Different Trapping Methods for Bats
Once you hear the screeching of little bats in your attic, you may be disgusted, annoyed, scared, and thinking “what do I do now?” First, take it as a compliment. Bats deemed your attic so safe that they wanted to roost there. Second, there’s no need to call the national guard. Bats won’t attack you unless you attack them first. It is true that bat droppings, called guano, can carry bacteria that are harmful to people and pets. The same can be said for bats, themselves. So third, you need a way to get them out without risking exposure.
Trapping bats is a short-term resolution to a long-term problem. Depending on the time of year, you may need to leave the bats where they are. They are protected by law in most states, so trapping bats or killing them is illegal. Calling a professional will do the trick without risk, but there are a few ways you can try out if you’re so inclined.
Netting to Trap and Release Bats
Placing bat netting or mesh over the opening they use to enter and exit their roost can trap bats as they come and go. When purchasing bat netting, it should come with instructions on how to place the net so it works one-way. You want the bats to be able to leave the roost but not enter it. In total, this method can take up to a week to get your attic bat-free.
Keep in mind that this is a net, so it can trap bats within. A trapped bat is scared and possibly more aggressive, meaning it will likely try to bite you if you get too close. On one hand, leaving the bat is inhumane because it will most likely starve to death. On the other, getting close enough to it puts you at risk of disease or infection.
If it is maternity season, which is within the summer months, then bats are roosting to raise their young. During this time, it’s never recommended to attempt trapping bats or removing them. It can be punishable by law if you do.
Cages and Glue Boards to Trap Bats
A lot of people try to set up cages to trap bats at the entrance/exit they use to get in and out of your attic. This runs the same issue as the netting, but more elevated. With a cage, you have to approach the bat to release it or let it starve to death in the cage. When approaching a trapped bat, you risk exposure to potentially deadly diseases, bacteria, or infections. If you let the bat die, it can aggravate the rest of the roost or release a disease like rabies or white-nose syndrome. Have a plan before setting up cages and understand the risk of trapping a bat this way.
Glue boards are the least humane method for trapping a bat. The idea is that a bat will fly into it and get stuck, trapping it until it starves to death. There’s no way to remove a bat once it’s stuck, and each glue trap only works on one or two bats at a time. It’s a time consuming and terrible way to trap roosting bats.
Shooing Out a Trapped Bat
Sometimes, there really is just one bat. Maybe it accidentally flew into one of your open windows and you need to get it out without harming it and without it harming you. In these cases, the simplest solution is the best. Grab a broom and gently sweep the little guy towards an open door or window.
It’s helpful to turn off anything that makes noise and close off each room as you go. You don’t want to accidentally trap a bat further into your home. Since bats use echolocation to navigate, turning off anything that makes noise like radios or televisions will keep it from being confused as it flies around frantically. It’s important to remember that this little bat wants to get out just as much as you want it to get out.
Bats can be troublesome, especially in the summer when they’re raising their young. It’s frustrating, too, if you have to wait to remove them from your home. If this is the case, remember that bats are not going to attack you.They are generally active for about two hours at night (and hopefully it’s when you’re already asleep) and it’s mainly for hunting insects. If it’s off-season or you just have one bat that mistakenly flew in, shooing it out is the best at-home method. Otherwise, call a professional.