Bats in Houses
Obviously, no one should share living quarters with wild animals, but bats using houses or other buildings are in a perilous predicament. Frequently they are exterminated; if they are lucky, they are evicted. Unfortunately, suitable habitat is now extremely limited and bats may have nowhere to go once evicted. Also, most building colonies are comprised of mothers and their young. Bats reproduce very slowly, and evicted bats are often forced to abandon their young, causing the young to starve and die. Besides being terribly cruel, the practice of separating mothers from young, or outright extermination, causes the loss of hundreds of years of reproductive potential. Every mother or baby that dies means that potential descendants are lost too. Every lost maternity colony pushes our little brown bat closer to oblivion.
If bats are using your house or building for summer residence, there are ways to coexist that will keep you safe and allow the bats to find a different home. The only sure way to evict bats in a process called exclusion. All potential entrances are sealed except one, and a one-way door is installed and left in place until all the bats are out. Only exclude colonies before pups are born or after they’re flying. Your local wildlife agency, nature center, or wildlife rescue group can give you appropriate exclusion dates for your area. Also, please be aware that some localities are writing new laws to protect bats because they are disappearing so quickly. If you hire a professional, be sure they follow the law, do a thorough inspection, and offer at least a one-year warranty. Anyone suggesting shortcuts like spraying or trapping and relocating does not know bat behavior and may be violating local or federal ordinances.
Visit Bat Conservation International’s helpful do-it-yourself page, Bat Conservation & Management’s website for excellent exclusion information from a professional, or your state wildlife agency’s website for advice. For references in the Washington DC metro area, please contact us.
Wildlife Exclusion Professionals: If you would like us to refer to you, please contact us with your bat exclusion protocols. If can show you follow Best Management Practices for bats in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, we will be happy to refer to you. Please check out the BMPs listed below for guidance. Please note: we will not recommend excluders who do not follow BMPs, regardless of state regulations.
New Jersey Nuisance Wildlife Control Guidelines for Bats
Vermont Guide to Best Management Practices
Delaware Best Management Practices for Bat Exclusions
Bat Conservation & Management’s Guide to Bat Exclusions