Imagine you’re sitting on your porch at dusk when suddenly a colony of bats comes rushing out of your home. It’s a panic-inducing experience, and, in most cases, the only thing you can think of after that experience is how to keep bats away from your porch and house.
The best way to keep bats away from your porch and house is to use a combination approach. Exclusion is a big part of the equation. However, you also want to eliminate food sources. It’s also wise to introduce scents that bats dislike, such as peppermint or clove, and add other deterrents.
However, those aren’t the only options, and there are times when you may even need a professional. If you want to learn more about keeping bats away from your porch and house, here’s what you need to know.
- Are Bats Dangerous?
- What Attracts Bats to Your House?
- Signs of Bats in House
- How to Keep Bats Away from Your Porch and House
- 1. Install Yellow Porch Lights
- 2. Use Exclusion Methods
- 3. Rosemary and Thyme
- 4. Cloves and Clove Oil
- 5. Peppermint Oil
- 6. Cinnamon Oil or Sticks
- 7. Install Reflective Devices
- 8. Ultrasonic Devices
- 9. Chimney Caps
- 10. Put Up Wind Chimes
- 11. Use Wind Socks
- 12. Add Bat Nets
- 13. Commercial Bat Repellent
- 14. Set Up Bat Houses
- Who to Call to Get Rid of Bats?
- How Do You Get Bats Out of Your Attic?
- What Smell Will Keep Bats Away?
- How Long Do Bats Stay in One Place?
- The Best Way to Keep Bats Away from Your Porch and House
Are Bats Dangerous?
Bats are a critical part of the ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean you want them taking up residence on your porch or in your home. Generally, bats aren’t aggressive toward people and pets, but they are a common carrier of various diseases.
One of the diseases most frequently associated with bats is rabies. While only a small percentage of the bat population has rabies, that’s a significant risk you shouldn’t ignore.
Additionally, bat droppings – called guano – can lead to soil contamination. The resulting fungus can cause histoplasmosis, an infection that can be incredibly serious, particularly for infants or individuals with weakened immune systems or certain pre-existing conditions. However, anyone can become quite ill, so keeping bats away from your home and porch is essential.
What Attracts Bats to Your House?
As with most wild animals, bats constantly look for food, water, and shelter. If your home has a reliable food and water source, it becomes a prime target. That’s especially true if there is a dark, warm spot – such as an attic – where the bats can roost.
While different bat species may have unique food preferences, many feed on various insects. Beetles, mosquitoes, moths, termites, and worms may all be tasty meals for bats, among others. If you have many insects on your property, your odds of ending up with a bat colony nearby increase significantly.
Other bats eat fruit. Any property with fruit trees is, therefore, a prime target. That’s especially true if the fruit isn’t picked promptly and falls off to rot, as that increases the fruit aroma and can mean a bigger supply of fruits for the bats.
A range of water sources can meet bats’ needs. For instance, bird baths, pet dishes, or containers with standing water may all do the trick. Even low spots on your patio or yard may hold enough water after a rain shower or using a sprinkler to become a water source.
Signs of Bats in House
In most cases, the clearest sign of bats in your house is seeing them exit your property at dusk or enter near dawn. Some bat colonies are incredibly large, making the sight unmistakable. However, even one or two bats can be a red flag.
A strong ammonia smell is another sign of bats, as guano produces a strong aroma. Odd smells in your house could also be a sign, as well as stains near outdoor vents and shutters or on your siding.
You may even hear strange noises in your home, particularly near sunrise or sunset. In some cases, there might be high-pitched squeaks, but that isn’t the only noise that could signal a bat colony in your home.
Finally, bats inside your home or dead bats nearby may indicate an infestation. With the former, even a bat coming in through a door or window may suggest that its home is nearby, which could include your attic or similar spaces. With the latter, it’s a signal that bats are living near (if not in) your house, so it should be taken seriously.
How to Keep Bats Away from Your Porch and House
1. Install Yellow Porch LightsGenerally speaking, bats don’t like bright lights. However, using regular bulbs on your porch can attract various insects. That creates a food source for bats, which can work against you.
However, yellow light bulbs can introduce bright light while reducing the number of insects. While the exact reason that’s the case is debated, some believe that the yellow light isn’t in a spectrum that insects see well. Others think white light bulbs resemble the moon, and insects mistakenly use the bulbs as a navigational marker.
Regardless of the reason, using a yellow light usually means fewer bugs at night. But it still gives you a way to illuminate your porch, making it a less attractive spot for bats to hang out.
