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burnt03 10-21-2012 09:20 PM

Bat proofing my house
Have a lot of little fruit bats in my area. In the past, have seen evidence of them living behind the siding covering our cinder block chimney (guano on the siding and on the ground below the chimney). Have also found a spot in the cathedral ceiling attic where they were living (removed soffit and used one of those little Seesnake cameras to look inside), bunch of guano and some urine on the siding below the entry.

Never used to care since they keep the mosquitos down but found a batbug in the house recently. Thought it was a bed bug at first but had the pest control guys take a look at it and they confirmed it as a bat bug. I guess if they lose their normal food source (found a dead bat at the base of the chimney about a month or 2 ago), they'll start looking for alternatives... humans in this case.

So, have the pest control guy coming back this Tuesday to look around with me and suggest plans but thought I'd ask on here too to see if you have any suggestions...

Was planning on:
- removing the siding off the chimney (on the south side of the house, siding is starting to warp a from the furring strips, would be impossible to close up all the holes)
- build a couple bat houses and put them on trees further away from the house, hopefully making some new/better spots for them to live
- clean the urine off the house (on that note, will soapy water work?)

Any other suggestions??


user1007 10-22-2012 09:49 AM

Used to be the summer bat catcher for a nice summer home in Lake Tahoe that had no screens. Most mornings I would have to move a few from inside back outside. I got to the point I admired the little critters and they really did hold the insect populations down. The owners of the place kept the windows screen free because the bats discouraged guests they liked least from hanging around all summer.

All you can do is block egress and ingress to their nesting areas and repair any damage they have done to expand access. The guana can be nasty of course and the ammonia overwhelming if you have large numbers of them.

I think, if you have the land, building habitats for them is a great idea. They are usually quite harmless and get an undeserved bad reputation. They can devour a staggering number of pesty insects in a single night foraging. No reason to kill them.

Not sure I even know what I batbug is but should look it up I guess. I know in NYC I was casual about ticks until an exterminator reminded me those carrying Lyme disease made their way to Manhattan on board flying creatures.

gobug 10-22-2012 09:58 AM

Interesting that your pest control contact said it was batbugs. Not many people realize they are a bit different than bedbugs and could also differentiate between them. There are also swallow bugs related to batbugs and bedbugs. They all look for new victims when their host departs.

Prior to the bedbug invasion, I had to deal with bats and batbugs on a few occasions. One way to find entry points is to go up into the attic space in daylight and look for daylight coming through entry points. This could also be done with your Seesnake. I used a copper sock to close those entry points. This came in long rolls and could be wedged into the little cracks which surround the roof line, and chimney places.

Bats don't need a big entry. A small crack is enough. So damaged siding may be their entry. If you need to fix or replace the siding that could help with the bats.

Are you sure they are fruit bats, and not little brown bats? Little brown bats are the most prevalent in N America.

Once you close their doors, get rid of the guano. Put it in your garden, but get it out of your living space. It will foster other pests.

Bats are creatures of habit. They are a family that migrates, then returns to the same spot year after year. If they have not already migrated, you can pull up a lawn chair at dusk and watch them emerge. That will tell you the first place to close their doors.

gobug 10-22-2012 10:00 AM

Since I had to remove bats, I tried bat houses. I never had one work as a way to get the bats out, even after I closed the bat doors.

gobug 10-22-2012 10:01 AM

Wait until they migrate to close their doors. You don't want to trap them.

burnt03 10-22-2012 10:39 AM

Hey there, thanks for the replies!

It's been around 38-40 deg the last week or so and from what I've read, the local bats migrate to caves across the lake this time of year (Sept - Oct).

After we caught the bug, the pest control guys took it home, looked at it under the microscope and if I remember correctly, said it had a much larger probiscus, indicating a batbug instead of a bedbug. We put interceptors under the bed posts and haven't caught anything in them since we first found the bug (2-3 weeks ago).

It might be little brown bats, I'm not totally sure.

I can't get into the cathedral ceiling attic to look around so I guess I'll just have to take a close look at the perimeter of the roof and seal up whatever I find.

I googled copper sock but it just showed normal socks. Is it sort of like steel wool, but copper?

gobug 10-22-2012 04:32 PM

I should have called it copper mesh. I googled copper mesh and the first link showed pics of the product I used.

Bats have an oily fur. They will leave a stain at their point of entry.

Interesting that your bats live so close. Maybe they are not little brown bats either, since they migrate way south, like Mexico.

burnt03 10-22-2012 06:06 PM

Just checked, looks like they're "Yuma bats" (or at least that's the huge colony we have downtown)

joecaption 10-22-2012 07:33 PM

Any hardware or box store should have Bronze wool in the painting area.

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