Considered one of the most effective forms of natural insect control in the world---consuming up to half their weight in mosquitoes, flies, and moths each night---bats can be a nuisance if they take up residence above your porch. Many people feel ill-at-ease around bats, and don't want to share their home with a bat colony. Bat-proofing your porch costs a few dollars in materials and a little bit of time. If you don't want bats roosting in your porch roof, follow the directions below.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Mesh screening
- Duct tape
- Caulking, wood, or weatherstripping
Look for an accumulation of droppings in the area above the porch, or "rub marks" on the siding below the opening bats use for entry and exit. These openings can be as small as the width of your thumb, and are not noticeable unless you actively search for them. Unless you have seen them exiting and flying away from your home at dusk, make your inspection thorough.
Know when to bat-proof your home or you could inadvertently seal them inside a wall. Timing is everything. Never block off the exit and entry openings the bats use during the months of June, July, or August, when the colony may consist of young bats that have not learnt to fly. It's best to bat-proof between November 15th and March 15th, when most bats will be hibernating elsewhere.
Spend a few nights watching for places the bats use to exit and enter the roof-space above your porch. Begin just before sunset and continue until an hour after sunset. Repeat this process for several nights, until you are sure you know where the bats are coming in and going out.
Hang square pieces of screen mesh above the porch. Wait until darkness to do this. While the goal is to seal off all openings, you want to avoid blocking in any bats that remain inside. Use duct tape to attach three sides of the mesh to the area around the opening, leaving the bottom of the square unattached so remaining bats can crawl out. This will prevent bats from getting trapped inside; they will, however, be unable to get back in.
Leave the mesh in place for one to two weeks, allowing for evacuation of all bats. After this, the bat-entry openings can be filled with a permanent sealer, such as caulking, wood, or weatherstripping. This ensures your unwelcome visitors won't return in the spring.
Tips and warnings
- Install bat houses near your home to encourage bats to roost there. Bat houses are available from local conservation organisations.
- If a bat gets inside your house, confine it to one room and open a window. The bat will locate the exit and leave.
- If you are bitten by a bat, seek medical attention immediately.
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