You hear a little squeak in the wall and think it is a mouse. This is followed by a rapid sort of fluttering and more high-pitched noises. You do a little research and realize this is no mouse: you have a bat stuck in your wall. Most people will not find a bat in their home out of nowhere. They typically live in colonies and only enter a house where they have established a roosting spot.
Knowing how to get rid of bats in walls isn’t easy, but with a few simple steps, you can be well on your way to making your home bat-free once again.
There are a few reasons bats may have suddenly taken up residence on your walls:
- You have a home with lots of outside cracks and holes over a half-inch wide that lead to your wall spaces.
- You already have bats in your attic or garage and have recently attempted to exclude them and seal off any entrances.
- You have an unaddressed bat colony in another part of your home and they are outgrowing their original roosting spot.
- A local bat colony was expelled from a nearby location and is treating your house as an emergency roosting spot
None of these scenarios is good, and some bat problems are worse than others. They all, however, require a similar approach to expelling the bats and ensuring they cannot re-enter your walls.
If You’ve Never Had a Bat Problem Before…
If this is the first you’ve seen, or heard, of bats in your house, you need to start the exclusion process to get rid of the bats as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, this cannot be done at every time of year. In the case of bat varieties that hibernate in the winter, you may have to wait until they leave on their own in late fall.
Other kinds of bats can only be evicted in the time between the time they birth their young and the new bats are big enough to feed with the colony, usually in early fall.
The University of Florida has some great advice on how properly time your bat exclusion efforts so that you don’t accidentally interfere with bat pups. But, your best bet is to check with your local university extension since every state has different bat species and climates.
To do that, Google the following (change the first portion to your state):
- changeThisToYourState + university extension + bats
You will need to find out how the bats are entering your house and begin sealing up any cracks or holes that could be serving as secondary entrances and exits. You can only seal up the primary hole the bats use once these other spaces are thoroughly sealed and the bat colony has been evacuated from the walls.
If This is Part of An Ongoing Bat Problem…
Anyone who already has bats in another part of the house and then finds them in the walls is dealing with a secondary symptom of an ongoing bat infestation. If you have recently attempted to get the bats out of another part of your house, there may have been bats left inside when you sealed up their openings. Their journey down the walls could be an attempt to escape.
This Old House features a narrative on how to properly exclude bats from your home. If it is to the point where they have moved from your attic to your walls, however, you might be facing a situation where professionals need to be brought in to seal off all potential secondary exits before attempting another exclusion.
Another possibility is a bat population overflowing from their original roosting spot. Each female bat has a single offspring each year, growing the colony exponentially over a year or two. The bats in your house might be moving into the walls looking for extra room to live. If you can access the wall interior and see piles of guano you have found evidence they are not just moving through but living in your walls.
Excluding bats from your house
Exclusion is the term for the process of making bats leave. Exterminating bats is not practical and is usually illegal. An exclusion requires you to wait until all bats leave then seal up the holes they use to enter and leave your house. According to the University of Arizona’s extension, bats can enter a home through small openings people often have in their siding. Some openings that bats squeeze through are so small it’s difficult for anyone other than an expert to identify.
Once you have effectively emptied your house of bats, you can take extra preventative measures to make sure they do not show up in your walls again.
Keeping your house well-sealed and re-inspecting your house frequently is one step to take; you may even consider installing bat houses on your property to offer a stubborn bat population another place to live.
I am glad I came across this article. Bats are really dangerous, and I need to protect my family from them.
Darlin, I’m glad you found it useful. Bats can be dangerous.
Particularly their feces can cause issues or if the bats themselves are diseased (the main concern is rabies, but they can carry other viruses as well) and then come into contact with humans.
That being said, they are incredibly important for our ecosystem. Because of this, most places require pest professionals to capture them alive and release them into the wild. There are also one-way doors that can be temporarily installed so that the bats can exit one’s home and not re-enter it.
I have been planning to hire a pest control service that could get rid of bats in my attic area. I never knew that one of the reasons why bats are inhabiting my home is probably because of outside cracks and holes. Thank you for this; once the bats are already out, I’ll make sure to have my house sealed and re-inspected for any possible damage. I really appreciate the advice.
Rachel, I’m glad that you learned a little more about how bats tend to get inside people’s homes and specifically inside their walls.
Is there a particular reason why you can only get rid of the bats during a specific time of year? We have two or three living in our attic and we want to get rid of the problem before it gets any worse. If you say that they grow exponentially, then we definitely don’t want to give them the chance to get any bigger.
Aria, you can learn more about that here.
But basically, you have to be careful because most bats only give birth to a couple of pups a year and because bats are beneficial to the ecosystem, there are strict regulations in most places of the world on how we can remove them with minimal impact to the bat population.
You want to wait to deal with bat problems after the young ones are grown. I know this seems counter-intuitive because you want them out now. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much, they don’t reproduce quickly as mice do.
If you know there are several entry points you could seal all but one or two to limit the chance that many more bats take residence in your attic but I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about them starting an infestation.
You could contact a professional for an estimate and for further info about the legal requirements in your local area. We can put you in touch with a couple companies for free estimates here. Let us know what else you find out, and good luck!