Keep Bats & Critters From Entering Attics With Screening

Welcome to the 281st Metamorphosis Monday!

Guess where we are?

We’re in the attic. Hot up here, isn’t it? Well, it is June, ya know.

See that brown thing over there? Know what it is?

Yup! It’s a bat.

Bats Hanging in Attic Before Screening

 

About a week ago I went up to the attic to check on something and that’s when I spied Mr. Bat. When I first saw him hanging there under the small gable window in my attic, I thought he was actually inside the attic. I was too far away to see there was a screen covering the window.

I called a few companies who specialize in wildlife removal and they came out to give me an estimate. That’s when I learned there was actually a screen over the window and Mr. Bat was  making himself at home on the outside of the house. Of course, once I took some photos with my zoom lens, I could see the screen covering the window.

All I can say is, thank goodness for screening! Apparently, builders put it over attic gable windows when a home is being built to keep bugs out. It works pretty well for bats, too. I’m surprised it’s still in place after 31 years.

Bat Hanging in Attic Before Screening

 

See the gable vent in the top right corner of this picture? That’s where Mr. Bat was hanging out. Literally.

Screened in Porch with Two Decks

 

I never even knew that little attic gable window was there. It’s just above the deck that has a pergola, the deck that’s to the right of the screened porch.

So, what do you do when a bat or fifty decide to try to make your home a bat cave?

Deck with Pergola Above

 

You hire a company that specializes in wildlife removal and they get on a very tall ladder and cover the gable vents with screening. The company I hired used 1/4 inch wire screening. That’s pretty much what all the companies I talked to told me they would use.

In the picture below, the screening is already in place, so this gives you an idea of how it looks up close. Of course, before the screening took place, Mr. Bat was politely asked to leave. There are all kinds of laws and regulations concerning what you can and can’t do if it’s a female bat with babies. They are protected during certain months of the year and can’t be disturbed.

My bat was alone, no babies, and wasn’t actually roosting inside the attic. A mist of water from a water bottle and he was on his way. It was several days before the company came back out with the materials needed to cover the gable. Fortunately, Mr. Bat didn’t return in the meantime.

Screen Gable Vents To Keep Bats and Squirrels Out of Attics

 

I actually have four gable vents in my attic: the small one where Mr. Bat was hanging out and three large ones. I’ve lived in this home for over 22 years and this is the first time I’ve had a bat hanging out in a gable. Since the guys were already here and they highly recommended it, I went ahead and had them screen over two of the other three attic gables. The one you see here was one of the gables they screened. It is so high up, you can’t see the screening from below.

Screen Gable Vents to Prevent Animals Getting Into Attic

 

I had the one at the other end of the attic screened over, too. Again, it had screening inside already. I didn’t mind having it screened because it’s not visible at all from the ground. It’s pretty much completely hidden due to the garage. I had to use my zoom lens just to get this photo…normally you can’t see it at all.

Screen Gable Vents To Keep Bats and Squirrels Out of Attics

 

The only attic gable vent I didn’t have screened on the outside was the one over the garage. I just knew it would bug me seeing the screening over this gable since it’s so low and visible over the garage. As mentioned, all the gable vents have screening on the inside, so it’s unlikely anything would try to get into the attic anyway. The exterior screening is mainly to discourage another bat from roosting up under the gable on the outside.

Gable Vent

 

Personally, I like bats. They eat pesky bugs. But you can’t have them roosting up under your gable because they go to the bathroom and the next thing you know, you have a guano problem. The company that did the screening cleaned up the small amount of guano that was on the lower louver of my attic gable window. Fortunately, there was no guano inside the attic itself.

Could you do this job? I wonder if they ever get used to these heights or if they need a stiff drink at the end of the day.

Screen Gable Vents To Keep Bats and Squirrels Out of Attics

 

Before the screening is installed, they paint it to match your trim so it will be as invisible as possible. They used flat head screws and those get painted as well. If you ever need this done, make sure the company you choose uses screws (not staples) to attach the mesh. Staples can be hard to get out if the mesh ever needs to be removed for painting, although they would likely just spray the mesh if the house is being sprayed.

Screen Attic Gable Vents To Keep Bats and Squirrels Out of Attics 7_wm

 

I took this picture below with my zoom lens once the installation of the screening was complete. This is the gable vent that’s the highest up, around 4 stories high.

In addition to screening, you can go whole-hog and have what’s known as a “total exclusion” done. It’s pretty costly, the quotes I got were around $1,500-1,600. Apparently, most homes have a small gap right around the soffit area. If you go up into your attic and see daylight around the outer edge of your attic, that’s the gap.

They can install metal all the way around the entire perimeter of the house to cover that small gap. It fits across the top, slightly up under the roof singles, so it isn’t really visible. If it does happen to show a tiny bit in some places, they can paint it to match your trim.

