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How can I remove bats in my house attic?

Question: I have bats in the attic. What is the best way to remove them?

Question: I bought this house, and it has bats in the living area. Can you help? I know they are protected, but I would like to keep my wife.

Answer: Bats are not easily eliminated from inside the attic or wall voids of a building. In most areas, there are restrictions on killing them, so the methods used to ”encourage” them to leave and take up residence somewhere else have to be humane. When bats are roosting in houses or other buildings, the main objective is to get them to leave, and then prevent them from reentering. Netting and other exclusion devices are intended to let bats out, but not let them back in.

Despite the risk of rabies, bats are beneficial in controlling insects. States usually have laws protecting bats. There are no pesticides registered to control bats.

Bat removal should not be undertaken when there are young that might be left behind in the roost, usually from May until mid-August. Check with the local Fish and Game Dept. for the specific timing in your area.

In many areas, the best time to control bats is in late summer or fall (when the bats have left for the winter) and not in spring and summer. Sealing should be done between September and February.

Bats leave their overwintering sites to form ”nursery colonies” in early spring. Attics and spaces between ceilings and the roof are primary “nursery” locations. The young are cared for until they can fly in 3-7 weeks.

After the bats are excluded from the attic or other roost site, you will need to treat the site with a residual insecticide. This will kill mites and bat bugs which may be there. If there is an accumulation of droppings, you will need to take precautions against inhaling fungal spores that cause respiratory diseases. Consider gently wetting the droppings with a disinfectant before trying to remove them.

Contact your local Orkin Branch Office for more information on wildlife control and restrictions on bat control measures.

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