2. Use Exclusion Methods
Exclusion involves ensuring that bats can’t access areas of your home that look like good spots to roost. Attics are usually dark and reasonably temperature controlled, making them a favorite option for bats. As a result, you need to ensure that all attic vents are covered with materials like netting or screens, ensuring bats can’t squeeze inside.
Loose siding boards can also give bats a place to hide during the day. Making sure your siding is properly installed and sealed eliminates gaps that bats may use to create a new home.
One commonly overlooked area is behind window shutters. If there is a gap of one-half inch or more between a shutter and your house, bats can squeeze behind them to roost. As a result, you need to secure functional and decorative shutters securely or take steps to close any gaps.
Essentially, any issue that creates a hole large enough for a bat to fit through needs addressing. That way, they can’t find a viable home in or on your house.
3. Rosemary and ThymeThe scent of rosemary and thyme is quite strong and may through off a bat’s sense of smell. As a result, bats don’t usually spend time in areas with a lot of rosemary or thyme.
With this option, you can plant fresh rosemary and thyme if you’d like, especially if you can put them in window boxes near potential entry points for bats or pots around your porch. You can also try thyme or rosemary essential oil mixed with water and some liquid dish soap to create a spray.
4. Cloves and Clove OilCloves have a potent odor that bats generally dislike and messes with their sense of smell; as a result, both cloves and clove oil can be excellent bat deterrents.
The benefit of using cloves is that it’s a natural solution. You could place some lightly crushed cloves in a spice shaker and let the aroma waft. Even sprinkling the cloves near vents or other openings can do the trick.
Creating a clove oil spray can also work by mixing a few drops with water and liquid dish soap. This allows you to apply the clove scent to spots where using actual cloves is impractical, making it the more versatile approach.
5. Peppermint OilMany pests dislike mint scents, including bats. Peppermint oil is a particularly simple way to introduce mint smells around your home’s exterior.
Usually, a few drops in a spray bottle filled with water and a squirt or two of liquid dish soap works well. Simple spray overhangs, porch ceilings, exterior vents, and similar areas to discourage bats from coming around.
Just remember that peppermint oil is generally safe for people but not cats. In cats, inhaling peppermint oil fumes can cause lung issues. As a result, this isn’t the best choice if you have cats.
6. Cinnamon Oil or SticksAnother scent-based option, cinnamon oil and sticks, create a strong aroma that’s irritating to bats. With cinnamon oil, add some drops to water and liquid dish soap to create an effective spray. Then, apply it liberally to areas where you don’t want bats to settle.
With cinnamon sticks, you can position them near vents, either in the open or in a container with a ventilated top. Just make sure you don’t try to use powdered cinnamon, as it can easily blow or wash away if there’s wind or a storm.
7. Install Reflective Devices
Since bats are somewhat light-averse and may view any unexpected movement as threatening, reflective devices can be a solid deterrent. Reflective devices – including streamers, pinwheels, and discs – cause light to move unexpectedly, which bats dislike. As a result, they may not stick around if they interpret that movement as a potential danger.
For this option to work, you typically need a nearby light source. Additionally, ensuring the reflective devices move is beneficial, making the experience more erratic. The wind or motorized options are both worth exploring.
8. Ultrasonic DevicesWith an ultrasonic device, you’re introducing a sound that can keep bats away from your porch and house. Bats are highly reliant on sound, so certain noises make it harder to hunt for insects and navigate. However, people’s ultrasonic devices aren’t perceptible, so they won’t bother you.
Just keep in mind that ultrasonic devices can impact other animals. It may discourage wildlife from coming onto your property or may be uncomfortable for pets. Since that’s the case, you may want to choose another method if you have animals on the property that you’d like to keep around.
9. Chimney Caps
Chimneys can seem like an ideal shelter for bats. They’re typically dark inside, and people and pets don’t come through or mess with the chimney at all, besides the occasional cleaning. Plus, many chimneys are well-insulated, making them comfortable places to roost.
With a chimney cap, you block off entry to the flue. As a result, bats can’t get inside to roost, ensuring they don’t turn your chimney into your new home. Plus, it keeps rainwater from coming in, which is a nice bonus.
10. Put Up Wind ChimesIn some cases, wind chimes can be an effective bat deterrent. You can place them on porches and fruit trees, introducing noise and movement when the wind blows.
If you go with a reflective wind chime, it will also cause light to shift around unexpectedly. Sometimes, that may amplify the effect, making your property unattractive.
11. Use Wind SocksLike reflective devices, wind socks introduce movement. By having a few around your property, the flicking of the fabric may put bats on edge, causing them to set up their home elsewhere.