Usually folks do that if they have had an issue with squirrels or something that has actually gotten into their attic. Since I’ve lived here over 22 years and have never had an animal get into my attic, I opted to not do the total exclusion.

Also, I work from home. So if something like that ever did happen, I’d hear it and know it right away. If this were a second home or a home I only lived in a few months of the year, I would have seriously considered the total exclusion, but it seemed like overkill for one measly bat hanging on an exterior gable window. Several of the companies I got estimates from said they didn’t think it was necessary in my case, either.

Screen Gable Vents To Keep Bats and Squirrels Out of Attics

 

I was lucky the builder had put screens on the attic gable vents. If he hadn’t, I could have had a bat living in the attic instead of just outside it. Again, I like bats and I like that they eat insects. It’s just not recommended to let them roost in your gables due to the mess they can make.

So that’s my very batty “Before and After” for this week!

Ever had any unwanted house guests in your attic?

 

Met Monday

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Comments

  1. I like bats too and I know you have plenty of bugs for them to eat. I’m sure he found another place to live. I just had a possum in my attic and I was very glad he moved out (we fixed the hole he ate through our roof). Thanks so much for hosting this week.
    Kristi

    • Yikes, it amazes me that they would want to live in such a hot place. The wildlife guys said they get REALLY busy in September because that’s when squirrels have babies and start looking for attics to nest in.

  2. Thanks so much for hosting!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  3. Susan, No way could I climb on that tall ladder! Thank goodness for screens! I like the fact that they eat 1000 mosquitoes an hour but I don’t want to live under the same roof with them either 🙂

  4. You sound like me. Stuff like that bugs me as well, so I’ll take an extra step to make sure things don’t happen as well. Thanks for hosting.

    Shannon ~ bohemianjunktion.com

  5. So glad it was an easy fix! We had a village of bats in the attic at our old house and had regular visits with squirrels….squirrels are not my friends! I love bats but not in my house!

  6. Oh dear, Now you have me wondering about my attic. I don’t know if we have screens or not, but we’ve never had a bat problem…that I’m aware of. We do occasionally see them in the sky at late evening catching insects. Thanks for the information and glad you didn’t have a big problem… just the one bat.

    • Thanks, Babs! Check your attic, just in case. I go up there a few times a year to change the AC filter and whenever the heating/ac guy is here doing his regular maintenance. I just like to know what’s going on when they are here, so I go up pretty often. First time I’ve ever seen a bat hanging out so I think I caught him pretty early.

  7. Good Morning Susan! Thank you for hosting today. I finally have a post for Metamorphosis Monday. I have been collecting for this fairy garden for close to a year and it was so much fun to put together. Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to actually create something. Have a lovely day, I have to run off to work now.

  8. That can be a big problem! We had them in our Victorian cottage in south Georgia. Thank goodness there was only one! Have a great week!…hugs…Debbie

  9. Yikes, Susan! Never had bats, but I have a friend who did, and it was expensive process and had to be repeated! They actually have bat houses installed in their tree(s) now. I have had an uninvited guest though, through that soffit area. We have screening there, but apparently a bird (or two or three) found a gap at its edge, and found a way in, and nested! I blogged on it, as I nearly impaled my foot trying to nudge what I thought was a returning bird one morning (http://wvpanoply.blogspot.com/2013/11/warming-up.html). I think I’d need a stiff drink DURING a job like that guy at your house had! Glad for you the bat is gone!

    • The guy who I used said they like to return to their old haunts. Guess I better keep a good eye on the gable I didn’t screen, just in case. Yikes about your foot! Glad you were okay…very scary! I know, I think I’d at least need a glass of wine. I don’t think I would have the nerve to climb that high.

  10. Thanks for the party! Have a great week!
    Blessings,
    Nici

  11. So glad you got your “bat issue” taken care of . . they are creepy little things. I do not think I could watch them installing the screening material…as they are so very high up on the ladder…I definitely would be a “Nervous Nellie” . Thanks for hosting Susan…have a wonderful week!

  12. Oh God, I can’t deal with creatures! You are so brave to photograph that thing! So glad you are protected, I will be on the lookout! Thanks for the party today~

    • lol At the time I took the photo, I thought he was inside the attic but I figured he would stay put. He didn’t like it when I shined a flashlight on him though…that made him move around some.

