Fall is the time to safely evict bats from houses — Waterbury Roundabout
A bat nestles in rafters near insulation. Vt. Fall is a good time to safely evict bats from structures. Vt. Fish & Wildlife photo
It may feel like bats are everywhere to some of Vermont’s human residents. Summer is when some species of bats gather in colonies to raise their young in human-made structures such as houses, barns, office buildings, and bat houses.
And fall is the safe time to get them out.
“Summer is the time of year when the greatest number of unwanted bat-human interactions are reported,” according to Alyssa Bennett, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s small mammals biologist. Bennett works on the conservation and recovery of Vermont’s threatened and endangered bat species.
“Bats can end up in your living space for many reasons, including young bats that are weak, disoriented, or lost while coming and going from the roost, bats moving within a structure to find warmer or cooler roosting space as temperatures fluctuate, and bats being displaced from their roosts due to building repairs and renovations,” Bennett said.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife file photo of a little brown bat.
Although this happens every year, it can come as quite a shock to those who wake up to a bat flying in their bedroom or suddenly uncover a dozen bats roosting behind a rotting trim board being removed from the outside of a home.
But don’t fear -- there are answers to your burning bat questions at vtfishandwildlife.com using the search term “bats.”
Living with wildlife means considering the health and well-being of both humans and these fragile wildlife species. Although rarely detected in the general bat population, rabies is a deadly disease and should be taken very seriously.
If you are concerned that you have been in direct contact with a bat, have found a bat in a bedroom while sleeping or in a room with an unattended child, a pet, a person with a cognitive disability, or an intoxicated person, please call the Rabies Hotline at 800-4RABIES (1-800-472-2437). If the hotline staff and or your health care providers determine there is no concern for rabies exposure, the bat can safely be released outside.
Instructions for safely capturing, containing and releasing a bat found inside can be found on Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s website, including an instructional video.
“Living with wildlife doesn’t mean that we have to share our homes with bats in order to protect them,” Bennett said. “Our main concerns are avoiding human contact by safeguarding the living space, evicting bats from structures safely, and providing alternative habitat for displaced bats.”
Bat guano accumulates along the base of this chimney. Vermont Fish & Wildlife photo.
Large colonies of bats living in structures can also be reported on the department’s website to help find rare colonies of endangered little brown bats, which are eligible for free bat houses.
This time of year, bat colonies are starting to disperse now that young bats can fly. Fall is a good time to think about safely evicting bats from structures where they are not wanted by following the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s Best Management Practices. These are available on Fish and Wildlife’s website along with a list of professionals who perform safe evictions.
In addition to the online information, you can call 802-353-4818 or email [email protected].