Bats In The Basement Explained!

Bats In The Basement Explained!

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How do bats get in the basement

The first time homeowners find a bat in the basement they usually assume that it was a fluke and it came thru an open door or window. It is often only after they encounter more that they call me.

Hi i’m Benjamin Vaughan and as a bat specialist in Ontario I get many calls and emails from homeowners finding bats in their basement. Although a bat can show up anywhere inside your home the basement the most common place that homeowners find them.
How bats end up there is actually quite interesting. And we are going to look at how they do it.

The first thing you need to know is that the bats showing up in your basement are big brown bats. Big browns live quietly million of Ontario homes, they enter and exit buildings high up and only need a tiny gap to squeeze into. They are quiet, nocturnal and most of their colonies are quite small.

Even thought Big brown bats enter and exit houses up high they don’t live in attics, they only pass thru them and hang out there occasionally. They most often live in the interior walls of houses because attics are too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

Big brown bats use openings beside plumbing pipes, Chimneys and partition walls to get out of the attic and into walls. Once inside they usually can not get much further as their movements are limited by horizontal framing between the studs called blocking.

However homebuilders routinely route pipes, wires and ducts between the studs of interior walls and cut or remove this blocking entirely.

This can allow a bat a way to come all the way down a wall into an unfinished space like your basement or furnace room.

And unfinished basements or furnace rooms are the most common place where bats get out of the walls and into your living space.

If your basement ceiling is unfinished you can see gaps beside pipes wires and ducts that bats use to get out of the wall and into your basement.

Once inside bats easily can move from room to room by crawling under doors.

Bat can show up inside your basement any day of the year but most bats show up during the hottest months particularly July and August when the bat populations are at their peak and when they most often pop inside air conditioned homes to cool off. This is also the time of year when curious young bats go exploring and end up inside.

As the winter months approach big browns will seek out a cool spot in the basement to begin hibernation. Usually between the foundation and wall insulation. Most bats that show up in basements during winter appear after a big temperature change while moving to a different spot with the ideal temperature for hibernation.

Ultimately the only way to stop bats showing up inside your basement is to completely bat-proof the exterior and humanely exclude them.


Bats in the basement
I have been getting bats out of my clients basements for 3 decades now. In that time I have seen a lot of companies come and go that offer services to get the bats out of the basement. Unfortunately most of them were not specialists in bat problems but were usually jack of all trades wildlife problems companies that offered services to get bats in the basement outside as well as doing all other types of wildlife and pest control. Usually they mostly did raccoons, squirrels and skunks and every time it seems they dabbled in bat problems they would fail to do the job correctly. Usually it looked like they were trying to fix a bat in the basement problem using raccoon and squirrel proofing methods
My name is Benjamin Vaughan and I am a residential bat specialist. If you haven’t already, I recommend that all my customers watch my video on residential bat problems first. That video explains how and why bats get into our houses, living spaces and basements.
BTW What I am about to tell you mostly only applies to Ontario bat in the basement problems.
Many customers tell me they encountered a bat inside their basement and now cannot find it. Many have spent days turning over furniture and cleaning out closets in a desperate attempt to find the bat. And they naturally wonder where the heck did it go. fortunately there is a simple explanation for all of this.
In Ontario more than 95% of all the bats that show up inside basements are big brown bats. And I believe that probably 100% of my customers that have bats showing up in their basements are big browns. The big brown bat is the most abundant species of bat in North America and they live quietly in millions of Ontario houses, in fact most homeowners will not even know they have bats.
Big browns typically enter and exit buildings high up and only need a tiny gap to squeeze into your roof. They are quiet, nocturnal and most of their colonies are small which makes it easy for homeowners to completely miss them. Most of my customers often tell me that the bats suddenly showing up inside their basement disappear just as quickly.
Most of my customers with a bat in the basement assume incorrectly that it came in a door or window, however bats actually show up inside basements because they live in the walls of houses and 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 in some houses can travel all the way down to an unfinished space like a basement or furnace room, once inside they easily move from room to room by crawling under doors.
What my customers with bats in the basement don’t realize is that the bats will often crawl back up into the walls they came out of and if they did, searching the basement all day long will not turn them up.
If you look at the unfinished ceiling of a basement you can see the gaps beside pipes and ducts that bats use to get out of the walls and into the basement. In many of my client’s basements the bats can easily crawl back up into the walls.
Big browns also disappear from the basement because they sometimes dive down heat registers into the duct work especially if they are frightened or if they have been isolated in the basement with no other way out. Sometimes they can get out of the ducts or will come out another heat register but many end up dying in duct work. The corpses of dead bats are frequently found by professional duct cleaners especially by the furnace filter.
Many of bats that come inside basements are genuinely lost and those usually turn up again as they must find a way out of the basement and outside or will soon be dead from dehydration.
In winter bats hibernating in basements may appear inside after waking up to clean themselves, mate or move to a better hibernation spot. If left alone most will go back into their basement hibernation spot.
Bat in the basement problems bat problems guide.
How to get rid of bats in your basement. Step by step guide for getting rid of bats in the basement.

