My wife and I were sitting out on the front porch a few nights ago at sunset, just enjoying the quiet and watching the wildlife. Bats are common around here, and we noticed that we had been seeing more bats flying lately, specifically coming from the east side of our house. The following night, with a sneaking suspicion in my mind, I sat on the east side of the house and waited. Just after sunset, I witnessed 12 bats squeeze themselves out of a small crack in the fascia board of our house, right up near the roof peak, and fly away happy as can be. Problem…
The next day I crawled up on the roof and located the fascia board that had the crack in it. The crack was only about 3/4″ wide, but that’s apparently enough for bats to get in and out of. I didn’t want to seal up the hole immediately, as I assumed the previous nights’ bats had come back to sleep, and the idea of 12 (or more) bats slowly starving to death and rotting in our attic wasn’t a pleasant thought for neither us nor the bats.
Moving inside, I went up to the second floor room on that side of the house (my wife’s office.) Listening carefully, I could hear the bats moving around somewhere in the wall, emitting fairly quiet but undeniably cute chittering noises as they dreamed their bat dreams. I realize that some may disagree, but we think that bats are pretty cute. However, it seemed a bad idea to have bats roosting in our attic, so I decided to open up the drywall on the wall and see if I could locate and possibly remove the bats. This seemed easier than crawling up through the attic, especially since the drywall in that area was slightly water damaged and would need to be replaced anyway.
Hammer in hand, I proceeded to pull off a section of the drywall about 5 feet wide by 4 feet tall. What fell out was a couple of old 2×4’s, some insulation, about a pound of poop pellets (bat? packrat? who knows…), and 4 fairly irritated bats:
The bats hit the floor, squeeked a bit in protest, then took off and proceeded to fly around the room. I, of course, ran away. As I exited the room I slammed the door shut behind me, but one particulary speedy bat managed to follow me into the other room and proceeded to fly around the bedroom. Here’s a short video…please excuse the heavy breathing, I was winded from all the running away…
After a few minutes of circling the room the bat landed on the curtains. Despite being angry, tired, and probably upset at my very existence, it was still pretty cute:
I found a towel and as gently as possible grabbed the bat and let him go outside, where it flew away without further protest. I then opened the door to the office, caught the other 3 bats, and escorted them from the building as well. I could still hear a few bats moving around in the attic, but couldn’t see them. Examining the framing under the drywall I removed I could see a few more unidentified poop pellets and a few small crawling bugs, which I have since learned are called bat bugs:
Irritating, but not serious.
To solve the bat problem, my plan is to wait until any remaining bats fly out at sunset and then seal the hole in the outside fascia (I suspect this will involve an explanation to my curious neighbor why I was hanging off the two-story roof peak after dark nailing a piece of wood over an almost invisible hole.) Any other bats that exit the attic into the office will be removed, and once I’m sure they are all gone I’ll spray with bug spray to kill the bat bugs. I’ll then repair the drywall, and call everything good. I also suspect I’m going to attribute any future chittering sounds I hear in the walls or attic to my overtaxed imagination and ignore them.
Unfortunately, all of this will have to be done in the next two days, as my wife’s mother is coming to visit this weekend and is staying in what I have now dubbed the Bat Room. I’m guessing we won’t tell her about the bats until after she has left. 🙂
One interesting thing I learned from this experience: catching flying bats is made a bit easier with a small (2 feet by 2 feet or so) window screen. If you hold the screen up in the path of the flying bat it will sometimes catch hold of the screen to land on it instead of crashing into it, and the bat can then be carried outside more easily. This did not seem to hurt the bats, and I stumbled upon this method as I was searching for something to deflect the flying bats away from my head as I ran from the room screaming in a very masculine, manly way.