It’s Bat Season in Kentucky & Indiana: How to Get Rid of These Disease Carrying Pests and Keep Them Away
Did you know that a school in Kentucky recently had to close because of a serious bat infestation? That sounds like something out of a nightmare I had once. Wright Elementary School in Shelby County had been monitoring bats in the attic for about a month before they made their way to the gym and took over.
We used to see an occasional bat flying around during Rose Curtain Player rehearsals in the auditorium at OHS. My friend Tiffany even caught one once! Here is a picture of me "helping." I'm sure I was running around and squawking, to be honest.
So what do you do when bats become a menace? How do you keep them away in the first place?
Gray bats, Red Bats, and Big Brown Bats, Oh my!
According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife documentation, there are 16 species of bats here in the state. They hibernate in the winter when their main food source, insects, disappear for the cold season. They mate in the fall and then the female hibernates for the entire pregnancy! Jealous! When they wake again in the Spring, they have their pups. Depending on the species, they will then either form colonies to raise their young, or go solo. The big brown bats are apparently the ones that like to invade buildings.
How to Get Rid of Bats
While a few bats here and there are actually a good thing to ward off mosquitos, you don't want them to get out of hand. I found some really good tips from the building master himself, Bob Vila. He said, "Health concerns aside—and there are indeed viable health concerns—bat droppings and urine can destroy wood and other building materials, gradually compromising the structural integrity of your home." The key is prevention. but sometimes you don't know they've taken over until it's too late.
Saying "bye-bye" to the Bats
The first step is to find out how and where they are entering the structure be it your home or business. Chances are there may be more than one way they're getting in. The most common way is through the chimney, but it can even be a small crack or hole. Once you find that, you may think "Time to seal it up!" but you want to make sure the bats are out of the house first unless you want it to smell awful for a while. It's best to wait until the weather gets cold and they leave to find a place to hibernate. You can temporarily install a one-way exit tube which you can find at hardware stores or on Amazon.
Once the bats are gone, get to work sealing up the spot they enter from either with chimney caps or screens for your vents or that expanding foam filler to get the nooks and crannies. You'll want to clean any areas you know they were. Bats are known disease carriers, so you don't want that mess around.
Preventing Bat Infestations
Since bats can squeeze through the tiniest of places to enter your home, they may find another way to get in. If they are that persistent, it may mean there is a food source in your house. Call up an exterminator to get rid of any unseen insect problem. Luckily they are very fussy creatures that dislike, noise, bright lights, and certain smells. Hang something in the trees that makes noise like windchimes, Bonus points if it's some kind of metallic shiny object. Bats also hate the smell of cinnamon and eucalyptus.
Whatever you do, try not to kill the bats. They really are essential parts of our ecosystem and some species in the area are going extinct. We need them to help control insect populations and control mosquitos. Some are even protected by law and studied by wildlife conservationists like in this video about the Virginia Big-Eared Bat that live in caves.