Bat Flying in the Attic

04.18.2005 - Here we have a photo of a bat flying in an attic. As you can see, the bat is flying away from me. It's not as exciting as a shot of a bat flying toward me, but as with most wildlife, this one would rather get away from the large sweaty hairless biped than approach it (note to ladies - I'm not always sweaty, but when in a Florida attic, it's unavoidable). This photo is actually quite rare, at least in Florida, for three reasons. First, it's usually hard to ever capture a photo of a bat on the wing, because they move so dang fast and erratically. Second, if I can capture a shot of a bat mid-flight, it's almost always out of focus. Third, the bats down here, and anyone can see from this photo that we've obviously got a Tadarida brasiliensis, don't usually take to the wing in the attic.

Up north, when I used to work with Myotis lucifugus, I'd see bats swarming around attics all the time. In fact, one of my favorite such moments was standing in an attic with a few hundred swarming all around me. Despite the chaos of the high numbers, the small space, and my presence, I was not brushed once by a single bat. I gained a lot of respect that day for the maneuverability of the bat on the wing. However, the Brazilian Free-Tails usually stick to the edges of the attic, close to the entry/exit points, and don't spread through the attic. Furthermore, they usually wedge themselves into tight gaps - they don't just hang out in the open. And they certainly don't take flight in the attic. They just kind of scuttle about, crawling to the open hole, and then take off.

This particular bat in this photo got separated from the rest of the colony amidst the bat pandemonium that ensued upon my uninvited arrival into their domain, and it had to use emergency measures - flight - to get back to the safety of the group. As it did so, I flashed a shot at it, and luckily, it turned out just fine. But what's that little bit of fluff sticking to the bat's right foot? Could be insulation, but my guess is that it's a little tuft of gray hair from some sweet old woman who the bat flew into. Bats love to fly into ladies hair you know. In fact, that's how I get them out of the attic. I place a bat trap inside a wig on top of a post outside, and they all flock right to it.

UPDATE - I've received many questions as to why I would be doing any bat work after April 15th, the "official" start of the maternity season in Florida. Well, anyone can see that this is a Free-Tailed bat, as mentioned. All the bats in this colony were Free-Tails. The Evening Bat, Nycticeius humeralis can sometimes give birth as early as mid-April. Free tails in this area give birth in early June. Of course, this was yet another house in which the homeowner was ready to hire a pest control company to spray poison in the attic to kill the bats, and I convinced the homeowners that it'd be a smart idea to do otherwise. And a nice idea. Bats are nice, except for that zany attraction to old lady hair. Maybe bats just like the color purple.

UPDATE - I've been informed by Bat Conservation International and the AARP that old lady hair is in fact blue, not purple.

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Bats in the attic can be unpleasant and not many people want to know that bats are living with them. Many have a wrong understanding of the vision of bats. You often hear people say things like “blind as a bat.” That is actually incorrect because bats have great eyesight. It is this eyesight that has led them to find a perfect spot for roosting in your home. They like to dwell in various parts of human homes. They like walls, overhangs and, of course, attics.

When seeking to rid your home of the uncomfortable reality of bats flying in your attic, you need to bear in mind the time of year. So, maybe it’s now winter and you have saved up the money to use the pest control service you’ve been thinking of using. Well, unfortunately, this is a bad time of the year to try to rid your home of bats. The problem is that bats hibernate during this time of the year and when they are in hibernation mode, they are practically impossible to remove from your home.

If you are trying to rid your home of bats, the best time to do this is between the months of August and September. Bats reach the height of their annual activity during these months. Bats are removed from your house by the use of one-way door traps. These are strategically placed at the points that bats use to enter and to exit. Setting these traps would be pointless during the wintertime while the bats are hibernating. However, in their peak months, this trap is highly effective.

Noise from Bats Flying in the Attic

Bats are creatures of the night. The technical word here is nocturnal. When they are living in your house in small numbers, it is pretty difficult to hear them. On the other hand, when they are moving in large numbers, they are very noisy. You will hear bats at dusk when they are preparing to fly away from your house.

How Bats Get into Homes

Bats are almost as nifty and sneaky as rats. They are able to enter your home through ridiculously small gaps. Experts have reported that if you have a space as small as 3/8 of an inch, they will be able to enter your home. It is from that point that they move on to identify a roosting spot. There are two ways that you can discover where bats are entering your home. One way is to observe potential spaces in your home to see if you notice any brown stains from the residue of their fur. Another way is to observe your property at dusk to see where they are using to enter.

Unless you love the idea of housing bats in your roof, you will want to rid your property of bats and you won’t want to hear bats flying in your attic. Listen and lookout for signs of bats living in your space. Also, remember that the best months to remove them from your property are August and September.

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