Getting rid of bats outside your home may increase other (more annoying) pests because bats eat thousands of bugs, including mosquitos. Sometimes, however, bats choose to live in places too close to our homes for comfort.
Beyond their seemingly spooky swooping, bats can also carry diseases. When more and more bats start hanging out near your home, it’s probably time to learn how to prevent bats from frequently flying outside your house.
To keep bats away from your yard and property, though, you need to understand what attracts them.
If you see bats flying around your house and yard a lot, they are not necessarily using your home as a resting spot. Bats can live nearby your yard in hollow trees, and abandoned sheds, or other overhands. Come evening, bats leave their perches and hunt bugs. More often than not, bats flying around outside near your house are simply hunting.
There are some preventive measures to keep bats from finding your property inviting:
- Wood: Bats often live in dead trees or living trees with hollowed branches. If you have a tree that has died, cut it down and remove it. If bats can’t find a place close to your property to live, then they’ll likely move further away in search of a new home.
- Standing water: If you have an area that always has water sitting in it—like bird baths or rain catchers—get rid of them or move them to the edge of your property. If you have a pool, covering it when not in use might help slightly. There’s not much beyond that you can do though. You are attracting bats with a consistent source of water (because bats find and catch many bugs above the water).
- Insects: The main food source for the bat is insects. If you can resolve the insect population around your home, you can reduce the chances of bats coming near it.
Choose an appropriate time for removal
Getting rid of bats outside your house must be done during the right season. This will ensure their survival and ability to continue getting rid of pests.
- You need to know if the bats are nursing/nesting. If you remove the mother bat before her pups are ready to care for themselves, they will die. It takes approximately five weeks for newborns to take care of themselves. In the United States and Canada the maternity season for bats is between May 1st and August 31st.
- The bats will hibernate during the winter months and if you evict them during the cold, they will not be able to find sufficient food to survive. You’ll increase your pest population considerably if you kill off all the bats around your area.
- You can relocate bats to a bat house if you wish to do so. Some people enjoy having bats around because they help control insect populations in and around their yards. They’re especially useful at keeping the mosquito population in check.
Locate where bats are roosting
Bat droppings will be your best clue to finding where the bats are living. The bat guano (droppings) sparkles in the sunshine and has a crumbly texture. The guano makes a great fertilizer but it is very unsafe to inhale. Inhaling too high of a level will produce a disease that is similar to flu symptoms. Those with the highest risk of getting sick from inhaling guano are the young, old, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
If you cannot find signs of the guano, then you can wait until dusk when they will begin flying out of their homes to search for food. Remember when looking for their possible exits that bats can fit through holes the size of a dime. Common entries or exits are:
- Where your wall meets the eaves on your house.
- Places the flashing or boards have come loose.
- Poor-fitting or broken screens.
- Where your pipes enter your house.
- Where your porch attaches to your house.
- Cracks where siding forms a corner, or where siding meets your chimney.
How to prevent bats from returning
Once you know where bats are living wait until after they’ve flown out to search for food and then seal the entrance. You can staple or nail a screen over their entrance. The following night, remove the screen so any that remained behind can also leave.
Bats do not feed every night, so you will need to repeat removing and replacing the screen for several nights to ensure all the bats have left. Once you are sure they have all left; you can then use a more permanent seal on the entrance.
How to remove bats from specific areas outside your home
There are some areas outside your building where it is common to find bats.
Bats like to hang out behind soffits and blinds during their nursing season, for example. Bats are also attracted to pools and other standing bodies of water because bugs, bats’ food, are also attracted to water.
Getting rid of bats behind shutters
If you have shutters on your home and bats choose to live behind them, you might not even notice them. Bats behind your shutters can be quite annoying though.
They can be noisy, producing scratching and squeaking noises. This might make you want to remove them and then discourage their return. For similar reasons, you don’t want bats flying in and out of your porch.
- Bats don’t like light. If you are able to, try directing a bright light toward your shutters or inside of your porch. The lights might cause bats to leave these areas. The downside to this method is that light also attracts bugs. This might be counter-effective by attracting a bat food source. Some folks have found lights repelled bats from their porches and yards, while others claim it attracted more bats. Over the years, I’ve seen many bats feeding efforts under street lights, so I believe the folks who claim that porch lights and other outdoor lights attract bats to their outdoor area.
- Check your state guidelines on bat repellents before using them. In some areas, it is illegal to harm bats. Because of this, not all bat repellents are legal to use, and some states don’t allow chemicals bat control. You need to make sure you are choosing legal bat repellents before placing them.
- There are bird repellents on the market that are sticky. If the bat crosses this stickiness they will not like the feel and will be discouraged from living there.
How to Keep Bats Away From Porch
Few people are okay with bats staying or roosting on their porches. Because bats are likely to swoop down and fly erratically from your porch whenever someone walks onto or off the porch, they can be annoying and frightening.
To discourage bats from hanging out on your porch (pun intended), you need to disrupt their roosting spots on your porch. To deter bats from your porch you can:
- Place a few nails at the bats’ perching spot (This makes their roosting spot unattractive)
- Tape a plastic bag where you saw the bats roosting on your porch (This also helps keep bats off your back or front porch).
