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Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

Bats in my Attic

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

Yes, I have (well, had) bats in my attic. Normally, I wouldn’t write two pest-themed articles back-to-back. However, I’m not heartless so I won’t leave you squirming after last week’s cliffhanger.

For those of you who missed last week’s article, I started finding Bees in the Bathroom in early April. When I finally looked at myself in the mirror and admitted we had a problem, I called a (well, actually, THREE) pest control companies with an SOS. After a visit from the bee guy, we were happy to find out our bee problem was actually quite small. We were not so ecstatic to find out we also had a bat problem in our attic.

Bats in my Attic = a Specialized Problem

Noah (the bee guy), The Mathematician and I are standing below the attic access panel after Noah emerges from his bee inspection. Noah gives us the good news that there are no bees up in the attic area. He is confident the bees are only accessing the home through the tiny hole in our window trim.

Before we can celebrate the good news, Noah drops a bombshell on us. While checking for the bees, he spotted bat poop laying on top of the insulation. Noah indicated that the infestation seemed relatively minor and recent in nature, but he recommended we take care of the issue right away. At this point, The Jr. Mathematician has joined the fray, and she is looking around for bats as she bounces around us.

Ours probably don’t look like this one.

And before you ask, we never heard a single noise coming from the attic!!

What’s the deal with bats?

Bats present a few safety issues for homeowners. The biggest concern from the bat itself is rabies. If a bat bites a human or animal, the bat can transfer rabies. If you do not receive a rabies shot in the next several days, the disease can progress through your system and ultimately cause death.

The bat poop, called guano, can contain a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. If you breath in the fungal spores, you can develop a disease called histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis presents similar to pneumonia and can become serious if not treated.

Stringy bat poop on insulation
Exhibit A: Bat Guano

For these reasons, it is recommended that you call a professional to deal with getting rid of the bats and cleaning up the guano. A professional will use appropriate protective gear (or PPE for my manufacturing friends!) to protect themselves from the dangers presented by bats.

No Thanks, Batman

Now, the company Noah works for does not assist with bat exclusion. Note, I said “exclusion” not “extermination”. Bats have their own important place in our ecosystem, just like bees. It is unnecessary to kill the bats when it is actually more simple to run them out of town.

Noah recommends a specific local company to assist with the bats. I thank him and wave him on his way, happy in the knowledge that our bee issue should be resolved. If not, Noah will come back out anytime in the next six months, free of charge.

I look up the bat man Noah recommended, and do what I always do: I read the company’s google reviews. (I’m going to do a quick side tangent here – always research your household vendors! This story perfectly illustrates why you should do so.) This bat guy has over 4-stars on Google. I click to skim the reviews and see immediate red flags. Within the last 6-8 months, all the reviews are 1-star and the complaints are all the same: He took my money up front and then wouldn’t answer his phone and didn’t come back to finish the job. No thanks, Batman.

“Bat Guys”, not “Bad Guys”

Back to Google, I go. I find a place which has rave reviews and, specifically, multiple positive reviews about bats. I call, and I am able to have my free inspection and quote within about three business days. The day of the free inspection, the Jr. Mathematician happened to be home from school and she kept asking when the “bad guys” were coming. (“Sweetie, I said ‘bat guys’.”)

The bat guys go up in the attic, come back down about 20 minutes later and walk me through their findings, with photos to illustrate. No surprise here, friends! The construction crew didn’t seal up all the points of entry in the attic, so the bats made themselves at home. The team heads outside to finish up an inspection on the exterior of the house.

Eaves inside attic with gap with sunlight coming through
Exhibit B: Construction crew mishap.

Dissecting the Costs

I’ll be honest, the quote was about spot on to what I was expecting, but seeing that bottom line STUNG (unlike those Miner Bees 😂). They broke the quote into two services, one for the exclusion and one for insulation clean up. Splitting them up was appreciated so I could consider whether we wanted to attempt to do clean up ourselves (which lasted for half a second before I realized I do not want myself or The Mathematician cleaning up bat poop).

Blonde woman in black dress rolling her eyes thinking while math formulas scroll the screen
Bat guano = hard pass

In this instance, I chose not to get a second quote because I comfortable extrapolating that the labor, materials, overhead and risk factors for the job made the quote a fair price. I was able to schedule the same team to come back out about 4 business days later to execute the bat exclusion piece of the quote.

The Escape Hatch

So, of course, when the team comes back I ask them 50,000 questions and ask if I can take pictures. It turns out the process of bat exclusion is quite straightforward. The guys will seal off all but two points of entry in the attic. Next, they will install a one-way “bat door” that allows a bat to leave the attic but not return.

I’m wracking my brain trying to think about what could this fancy door door possibly look like. I’m picturing some sort of crazy trap door wire contraption.

The jumping off point for my imagination.

Friends, I’ll tell you what a one-way bat door looks like. It looks like $3 worth of PVC and mesh. Uh, huh. Yes.

a one way bat door made of gray pvc and wire mesh
The lead bat guy gamely shows me the door.

Turns out this method is one of those where more is less. So basically, this door plays on the fact that a bat cannot fly into a tight space like a PVC pipe. The bat is able to crawl out the PVC pipe and fly away. It cannot fly toward the eaves and fly into the small PVC pipe to return to the attic.

Here you can see the bat door installed, sticking out of the eaves.

The above bat door is installed in one of the gaps the bat guys found under my eaves. The bats will go to their usually point of exit and be able to crawl out the PVC pipe. What they cannot do is fly into the PVC pipe and re-enter the attic. There is one on the opposite side of the house as well. Here is a video from youtube if you want to see an install in action.

When the Coast is Clear

All other points of entry were sealed up. In a few weeks, the team will return to remove the one-way bat doors, seal up those points of entry and spot clean/remove affected insulation in the attic (i.e. the poopy insulation). That amount of time should be sufficient to ensure all the bats have left the building.

The service comes with a 5-year warranty because bats will attempt to return to a former home for up to FIVE YEARS! If you are having this type of work done, ensure that the company will warranty their work after the fact.

Overall, while expensive, the entire process was way less hassle than I initially thought it would be. This experience was not what I expected when I found that first insect (is it a fly? is it a bee?) in our bathroom.

I think this pair of articles on the bees and the bats illustrates that you have to keep on top of protecting your home from pests and wildlife. While our home is a newer construction, that did not exclude us from the presence of pests and critters. In fact, we were probably more vulnerable because we were the first to live in the home.

Lesson #2: Just because you don’t hear the bats, doesn’t mean they aren’t in your attic. You may want to consider taking a peek or getting a critter/pest inspection.

As always, thank you for joining me as I spill all my most embarrassing homeowner stories! If you need the name of some great companies, please feel free to reach out.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Cathy

    We got a quote for bay removal- $10k! Wanted to rip off our metal roof. Went with a $50 ultrasonic thing from Amazon. Must work as no more bat scratching in the roof.

    1. I didn’t even know that was a thing! For us it was about $900, but it was worth it to have them seal up all the points of entry because the access points the builders left were big. Our house needs a 24 foot ladder to get to the second story so neither I nor The Mathematician are down with climbing that high. At least this way birds and other creatures won’t come move in now that the bats are gone.

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