Little Brown Bat Control, Little Brown Myotis
If you’ve had a bat or two appear in your house, or if you’re hearing noises you suspect are made by bats, a little bit of investigation will go a long way. Depending on the time of year, it may be an isolated incident, or evidence of a resident maternity colony; here’s how to tell the difference, and how to proceed in either case.
The little brown bat is a uniform dark brown, with small black ears. They are widespread throughout the US (except Florida and Texas) and Canada, well into Alaska. Little brown myotis are fantastic foragers: individuals can catch up to 1,200 insects in just one hour. While that ability can make evenings a little more comfortable for us (gardeners and farmers benefit from the bats’ consumption of agricultural pests), little brown myotis can form nursery colonies containing hundreds, sometimes thousands of individuals in buildings, attics, and other man-made structures.
Myotis lucifugus occupies three types of roosts: day, night, and hibernation roosts. Day and night roosts are used by active bats and include, but are not limited to, buildings, trees, under rocks, and in piles of wood. If you’ve found little brown myotis in your house or attic, consider cleaning up rock and wood piles, too, and installing bat houses to give the bats an alternative to your attic.
Night roosts are usually away from day roosts, and are selected for their confined spaces where many bats can cluster together for warmth. Nursery roosts are warmer than day roosts, and are occupied only by females and their offspring. Nursery roosts are often reused from year to year.
Hibernation sites (often mines or caves) may be shared with other bats. Northern populations of little brown myotis enter hibernation in early September and end in mid-May; southern populations enter in November and end their hibernation in mid-March. Little brown myotis do migrate short distances, and may enter homes during at this time in search of suitable roosting sites.
Hearing Noises? Identifying the Culprit as a Brown Bat
First of all, is essential to verify that a nuisance is caused by bats, and not some other animal. Scrambling, scratching, and thumping sounds coming from attics and walls may be caused by rats, mice, or flying squirrels. Twittering and rustling sounds in old chimneys, often attributed to bats, may be caused by chimney swifts. Bats often become noisy before leaving their roosts at sunset and may chatter on hot days when they move down attic walls to seek refuge from heat. Thus, an increase in chirping noises about dusk probably indicates bats.
Here’s when you pull out the lawn chairs, lemonade, and bug repellent, and sit outside to watch your house around sunset time. If the “bats” swarm and enter the chimney at dusk, most likely these are swifts; a chimney cap will go a long way towards dealing with that problem. Bats will be seen leaving 15-45 minutes after sunset in midsummer. Make note of all the exits the bats are using, and make an approximate count of about how many bats you have (this is important for setting up bat boxes later on). During daylight hours, look for dark staining or smudges along the roofline; these may be places where bats are entering the building, where the oils in the bats’ fur has rubbed off.
Little Brown Myotis in Early Fall
The discovery of one or two bats in a house is probably the most frequent problem. Little brown myotis often enters homes through open windows and doors, but may use any crevice it can find. This usually occurs in the early fall when bats are checking for potential roost or hibernation sites. Little brown bats may also appear in midwinter during a warm weather spell.
Little Brown Myotis Appearances in Mid to Late Summer
Repeated occurrences of bats in your living spaces in mid to late summer suggest that a maternity colony is close by, most likely in the attic. As juvenile bats begin fending for themselves and exploring, one may explore its way into your living room. The presence of any bat in your living spaces is purely accidental; it is often a simple matter to allow it to escape.
Letting Them Out
Any bat will usually find its own way out; jut open all windows and doors leading to the outside. Bats usually will not attack a person even if chased. Never swat or throw things at the bat, or run around waving. All this tends to do is confuse the bat and leave you exhausted. Above all else, calmly watch the bat to make sure it leaves. If the bat refuses to leave, it will calm down and land on something. Drapes and hanging clothes seem to be the preferred rest areas. Place a small box or can over the bat, then gently slide thin cardboard under the “trap” to collect your bat, then release it outside. At last resort, local health authorities can be called to collect the bat, though this may result in its demise. If the bat, or any wild animal, has come in contact with pets, children, invalids, etc. contact your local health department. Health department recommendations vary from state to state.
Little Brown Myotis Exclusion
These are animals that can hone in on a single mosquito flying through the air; a ½ inch crack in the side of a house is easy for them to find. The first step in dealing with a bat infestation is to watch after sunset to see where the bat entrances to the home are, then sealing up all but one or two of them. Then install bat boxes, and plug the remaining entrances with paper after the bats have exited the building for the evening to prevent them from reentering the structure. Remove the temporary plugs in the evenings to allow any remaining individuals to escape, or have one-way exclusion devices installed. you can find a bat removal professional here.
There are several ways a professional bat abatement company can help. Look for a company who:
· has years of experience finding all the tiny entrances bats use to enter and exit a structure, and in sealing up those gaps.
· can quickly and efficiently clean up accumulated bat guano and urine, which poses a significant health risk if not dealt with properly.
· uses only the most effective exclusion and removal techniques, in compliance with all state and local regulations.