If you are certain that there has been no contact with the bat, here are the steps to follow to get it out of your basement.
Step 1: Isolate the bat. I always recommend that my customers with bats in the basement close doors and the other parts of the house. Put a towel under any doors to the basement to prevent the bat from crawling under it and place heavy book over any heat registers in the basement as many of my customers with bats in the basement lose track of the bat when they dive down the heat register or go back up into the walls.
Step 2: Open a basement door or window as close to the bat as possible. The bat is usually lost and wants to get out of your basement so it can find food and water. I always tell my customers with bats in the basement that the bat wants to get outside and away from the scary humans. It will eventually (could take up to an hour sometimes) sense the fresh air movement and fly out a basement window or door.
Step 3: Turn off anything that makes noise. I also tell my customers with bats in the basement that loud noises often confuse bats echolocation systems. Turning off anything that makes noise will go a long way in helping the bat to find its way out of the basement.
Step 4: Keep an eye on the bat. Many of our customers with a bat in the basement spend hours searching the basement for the bat if it goes into hiding. When it does fly out, it will be sudden – and quiet. It may circle the basement from time to time before it discovers the open door or window.
Step 5: Removing the bat. If the bat does not seem to be exiting the basement on its own or you are feeling impatient, you can attempt to capture the bat and release it outside. When we are removing a bat from the basement we always wear gloves and long pants when attempting to capture the bat. Here are a few methods.
Throw a towel over the bat . Once the bat is under the towel, scoop it up, making sure to wrap the bat inside. Be sure not to crush it!
Whenever we remove a bat from the basement, we usually place an empty laundry basket or wastepaper basket over the bat. Then take a newspaper, magazine or other similar object and slide it between the wall/floor and the bat. Make sure not to pinch the bat.
Use a small-meshed net to capture the bat . (A large-meshed net may capture the bat as well but it may injure it as the bat will likely become entangled in the net and require you to use a more hands-on approach.
Attention! to all my customers with a bat in the basement. Please Do Not: Swing at the bat with a tennis racket or a baseball bat .
Step 6: I warn all my customers with a bat in the basement that if you hear a clicking noise that means that the bat is scared and may actually attempt to bite. Once you have the bat inside the towel or a container, bring it outside, some distance from the house. Make sure that any doors or windows in the basement are now closed. Remove the towel or newspaper and turn the container on its side. The bat should be able to get out and fly away. I remind all my customers with a bat in the basement that it is not easy for the bat to take off from the ground, so if possible, push the container or towel as close to a tree as possible.
Finally, I ask all my customers with a bat in the basement, please do not to harm or kill the bat. The bat just got lost. It will not go after you. However I tell all my customers with a bat in the basement that we will need to bat -proof your home and exclude any other bats or you will get more bats showing up in the basement again.