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Bats in the Attic? Here’s How to Protect Your Home

By June 13, 2024No Comments
bats in attic

Bats in your attic can lead to some significant problems, from health hazards to structural damage caused by their nesting habits. They’re nocturnal and are often drawn to the warmth and shelter of attics – so it’s not uncommon to suspect bats in your attic!

If you’ve noticed a few tell-tale signs, it’s time to act. In this article, we’ll explain why bats choose attics, how to know they’re there, and the steps you can take to safely restore your space.

Why Bats Choose Attics

Bats are drawn to attics for several reasons, making them a common hideout. Primarily, they’re drawn to your home’s upper level due to:

  • Warmth and Shelter: Attics provide a warm, dry, and safe environment, ideal for roosting and raising their young. The insulation in attics helps maintain a consistent temperature, which is particularly attractive to bats.
  • Food Sources: Bats feed on insects, and homes near water sources or gardens are likely to have abundant insect populations. The proximity of attics to these food sources makes them a convenient roosting spot.
  • Quiet and Darkness: Attics offer the darkness and seclusion bats need during the day. These spaces are usually undisturbed, providing a perfect daytime refuge.
  • Easy Entry: Bats can enter through small gaps or cracks in the roof, vents, or eaves. If your attic has easy entry points, it becomes an even more attractive option for bats looking for a new home.
Detecting bats in the attic by spotting these signs.

Signs of Bats in Your Attic

One of the clearest red flags of bats will be their droppings left behind. Bat droppings are small, dark, and pellet-like. You might find piles of guano near entry points or scattered across your attic floor. Unlike rodent droppings, bat guano crumbles easily and may glisten due to insect exoskeletons.

Bats can also leave greasy, brown stains around entry points. You might also notice a strong, musty odor from their droppings and urine, especially if the infestation is large.

Listen for rustling, squeaking, or fluttering sounds, particularly at dusk and dawn when bats are most active. These noises can indicate bats moving around or exiting and entering the attic.

Additionally, seeing bats flying around your home at dusk or dawn is a strong indicator. You might also spot them roosting in dark corners of your attic if you inspect carefully.

Finally, a sudden increase in insects around your home could suggest bats are nearby, as they feed on these pests.

Health Risks and Dangers

The nuisance of bats in your attic may be the first issue that comes to mind, but there are more serious risks as well. Bat droppings can harbor a fungus that causes histoplasmosis, a respiratory illness. When guano accumulates, the spores can become airborne and pose a risk to anyone inhaling them.

Although rare, bats can also carry rabies. Direct contact with a bat or a bat bite can transmit this serious disease to humans and pets.

Over time, bat droppings and urine can corrode wood and other building materials. This can lead to structural damage, requiring costly repairs. The strong, musty odor from bat guano and urine can permeate your home, and stains around entry points can be difficult to clean, attracting other pests.

Confirming and Addressing Attic Bats

Once you’ve suspected signs, it’s important to confirm what you’re noticing and act promptly but safely. First, during the day, carefully inspect your attic with a flashlight. Look in dark corners, on beams, and in or near insulation.

Examine the exterior of your home, especially around the roof, vents, and eaves, for any gaps or cracks that could serve as entry points for bats.

Safety Steps and Expert Intervention

It’s important to avoid handling bats directly due to the risk of diseases – professionals have the know-how and equipment to handle the situation.

If you confirm a bat population in your attic or spot potential entry points, trained experts should use specialized gear (including gloves, masks, and sometimes full protective suits) to protect themselves from guano and potential airborne contaminants during an in-depth assessment.

Humane Removal and Exclusion

  • Exclusion Devices: Professionals typically install one-way exclusion devices that allow bats to exit the attic but prevent them from re-entering. These devices are placed over the main entry points identified during the inspection.
  • Sealing Entry Points: After ensuring all bats have exited, the experts will seal any gaps or cracks around your attic. They use materials such as caulk, metal flashing, or hardware cloth to secure these entry points, preventing future infestations.
  • Compliance with Wildlife Laws: Many bat species are protected by law, and it’s important to handle them in compliance with local regulations. Professionals are familiar with these laws and ensure that removal methods are legal and humane!

Cleaning and Repairs

After bats are removed, pest control professionals (or a service they recommend to you) will clean the attic thoroughly. This includes removing all guano, sanitizing affected areas, and safely disposing of contaminated materials.

Lastly, addressing any structural damage caused by bats is crucial. For example, replacing any damaged insulation, fixing wood corrosion, and repainting stained areas to restore your attic.

A professional wearing protective gear and inspecting an attic for bats.

A professional wearing protective gear and inspecting an attic for bats.

Recommended Preventative Maintenance

Preventing bats from entering your attic in the first place is the best way to avoid the issues they can cause! The most effective preventative measures will include steps like:

  • Sealing entry points, especially around the roof, vents, and eaves. Fix any gaps or cracks with caulk, metal flashing, or hardware cloth to prevent bats from finding their way inside.
  • Installing screens and vents around vents and chimneys. This prevents bats and other pests from using these openings as entry points.
  • Maintaining your roof, handle any loose shingles, tiles, or gaps that could provide access to your attic.
  • Using bat houses away from your home to provide an alternative roosting spot for bats. This way, if you want, still benefit from their insect control without taking them on as roommates.
  • Regular inspections with a pest control professional to check for signs of bats and other pests.

Final Thoughts

In essence, bats in your attic can cause serious problems, and recognizing the signs early will help protect your home (and yourself). Professionals can safely assess the attic and address the issue or refer you to someone who can!

For homeowners in Atlanta, GA, and surrounding areas, schedule an in-depth home inspection with Avalon Home Inspections today.

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