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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Going Batty

Going Batty

I can handle snakes, spiders, and mice because they are on the ground, but bats really freak me out. They are the only flying mammal and they move fast. When I’m outside and they’re darting around, I know they are more interested in mosquitoes than me. But bring them indoors and it’s another story. While they don’t do structural damage, they do leave around their share of guano (poop). Bats are so small that they can enter a home through the smallest crack.

Last week I had guests from Long Island staying at my cottage, and the following drama ensued:

I still have visions of the creature flying around the living room. I still dream about how I was ducking and dodging and okay yelling. It got really intense when it had just disappeared and we lost track of it. We were tip toeing around the living room slowly opening and closing doors. Then it flew right at Ann Marie and she screamed and deftly dove into the bed room, shutting the door leaving both my mother and I abandoned as we fought to take back control of the camp. As the bat creature was erratically flying around, I was positioning myself with The Bat Exterminator in my hand. I saw the creature take a quick turn at me coming in for attack. It was then that I took a nice forehand swung with The Bat Exterminator and made contact with the creature sending it to the ground. This was met with a tremendous amount of satisfaction. As I slowly crept closer to check out the situation the creature started moving and squeaking. I was in the midst of throwing The Bat Exterminator at the creature squirming on the floor when my mother threw some paper towels at me so I could take back control of the camp. I then quickly approached the injured prey and managed to wrap the bat in the paper towel. As I picked it up I felt it move and heard it squeak again. I immediately dropped it to the floor and stepped back with fear that the creature may somehow counter attack. It was then that I decided that I knew what I had to do. I had to step on it. Not hard mind you, more like a little tap because I was so far away. As I inched closer I added a little more pressure until the movement and sound stopped. I was then handed a fireplace tool by the fearless Annie and I scooped up the wrapped bat quickly ran outside, into the woods, I grabbed one corner of the paper towel and flipped it hoping the bat would fall out. But no, it had to be caught in the towel so that as I shook the towel the creature almost landed on my head. earful that I would be touched I moved out of the way fast as it fell into the woods. I then ran inside, shut the door and looked out the window to make sure we were all safe. The bat was dead.

A few days later my 90-year-old mother called saying there was a bat in her house. This is the third time in 30 years so she was not panicked. In fact, when she did not find it the first night she closed her bedroom door and had a good night’s sleep. The next night she was armed with a “Bat Exterminator” and could not find the beast. The fact is that bats have a very fast metabolism. If they can’t find food (mostly insets), they will die. So, 24 hours later my mother figures this guy is deceased and will turn up somewhere.

What do you do when you have a “bat attack”? You don’t need to overreact, as my guests did. If it is in a room, close the doors to the room and leave a window open. You can also successfully remove a bat with a large jar or can. The idea, if you have the nerve, is to approach the bat quietly and slide the can over it, covering the bottom with cardboard and then let go outdoors.

Bats are great for the environment. They can consume between 1,000 – 1,200 mosquitoes an hour. Having a bat house on your property is good for mosquito control. Hang a bat house high in a tree. And – great news – bat guano is “wonderful for your garden”.

If you have bats in your home frequently, you can have an exclusion specialist come in and seal all entry points. These people are specially trained to make it so bats can get out, but not back in. You can learn more about dealing with bats humanely here.

No matter what, be sure to appreciate this mammal who is actually our best defense against mosquitoes. If you have a bat experience or have a time-proven approach to getting them out of your house, pass it along.


1 Ivaleen { 08.14.12 at 5:21 pm }

What a shame people freak and kill bats. Anything different seems game for killing. Shame.
They do a tremendous amount of good. I don’t want one in the house, but sure welcome
them outside eating bugs. At night they fly around and it seems there are fewer and fewer of them.

2 USAclimatereporter { 08.11.12 at 4:07 pm }

i have gotten 20 mosquito bites this summer i hope bats will eat the mosquitos but bats are a little scary i think

3 naturewalk { 08.11.12 at 3:28 pm }

Had a bat in the house at 4:00am last saturday, would have freaked me out more, but i was only half awake. i left the window open and closed the bedroom door (slept in the living room, i’m just not that brave) but it didn’t budge. the closer it got to daylight, the more it settled in on the smoke detector. had to get my landlord to take it away, he just wrapped a towel around it and released it outside. now i know what that stuff is called that i had to clean up! hope i don’t get more.

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