter. They typically choose entrances that are high off the ground. Common places bats use as a door to your home are through loose or broken window screens, missing roof shingles, or porches and window wells that lead to the basement. Also check your chimney for bats, especially before using it. Often bats do not enter the chimney through the top, but rather through spots where the chimney has decayed or gaps where the chimney meets the roof.
2. Seal Up Entryways
Depending on the gap, you may need some sort of sealant, insulation, or netting. Do make sure that all bats are out of your home before you seal up these spaces, or else you will essentially be locking them into your house.
3. Secure Your Home During the Right Season
It’s best to bat proof your home during fall or winter because that’s when bats leave to hibernate. If you seal up your home in spring or summer, baby bats who can’t fly may get trapped inside, provoking adult bats to break into your home to get to their young.
4. Do Not Use Chemical Repellants or Poisons
Chemical repellants are both ineffective and inhumane. The best way to secure your home from bats is to have any current animals humanely removed and then blocking entrances to prevent future intrusion. Do NOT attempt to kill or poison the bats; this is a state and federal violation.
These are some quick ways to bat-proof your home, but if bats repeatedly enter your home or you are unsure how to remove them, it is recommended that you call a professional. Although bats are unlikely to attack humans, most animals will still defend themselves if threatened. Bats do not carry the same health risks as rodents do, but they can still disrupt your life. Having pests safely removed and then working to prevent further entry is not only a longer lasting solution, but a more humane one.