If you want to amplify the effect, look for a material with a reflective quality. Whether that’s shiny fabric or a material that incorporates glittery elements, it can increase the impact of any movement.
However, this option usually works best in conjunction with other solutions. That’s particularly true if the wind isn’t common in your area.
12. Add Bat Nets
Bat nets allow you to block off possible entrances to your home without impacting ventilation. Usually, you get a piece that’s large enough to extend past the hole a bit, securing them along the top while leaving some slack.
If a bat makes its way into your house, it can typically shift the net out of the way to leave. However, getting past the net to make its way back inside isn’t usually possible.
13. Commercial Bat RepellentIf you don’t want to mix your own essential oil-based sprays, you can turn to commercial bat repellents instead. Many of those feature natural ingredients, making them safer near people and pets. For example, some brands use peppermint and spearmint oil, while others may be clove and cinnamon-based.
However, some are chemical in nature instead. For instance, some may use naphthalene – the active ingredient in mothballs – instead of natural repellents. These are often riskier to use, particularly if you have small children and pets, but are worth considering if natural options aren’t getting results.
14. Set Up Bat HousesIf you have a larger property and appreciate that bats can help control insect populations near your home, consider setting up a bat house on the edge of your property. It essentially encourages bats to make their home in that spot.
Just ensure that the bat house gets the right amount of direct sunlight during the day to keep it suitably warm. However, if you’re in an area where temperatures get incredibly high, you may need more shade to ensure it doesn’t get overheated.
Who to Call to Get Rid of Bats?
If your bat problem is more than you can safely handle, you’ll want to contact a pest control specialist that has experience with bat removal and exclusion. They’ll have the knowledge and equipment to assess the problem and come up with a solution. Plus, they know local laws, including which bat species are protected, ensuring the issue is addressed correctly.
As you contract pest control services, make sure they specialize in bats. Additionally, give them as much information as possible regarding the situation, including the potential location of the colony, whether the only access point is high up (which may require a ladder), and the type of activity you’ve observed.
If you see signs that any of the bats may be ill, contact your local health department before reaching out to a pest control specialist. Different protocols may apply if there’s a chance the colony has rabies or another infectious disease of concern.
In cases where you believe the bat may be a protected species, you can typically relay that information to a pest control specialist to ensure proper handling. However, you may also want to contact your local wildlife department for details about protected bats in your area and if anything specific needs to occur to ensure their safe removal.
How Do You Get Bats Out of Your Attic?
If you have bats in your attic, your best bet if you don’t want to hire a professional is to have them leave on their own, which limits the need to handle them. However, you also want to make sure they can’t get back into your attic after heading out to feed.
Usually, the easiest way is to identify how they’re getting into and out of your attic. Once you spot the hole, position a bat cone over it.
Bat cones allow the bats to easily exit your attic but make it nearly impossible to get back inside. After keeping the bat cone in place for a few days – giving all of the bats enough time to leave – close the gap to permanently prevent them from using that access point.
What Smell Will Keep Bats Away?
There are several scents that serve as effective bat deterrents. The most popular options are rosemary, thyme, peppermint, clove, and cinnamon. The benefit of these is that they’re natural aromas that are typically safe for people and pets, barring a few exceptions.
Plus, the smells are generally considered pleasant by most people. As a result, if the scent wafts into your home, it isn’t usually a bother for those living there.
How Long Do Bats Stay in One Place?
How long bats stay in one place depends a bit on the species. Local conditions also play a role, as those impact temperature, which affects the bat’s comfort and access to food.
Some bats are somewhat migratory, so they may leave your home if it gets too cold and food sources end up in short supply. However, if your home serves as a nest, they’ll likely return once conditions are right. At times, this migratory pattern can remain in place for years, particularly if no action is taken to make their nest less hospitable.
Typically, bats that don’t migrate hibernate instead. If your home seems like a safe place to roost, then the bats may choose to hibernate in your house. As a result, bats might remain in a home for years and years if no action is taken.
Often, hibernation begins in October or November and ends in March or April. However, local conditions could lengthen or shorten that timespan, so keep that in mind.
Some parts of the country are temperate enough that food sources aren’t an issue and hibernating is unnecessary. In this scenario, bats have no reason to leave your home if they have ample access to food and water. As a result, they may also stay in place for years on end.
The Best Way to Keep Bats Away from Your Porch and House
In most cases, the best way to keep bats away from your porch and house is to start is exclusion, ensuring they can roost in your home. Using yellow porch lights can reduce food availability while brightening spaces where bats may hide out. Couple that with some scent and sound deterrents. And, if all else fails, hire a professional.
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