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Winter Bat Prevention and Control

 Bat Control tips to keep bats from hibernating in your home over the winter

Not only do bats sleep during the day, they hibernate throughout the winter. Washington and Oregon pest control experts warn that if your home is simply accessible, bats may choose it as their hibernation spot. By knowing about common Northwest bats and prevention strategies, you can take strides in thwarting their presence in your home.

Washington and Oregon Bat Species

  • Little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus): Common bat species; these bats often occupy bat houses
  • Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii): Rare bat species
  • Canyon bat (Parastrellus hesperus): Measures 2.5 inches from head to tail
  • Hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus): Measures 6 inches from head to tail, about the size of a sparrow; the wingspan measures 17 inches
  • Yuma myptis (Myotis yumanensis): Common bat species
  • Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus): Common bat species; these bats often occupy bat houses
  • Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus): Common bat species; eats insects on the ground and on trees
  • California myotis (Myotis californicus): Common bat species

Northwest bats are beneficial nocturnal mammals that eat flying insects such as mosquitoes, moths, termites and flies. They have good eyesight and use echolocation at night to find insects. Bats seem to fly erratically because they often fly and eat at the same time.

In September or October, bats choose a humid hibernation site that protects them predators, light, noise, cold temperatures and other disturbances. A bat may hibernate alone or in groups. Oregon and Washington pest control specialists state that it’s important to not disturb hibernating bats or nursery colonies with flightless pups. If you find bats hibernating in your home or on your property, a pest expert may suggest waiting until early spring to remove them.

Bat Prevention

Bat prevention should start in the summer. Prevention methods include:

  • Placing a black bat house on your property, away from your home
  • Covering entry points into your home or make areas hard to access. These areas include:
    • Chimneys
    • Building corners and roof edges
    • Areas where pipes or cables enter the home
    • Joints between window frames and exterior siding
    • Windows without screens
    • Loose shingles

Northwest bats are generally harmless, but you should never try to handle one—especially during the day or if it’s sick or dead. A bat that’s active during the day is usually sick. If you encounter a bat in your home, close any closet doors, open the window and close the door to the room. It will eventually fly outside. If there’s more than one bat in your home, call a professional—such as Eden—right away.

[ Photo by: shellac, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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