How to stop bats from pooping on a porch
If you find bat poop (guano) on your porch repeatedly, it is likely that some bats are roosting on your porch. It is very unlikely that you would routinely find bat droppings on your porch from bats simply flying through. This means that to keep bats from pooping on your porch you need to:
- Find the bat perching spots on your porch
- Check corners and cracks (bats frequent these areas)
- Make those bat-perching spots unattractive to the bats.
- Try placing nails or taping a plastic bag to the bat roosting areas (bats will find these unattractive). See the section above for more details.
How to get rid of bats from trees
If you routinely find bats around trees in your yard, there’s a good chance your some of those trees have hollowed out branches or portions in their trunks. Bats commonly roost in hollow branches or hollow portions of tree trunks.
If you believe this is the case, trimming your trees to remove hollow branches might encourage the bats in your trees to move on and find new roosting areas. Knock on the hollow branches with a hammer or something before trimming to scare the bats out of branches before you start cutting.
Bats and fruit trees
If you have fruit trees and you see bats around them often, there may be fruit bats around where you live. The best way to determine this is to look up what types of bats live in your region. University extension websites are a great way to look this up or you can check out our pest location articles.
How to get rid of bats under your deck
To get rid of bats under your deck, note their favorite perching spot over several days. Then, during the day, flush them out during the day with a broom and place nails or tape plastic sacks up where the bats were hanging out. This should make their roosts less attractive, though they may simply find a new spot under your deck.
If the bats return and to a new spot under your deck, you might need to try other methods. One you can try is building bat houses (like birdhouses for bats) closer to the edge of your property. These give bats a place to roost that is not your home but still keep them near enough to eat bugs around your property.
How to get rid of bats in eaves
If bats are getting into your attic or roof from the eves, then you’ll need to seal their entry point. The best way to do this is by installing a one way bat doors until they all leave from inside your home, and then permanently seal the entry and exit points.
Some folks choose to let bats that are only roosting in their eves remain (this is only for bats that haven’t found a way into your attic or roof). But some people don’t like the sight of a bat colony emerging from their eves every evening.
If you want to remove the bats in your eves and prevent them from you can try one of the following:
- Use something soft enough that it won’t damage the wood when you smack it it. Try rolled-up newspapers or a plastic mallet, for example. Smack the object against the wood nearby your eaves. Make sure you have a good grip on your ladder in case the bats swoop near you. If you do this several day in a row, the bats might no longer feel safe under your eves and move on.
- Direct an outdoor light to the bats’ roosting area under your eaves during the daytime. Since bats are nocturnal, they prefer dark places to roost during the day. If you project light toward the bat colony during the day, it’ll disrupt their sleep cycle and likely encourage them to find somewhere else to live.
- Try hanging something with a bat repellent scent near where the bats roost. We explain a few different scents that deter bats in the next section.
Outdoor bat repellents
We’ve heard mixed reviews on various scent-based bat repellents but a few of them are relatively cheap and harmless to bats so you might want to experiment. Some folks swear they work while others claim they’re hogwash bat deterrents. If you have experience with any of these (or other repellents), let us know in the comments.
Mothballs as bat deterrents
The chemical in mothballs, naphthalene, has been approved to use as a bat repellent in some states. You can place mothballs around areas you think bats are living and they’ll likely not want to live where this scent is present. If bats are hanging in a roost somewhere, you might try placing several mothballs in a mesh sack and hanging it nearby the bat colony.
Natural Bat Repellents
The fragrance some natural items emit will discourage bats from seeking shelter where they smell it. The scents irritate the bat and they will find it very unpleasant. You will need to ensure the scent is strong enough and lasts for several days. Some of these natural repellents include:
- Human Hair
- Green tea
- Coyote urine
Electronic Bat Repellents
Electronic bat repellents emit sound waves which constantly vary and change before a bat can adjust to the pattern. This annoys the bat which uses sound waves to determine where objects are. When this constantly changing sound continues in your area they will be encouraged to move.
The sound waves coming from the electronic bat repellent will interfere with the bats’ echolocation. These are two that have been effective:
- Transonic Pro: This is an ultrasonic bat repellent and will disturb bats’ communication and sleep. It can be used with batteries allowing you to place it in varied locations if power is not available.
- ET Pest Control: The ET Pest Control will emit varied sound waves at different frequencies. The unit can be plugged into any household outlet.
Bats can become a pest and a danger when they use your home and property as their nesting place.
You will want to remove them from your home and areas close to your house; however, they are protected by some state and federal laws. To ensure you are using appropriate measures, check with your state laws before beginning the removal of the bat from your home.
Further Resources on Getting Rid of Bats from Outside Buildings:
- Bats In and Around Structures – University of Nebraska Lincoln
- Bats In North Central Arizona – Arizona.edu
We’ve gone over the main methods of getting rid of bats from outside your home. We covered to keep bats away from your trees, your porch, your eaves, and from under your decks or balcony. All of our bat removal methods try to make the area outside your house less attractive for bats. Before you try one of these methods, though, please consider if you actually need to repel the bats outside your home or not. More often than not, several bats flying around your yard are not a problem and help control the insect population.