What to do if you find a bat in your home | News, Sports, Jobs
SALT LAKE CITY – Most Utahans probably associate bats with the fall and Halloween season, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you find one in your home during the summer months . Utahans may see more bats this time of year because baby bats (called pups) learn to fly and leave their roosts for the first time. Here’s what you need to know about bats in Utah and what to do if you encounter them.
There are currently 18 confirmed bat species in Utah, but there could be more. The highest diversity of bat species in the state is found in southern Utah. Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. They are found throughout the state and can be plentiful wherever they can find food, shelter, and water.
Utah bats feed almost exclusively on insects. Bats depend on standing water for drinking and as a source of insects. Female bats have increased water requirements when producing milk for their young. Research has shown that in hot, dry years when there’s less standing water — like we’re seeing in Utah with the current drought — fewer female bats give birth and raise babies. So the drought could potentially impact the number of bats in the state.
When insects are unavailable during the winter months, many Utah bats either migrate or hibernate (although some species do a combination of the two and others remain active year-round). Sometimes they hibernate in caves and mines, and recent research in western states has shown that many small bat species also hibernate in cliff crevices. Bats in Utah do not typically hibernate in large groups like they do in many eastern states of the United States. They usually hibernate in small groups or alone.
Five species of Utah bats migrate each year. They fly south from late August to October, then return in April and May.
“Bat encounters appear to increase in September as migratory species, particularly the Mexican free-tailed bat, move through the state,” said Kimberly Hersey, mammal conservation coordinator for the DWR.
If you discover bats roosting in your home, what should you do?
Groups of bats in houses are often maternity colonies of female bats and their babies. Females usually emerge from hibernation and move into a structure to give birth, usually in May or June. They then have their babies and begin to increase their activity to support lactation – this is usually when people start noticing the bats. The young also become more active and begin to fly, which also attracts more attention.
“This time is the most difficult time of the year to deal with bat nuisance issues,” Hersey said. “Since the young cannot yet fly and are dependent on their mothers’ milk, preventing mothers from returning to their resting places will kill the babies. Because bats are a protected wildlife species, it is illegal to kill them.
“I’ve also seen where poorly planned moves can cause bats in attics to suddenly end up in someone’s house because mothers are trying to reach their young. So unless there is no If there is a human health and safety concern where bats come into close contact with people, we do not allow removal of bat colonies during this time of year. measures to prevent them from entering the living areas of your home.Although it can be annoying, you must wait until the young can fly, and then you can solve the problem in a safe, humane and permanent way.
If you suspect there is a colony of bats in your attic, you will need to contact a local licensed wildlife nuisance control company for assistance. The DWR will coordinate with this company to allow removal at specific times of the year that will not harm the puppies.
What to do if you find bats inside your home
Because bats can carry rabies – a deadly virus that can be transmitted to humans – you should never handle a bat with your bare hands. If you have physical contact with a bat, contact your local health department for advice. If you find a bat in the living room of your home, open a door or window, turn off the lights inside your home, and turn on a porch light outside. Leave the room and let the bat go on its own.
If the bat does not come out on its own, you can carefully remove it. Here are some tips for eliminating bats from your home:
- Wearing heavy leather gloves, place a small box or can over the bat.
- To create a lid, slide a piece of cardboard between the box and the surface the bat was on (usually a wall or curtain), enclosing the bat inside the container.
- Then take the bat outside and release it on a tree or other tall object.
Bats also occasionally use porches or overhangs as night roosts, where they can rest, digest, and excrete waste between meals. If bats regularly use a porch, try hanging streamers, balloons, or other items (like old CDs) that will move with the breeze. This seems to discourage bats from hanging around.
Tips to Keep Bats from Roosting in Your Attic
Cool your attic with fans to make it uncomfortable for bats to call home.
Inspect the exterior of the building for openings and gaps in the siding, chimneys and rooflines.
Seal cracks and holes with caulk, hardware cloth, foam rubber, foam sealant, tar paper and chimney caps. Don’t do this, however, when the bats have young from May to August. Fall is the best time to seal these openings, especially when bats leave their roosts.
After August, when the young can fly, you can also place a bird netting over an outdoor opening. Staple it at the top and sides, leaving the base open. Bats will be able to drop the net to leave, but will not be able to re-enter the roost. Leave the netting in place for four to five days or until all the bats are gone, then seal the holes.