DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have a bat problem that started with one bat hanging out between my house roof and porch roof. Now I have a whole family of them and I don’t know how to get rid of them. I’m afraid they will find their way into my house when the cold weather arrives. What can I do? I don’t know if getting a bat house will help. Does anyone have any suggestions? — No name, no town

ANSWER: I’ve had a bat or two sharing my living space in the past and it has creeped me out, so I understand your concern. If I were you, I would cut to the chase and hire a professional if you suspect a big fat bat family is nesting in your house and/or porch.

You don’t want an exterminator company. Many Maine bat species are protected under the Endangered Species Act and all species of bats are classified as protected wildlife and cannot be killed. You want Wildlife Services of Maine
(wildlifeanimalcontrol.com or 956-5377). They can give you advice on your issue or will come assist you if the bats have indeed colonized in your home. An expert can remove the critters and seal places where bats are entering.

If you want to try a DIY approach first, install bat houses on the southern edge of your property and/or near their hangout. Bats like these cozy places where they can snuggle and socialize. They’ll come out at dusk to gobble up those pesky mosquitoes and other night-flying insects — all a good thing. Maine.gov has a great website with helpful information: https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fish-wildlife/wildlife/wildlife-human-issues/living-with-wildlife/bats.html. For example, placing a Mylar balloon or strips of foil that will wave in the breeze at the location where you’ve seen the bats could be enough to make them realize they aren’t welcome.

On a sunny day when you can really see clearly to inspect the outside of your home, look for points where bats could get inside such as between roof shingles, deteriorating eaves, holes in soffits, etc. Entry points may have “bat tracks,” or oily-looking brown streaks and signs of their droppings.

Another thing you can do is to watch the bats’ behavior at dusk and see if they are, in fact, flying out of the house. On the website, it explains how to begin “excluding” the bats by using one-way tubes and screening to allow them to get out of the building, but it prevents them from going back in.

Be really observant for a couple of weeks and see if they are still able to get in the house. When you’re convinced they’ve all left the area where they were congregating, you can call in an expert to take the bat house away so your visitors can be relocated. That’s the time to seal up all those cracks and crevices and have your chimney checked out. Bats can squeeze through an opening as small as 3/8 inch. From now until mid-October is the perfect time to take care of this issue. The bats may simply go off somewhere to hibernate for the winter, leaving you in peace. Readers, please share your bat solutions!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: