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It’s late on a Saturday night, and like the wild and crazy person you are, you’re doing laundry. As you head down into your basement, an unidentified flying object soars in front of you.
You scream, but then what? We’ve got your back. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get rid of bats in your home (and other flying pests).
How to catch a bird in your home in 5.5 easy steps
Steps 1: Stay calm. We know this is easier said than done, but most animals don’t actually want to be in your house. And a screaming human does not help the situation and can only make things worse.
(Content Writer Susie admits to failing at Step 1.)
Step 2: If possible, close doors to keep the bird contained in one area, and make sure that area is not shared with any pets or children.
Step 2.5: If you notice the bird in your house is a predatory bird – like a bald eagle – immediately call a professional. (This type of fowl is above your paygrade.)
Step 3: Darken the room where the bird is located and open a window. If it’s light outside, the bird should fly toward the light (and out of your house). Once it’s out, close the window and make sure to clean up any excrement with bleach or other disinfecting household product.
Step 4: If the bird loves your home and refuses to leave, try using a sheet or towel to shoo the bird toward the window. (Avoid hitting the bird. You can injure it, and then you’ll have a bigger problem. Also, never use a broom or other harmful objects.)
Step 5: The bird still refuses to leave? Time to call in the pest control pros or even your neighborhood animal control specialist. They can extract the bird and make your home undesirable to wannabe pest guests.
How to get rid of bats in your home
Do you have a bat, or do you have bats? If a single bat enters your home, then you’ll follow the same steps as releasing a bird – with a slight twist.
Getting rid of a single bat
Step 1: Stay calm.
Step 2: Contain the bat in a small room or space.
Step 3: Turn on all the lights in the room and open a window. The winged rat should fly toward the darkness. You shouldn’t have to worry about another bat flying in as bats rarely fly into a home.
(Content Writer Susie: I’ve had three bats – all about 5 to 10 years apart. I think there might be something wrong with my home.)
Step 4: If the bat won’t leave on its own, keep tabs on it. When it lands, put a box or container over the top of it and slide a piece of paper or plastic between the floor and box. Then gently lift the box and release the bat outside near a tree. (Bats climb trees to get high enough to fly.)
Are bats dangerous in your home? Most bats do not have rabies. Still, you want to be super careful and not touch or hold a bat. Only trained professionals should extract a bat with their hands (while wearing thick gloves).
Not getting near it? We hear you.
Step 5: Call the pros for help, though it might be difficult. Since bats are generally a protected species, most pest control specialists opt for natural extraction (or letting the bat fly out on its own). You may be able to hire a licensed wildlife removal specialist – if there’s one in your area – or get your local animal control technicians.
However, you’ll need to know where the bat is. If the bat is trapped in a large space, like a cluttered basement, animal and pest control will not find it for you.
If you can’t find the bat or don’t want to stay near it, set up a camera in the area with a feed to your phone. Most smart cameras send alerts to movement, so you’ll know when your pest flies.
Did you lose it?
Here are some places where you might find a bat in your home:
- Near the top of curtains or wall hangings
- High cabinets in your kitchen
- Vent openings near the ceiling
- High shelves
- Closets (bats like the darkness)
- Near sump pumps in your basement
You may also be able to follow the trail of bat guano.
The good news is – bats can’t fly after three days without water, so if the bat is in your basement or attic and has no way of getting a drink, it’ll be easier to find after 72 hours.
Have bat colonies?
A bat infestation is never a good thing. Unfortunately, you’ll need to hire a licensed wildlife removal specialist to set up netting or tubes that will allow bats to escape but not re-enter.
Pro tip: Since bats are a protected species, you can only get rid of bats living in your home during late summer or early spring (outside of birthing season). Removing bats during winter is also an issue due to hibernation.
After the bats are gone, you’ll need to plug the entry points where they entered. Look for brown, greasy marks or “bat tracks” on the exterior of your home and plug there.
Also, seal all holes where bats could enter, as they can squeeze through a hole about the size of a quarter. Plus, bats generally like to return to prior roosts, so you want to make sure they can’t get back in. You can also invest in certain preventative devices that repel bats.
Finally, as bat droppings can be hazardous, this, too, should be handled by a professional. (If not, you’ll need an N95 mask, long sleeves, heavy gloves, eye protection, a professional-grade HEPA vacuum, and even a bleach solution.)
Expert-backed tips in the palm of your hand
Here at vipHomeLink, we know how difficult it is to know what to do and when to do it around the home. That’s why we help to simplify homeownership through our home management app, which provides homeowners with personalized reminders for home tasks. From getting rid of bats in your home to vacuuming your dryer vent, we’ve got you covered.
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