  13. Yikes Susan we have bats around here too.Going to book mark this as a reference!Thanks so much for hosting!

  14. Thanks for the party, Susan! Good thing you already had the screen on the inside to start! XO

  15. Good night Irene…we WERE JUST IN THE ATTIC…HOT at 8 in the morning!! Hazy, Hot, Humid…repeat…I’m going to be batty by the time this move is over!! Thank goodness for screens (and a/c!) franki

  16. Great screaming tips. I will be checking out my attic for gaps, etc. sheila

  17. I had this done when I had Critter Riders out to evict a bird from my attic. A woodpecker had pecked a hole big enough and clear through to the interior of the attic. Bird and any extraneous waste from bird were removed. Hole was patched and I had the screening put over the gables. Peace of mind was worth it.

  18. Glad you got things taken care of. I like bats as well…they eat mosquitos. Gotta love that, but I can see where you wouldn’t want them in your attic for sure.
    Thanks for hosting!
    KC

  19. Happy to see that you took care of this pesky problem before they made their way in. I got dizzy just looking at that man up on his ladder. Thanks so much for hosting Susan.

  20. Linda Louise S. says:

    Thanks for posting this story. I found it very interesting. What type of company do you look for to do this? Ever since I was attacked by a bat at a vacation home in the Poconos I don’t like them very much. Have a great day!
    Linda

    • I just Googled for Wildlife removal or something like that and Google showed me the names of several companies in my area. I couldn’t believe how many companies there were! They are all very competitive with their pricing. The first company I had come out was extremely pushy, trying to force me to go with them right then. They turned out to be higher than everyone else. I knew something was up when he wouldn’t schedule it down for a few days out unless I paid a non-refundable deposit on the spot. He was worried I’d get other estimates and find out how much higher he was. Another company I called wanted to charge $45 to just come out and give an estimate saying it would be applied toward the removal fee if I went with them. They probably figure you’ll go with them since you’ve already invested money in them. None of the other companies charged for estimates. So it pays to get several estimates. I went with a company that’s on Angie’s List, had lots of high ratings online, was reasonably priced and didn’t try any coercive tactics.

  21. I did not know there are laws about bats. Why is there always issues in the attic when it is too hot to be up there? It is nice to know there is someone to call; I did not know that. I did learn there is a “Bee Man” if you have bees.

    btw, your grass appears to be recovering from your sodding project. 🙂

    • Madonna, it’s getting close to normal now. Thanks for noticing. 🙂 Some grass had finally come out in, in the areas that looked totally dead and the good areas are sending out runners, I think. It’s gradually starting to fill in. I think by the end of summer, it will be mostly all green again. I can’t believe how fast it’s recovered considering how bad it looked. I have one spot that’s about 4 foot by 4 foot that I may re-sod myself. It just doesn’t look like it’s going to fill back in, in that spot, at least not for a long time…and it’s right by the front door. I will have to do an update and show it all. My main goal sometime soon is to get the shrubs in. It’s so hard to find anyone who will do smaller jobs, they all want to do major landscaping.

  22. My goodness, that is scary!! Thanks for hosting Susan!

  23. Years ago we had a raccoon family living in our small attic. The mother had eaten a hole in part of the house and one of the babies dropped between the walls. She got him out, but we had to call a “trapper”–honestly, a bona fide trapper descended from the original trappers of Louisiana. Many of the folks who handle animal removal would not touch this. Long story short, the guy went outside, after locating the babies, pulled part of the eave back and they popped into his sack like m&m’s coming out of the package. The mother was later caught with a tender trap. They were all moved to a habitat he worked with, and we were assured that the mother “took her babies back,” at the habitat, something they don’t always do if the family was disturbed. All lived happily ever after.

    • I’m so glad they got them out okay. I guess their environment is just disappearing so they look somewhere else to live. I know they are cutting down every patch of forest they can find here to put up more houses. 🙁

  24. PeggyThal says:

    Thanks for the great information. I too like bats but just not so near. I have had them fly by my face and hair at dusk when I watered , it freaked me out. We also had one come in one of our homes through the chimney and fly around the living room. After a little screaming and panic we got the little guy out with a cloth. Just lay it over him and take him outside. Now I will be going in the attic to check out our vents !

  25. Hi, Susan,
    This was an interesting post! I’m taking a walk around my house today: never really paid much attention to the nooks and crannies high up! Did those workers use safety harnesses? I got sweaty palms just looking at your pictures! Have a good week! Rosie

  26. Oh my goodness Susan, I would’ve had to use the zoom lens to see that bat too! I would’ve been too scared to get anywhere near it! Thank you for the info and thanks also for another week of partying.
    Blessings,
    Patti

  27. Liz @ Infuse With Liz says:

    Well good thing you found out you had this little guy visiting and that you also learned your attic ventilation was secured with screening. Wouldn’t that have been super creepy to find a whole bunch of them up there! I guess they seek refuge in dark and cooler areas. I was frightened by bats when I first saw them, but now I appreciate them knowing they eat a host of insects.

