Bats are not selective when it comes to choosing a house to rest and nest in. They can happen to anybody, regardless of their property age or location. If you suspect that you have bats in your attic, there are some things you need to know to help you deal with them. This post explains how to recognise when you might have a bat situation and how to deal with it through the proper channels.
How to Tell If You Have Bats
Bats are usually quite hard to spot. They are fairly quiet, and they tend to hide in dark corners far out of sight from humans and away from potential predators (such as domestic pets). Therefore, the first sign that might raise your suspicions is normally subtle. The following three clues are reliable ways to tell whether or not you have them in your attic.
Bat Droppings: Bat droppings stain walls, have a strong smell that lingers in the air, and tend to be small and black. They are not dissimilar to what you would expect from another rodent style creature, but they are crumbly in consistency and tend to turn to dust fast. You can normally find bat droppings in and around where they rest. This, for bats, can be in the roost and other high places. They have no designated fouling areas, so it is normally found fairly close by to the physical animal.
Bat Noises: Bats make squeaking noises that are often undetectable for human ears owing to their ultrasonic nature. What we can hear is more like a chittering or a click of sorts, distinctively different from a bird or a mouse. This is the sound that projects off walls and such when they are in the process of communicating with one another. You might also notice faint wing flapping noises or perhaps some scratching from their trademark claws.
Look Up: Bats hang upside down in high places. This is because flying is only possible from a falling position, unlike birds. It is also because it makes it easier to shield themselves from any predators that may be on the hunt for a snack. So, if you think that you have a bat problem in the attic, look up to the roof and the eaves, as this is the most likely place to spot them. You can also do some surveillance outside of the property and watch the potential entry points. The best time to do this is at twilight hours such as dusk as this is when bats are most actively hunting for food and flying around. They will fly in and out of roosting areas and are quite easy to spot owing to their highly recognisable appearance.
How to Address Bats in the Attic
Bats can potentially be a nuisance species when you have them in your home, therefore, the best course of action is to seek professional advice. It is worth noting that you can’t use poison or try to kill the bats as you might with rats or mice and other pest infestations owing to their protected status as per the law of this country. Therefore, you are left with limited options. But don’t fret. Bats often live out their lives stealthily, never even noticed by the humans they share their space with. They won’t come into the house, unless brought there by an attacker, and they definitely will never seek out interaction with you.
Detect Bats with a Professional Bat Survey
A survey to find bats can be a good way forward. You can look into a bat surveyor from Arbtech, who have comprehensive schemes for a range of circumstances. For example, if you are seeking planning permission and the site has a suspected bat roost, you are required to go through the correct channels to ensure their welfare throughout your project. Some planning permissions can be delayed or denied if you don’t do this and an Arbetch bat surveyor will provide a route forward.
Know the Law
Regardless of species — and there are around 17 known species here in the United Kingdom — bats are protected. This means that by law you cannot interfere with their roosting arrangements, remove them, or have them killed or harmed. If you, do you are completely culpable by law for a penalty which could be a fine or more. Their protected status derives from their dwindling numbers and fear of potential species extinction.
Use Shiny Objects
Despite not being able to touch bats or physically remove them, you can do a few things to make them want to leave of their own volition. One of the top ways to combat a bat colony is to utilise anything shiny that you might have laying around — this can even be a mirror. Bats notoriously dislike shiny objects (think tinfoil, Christmas decorations etc.), so if you put these around it may put them off coming back or staying put in the first place.
Leave Them Be
Bats pose very little threat to you, your family, and your home. Therefore, a good way to deal with them is to not do anything at all. It is rare that they will come into your living space and cause a nuisance, and there is a good chance that you have had bats for a number of years and just never realised. You do have the option of blocking any spaces where you see them coming into your home but if, and only if, they have left your property of their own accord. Interfering with a roosting bat in any way is against the law so you cannot force them out. This is very important.
Wherever you fall on bat issues, it is essential to remember that these creatures are protected by the law. While roosting, they do not cause any issues in the home, and they cannot damage property in any real sense. A survey is a good way to confirm their presence, but there are not many more options.