My name is Benjamin Vaughan and I am a residential bat specialist in Ontario.
If you haven’t already I recommend that you first watch my video on bat basics. That video explains why and how bats get into our houses & living spaces. By the way, what I am about to tell you only really applies to Ontario bat problems.
How to know if you really have a bat problem
When most homeowners think “bat problem” they usually imagine dozens of bats pouring out of a roof at dusk. The reality is that most residential “bat problems” are far more subtle and it’s pretty rare for homeowners to even see one bat fly out of their roof. In fact most homeowners only discover they have a bat problem when one shows up inside their home.
The first time it happens many decide that it was a fluke and probably came in an open window or door. It’s usually only after they get a few more bats inside that they realize the problem is more serious. Just how serious a problem they have is almost impossible for the average homeowner to figure out.
Now North Americas most abundant bat species the big brown lives quietly in millions of houses, across Ontario. It is estimated that more than 95% of all residential bat colonies in Ontario are big brown bats. Most enter and exit buildings high up and only need a tiny gap to squeeze into your roof. Bats are quiet, nocturnal and most of their colonies are quite small, which makes it easy for them to live in our houses unnoticed. Also, bats don’t go out every night or at the same time or even in the same place. While many homeowners assume the bat came in a door or window, bats show up inside houses because they generally live in the walls (not attics, which are too hot in summer and too cold in winter). After entering the roof they use gaps beside plumbing pipes and chimneys to get into the walls and often can travel all the way down the wall to an unfinished space like a basement or furnace room. Once inside they move from room to room by crawling under doors.
So then they call me and ask:
– Do I have a serious bat problem or not?
– Is having a few bats living in my house serious or not?
– If I get an odd bat inside does it mean I have a serious bat problem?
– Can I live with them or do I have to fix this?
And the answer is to all those questions is yes. But only if you feel like it.
Because the real question you need to answer is you how phobic of bats are you. How phobic are the other members of your family. If you can handle the odd bat coming inside and live with the idea of an unknown numbers of bats living in your walls, go for it. If you would rather not spend the money and can live with the consequences go for it.
Some people ask if bats pose a health risk? Good Question.
The answer is no but if you find a bat in your bedroom or your kids bedroom you are going to call your local health unit and ask about rabies shots. However, there have only been 3 confirmed rabies deaths attributed to big brown bats in North America and never one in Ontario.
Whether you have one bat or a thousand the only one way to stop them living in your walls and showing up inside your home is to have an experienced bat specialist come out and bat proof the building and humanely exclude the bats. And Bat proofing a house is not simple or inexpensive. Now, if you find a bat inside your home at some point you will get more because bats leave scent trails others can follow. Once they discover a way in, they will keep coming back. How often that will happen is unknowable.
When homeowners ask me do I have a serious bat problem what they really want to know is should they bother. And that ultimately that depends on how you feel about it and nothing else.