Bats in the house are a common problem, especially in the summer and in older homes or those near a river.
Bats are helpful little creatures; a bat will eat her entire weight in insects each evening. Obviously, this is great news for the prevention of West Nile, malaria and other insect-born pathogens. Bats are a great natural pesticide, also: Fewer insects = less need for harmful sprays and foggers.
However, a bat in the yard is much different than a bat in the house. Bats are wild creatures. They will bite if they feel threatened. Although humans are in more danger of contracting rabies from a dog than from a bat, bats are carriers of rabies. Bats pose a threat to your pets when cornered or trapped. Cats are especially intrigued by bats, and being superb hunters, cats can pull a flying bat out of mid-air. Bat dung or guano is also highly toxic. To remove a bat safely and humanely from your home, you need to follow these steps.
- Stay calm. Don't panic.
- Close all doors to corral the bat in one room and keep him from flying around the house.
- Put your pets in a different room and close the door.
- Turn on an overhead light. This will disorient the bat for a few moments because he will think it is daytime.
- Wait for the bat to roost. Bats roost in the daytime. He will fly to the nearest object, often a curtain. He will cling on and hang upside down quietly.
- Get a hand or dish towel and rubber gloves (optional).
- Enter the room quietly and close the door behind you.
- Carefully place the towel over the bat. Wrap it around his body and pull him gently off from your curtain.
- Talk softly to him. He is frightened and will make buzzing noises. This is his echolocation.
- Take him outdoors.
- Open the towel and wait for him to fly off. You can just open the towel and put it on the ground, also.
- The bat will not 'turn on you' or attack in any way. He is just glad to be free.
Lastly, don't worry. Bats do not indicate that you are not clean. They are just looking for a safe, warm place to raise their pups. And with bats nearby, you'll have a lot fewer insects in the yard. We live in an old home that has some resident bats; we live on the Grand River. But we have caulked off all their entrances into the house and now we can enjoy the bats' services and have almost bug-free evenings all summer long.
Marilisa Sachteleben is a special general education teacher, happily married wife and mother of four. She writes for several online communities.