Bats provide a huge ecological benefit by eating thousands of mosquitoes and other pest insects every night. In some parts of the world, bats provide unique pollination services to the flowers that blossom at night. Bats are great to have around...at a distance.
Exposure to bat guano (droppings) can lead to several harmful diseases, some of which can be fatal. They irritate allergies and carry 'bat bugs' which our modern day bed bugs descended from when humans left caves. That is where our co-habitation with bats should have ended. These days we should encourage bats outside but we shouldn't share space with them.
The bat species most often found in buildings in Ontario is endangered in the province due to a fungus called white nose syndrome. This makes it illegal to kill, harm or harass bats, or exclude them while they have young babies.
DIY bat exclusions can be done but it's very labour intensive, and we do suggest a little help from a pro. Here are the basics:
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- By law, the bats must be allowed out while the sealing is done. We construct a special 'exit tube' that allows them out but not back in, and install it over their main access point. This is the portion that is probably best left to a professional. We're happy to make an exit tube, put it up for you and return a few weeks later to remove.
- Once the exit tube is installed you must go around the uppers on the entire structure (roof, roof line, soffit, fascia, etc) and seal any gap larger than a pencil eraser. Just because their main access point is sealed doesn't mean they won't try to get in somewhere else. The uppers must become an impenetrable fortress and it is extremely meticulous work. Now you may understand why it's one of our most expensive services.
- The exit tube should remain in place for 1-2 weeks and then should be inspected, removed and the final seal should be done in that area.
We can come up with a custom solution if you're interested in doing the work for a bat seal up. We can install the exit tube, return to examine your work and let you know if you missed anywhere, and remove the exit tube. This will come at a fraction of the cost of us doing the whole thing, but it will mean giving up a considerable amount of cottage time.
Side note: Bat boxes can be effective, but they must be lured and in the right spot. Get it as high as possible on a tree or post, and some bat droppings should be smeared inside to attract them to the area. Make sure you wear gloves and a respirator when dealing with the guano.