  28. Oh my Susan! That would have had me freaking out. We had to place screen over some of our exhaust fan vents outside. Wasps were finding there way in the house thru them. It was maddening. Thanx for the party!

  29. LOL I hit return and my comment that wasn’t finished went flying off! Anyway, I’ve heard of some real disasters in attics so it’s good to know you are covered! Those are some mighty tall ladders they have. I would cringe watching them but I would also be intrigued by what they are doing.

  30. EEW! EEK! Bats scare me! They are flying rats! I cannot stand them! So glad you were able to get rid of the problem. Why do they have laws protecting them? I wonder how long those laws have been in the books. Thanks for hosting, Susan.

    • Linda S. in NE says:

      I have to agree with Jan, Scared. To. Death. of the Flying. Monsters.!! I have (what I thought) was a decorative trim piece above the double car garage door of my home. Now my mind is racing, wondering who I should call to check if it is an actual attic vent, and if it is screened on the inside. Just reading this post, I found I had my left hand tightly against my neck and over the top of my t-shirt to keep anything and everything OUT!!! Susan, you gave me the willys with this post!

      • Don’t worry Linda, we don’t have vampire bats around here. They live in places like Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. per Wikipedia. 🙂 They are just good insect patrol. 🙂

  31. We had the same steel mesh put up, with screws, after the raccoon took up residence in our attic. Like you, in fifty years we had never had a problem with animals living in our attic. There was one vented area, like yours, that the regular screen has just gotten so old it was useless and that’s where the culprit was getting in. Good thing you found the bat before it brought friends and family. I like them too, but you don’t want them living in your house with you!!

  32. Pest eaters or not – the bats must go!! LOL

    Our local high school has had a problem with bats for about 15 years. They will come in by the dozens. Sections of the school have to be closed off and they call in – what we have dubbed – the “Bat Mobile”. Its a company that comes in and sucks the bats out and relocates them. As you mentioned, they are protected species, so they are not killed. Just relocated.

  33. Yikes Susan, you have *bats in your belfry*!! 🙂
    You always come up with a solution to things going wrong. I swear you ought to write a D.I.Y. book called `Problems I have solved“.
    Pleased it wasn`t an infestation for you, I too like bats but would not like them in the house. As for the high ladder, my hubby, now retired thank goodness, had a construction painting company and he was frequently up on the roof and high ladders, I did worry!
    Thanks for hosting!!

  34. Oh yeah, vermin in the attic. After years of ignoring the broken netting in our vents (we don’t actually have an attic space) we ended up with not only bird nests but squirrels nesting in our walls. It got where we could hear scratching and running. The squirrels would scold us outside and eat the bird seed. We finally had to call someone. 6 traps, many days, and a rather large bill the house was free of the critters. Hubby immediately redid all the netting on the vents.

  35. SharonFromMichigan says:

    Susan – So you had bats in your belfry? LOL – Sorry, I know its not funny, but I just couldn’t resist. I like bats, they munch on mosquitoes. What would you think about having a couple of bat houses installed in the tall trees behind your house for them? They like the tallest place they can get to; that way you could still have them around for the skeeters, but just not in your attic. We had a horrible problem with pigeons on our roof. They would all gather under the roofline over the dormer windows on the second story. We couldn’t open the windows in the bedroom because of the poop on the roof – we didn’t want it blowing in the windows. We called a company and had those bird spikes installed on the roof (just like the stores use on their big signs). Believe it or not, you can’t see the spikes from on the ground looking up. The pigeons no longer roost on our roof.

    • lol Yep, I did! That’s wild about the pigeons…I would not like not being able to open the windows. I would install some bat houses if I could just figure out how to get them up there. Maybe next time I call the tree guys out to do some work, I can get them to install them for me.

  36. That is a seriously tall ladder~ I would be scared to pieces up there!!! 🙂
    XoXoX Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  37. Hi, first off love the back of your home. Second, those things that you had screened aren’t windows, they are attic vents to allow hot air to escape, in additionto air flow. Now to the critters. I have never had a bat,but my parentshad them fequently. The best defense is a tennis racket and a towel. If the bat is flying around, and he will, once he is disturbed, you get him into as small an area as possible byclosing off room then you go aftef him with the racket. Because od the way a racket moves through the air the bat cannot sense. Hit hard enough to stun it and cover it with the towel and get him outside. Sake out the towel and set him free. A badmitton racket would probably work too, we just happened to have a tennis player in the family. I get birds. At least 4 ir 5 a year. They ard a pain togeg out when you are alone. It’s a situation where the more helpers the better. The last one Ihas I was sure it got out, onfortunatelt it didn’t . When I got home with my husband I walked into the ding room and the bird was somewhere in the living room and flew into the chandelier in fear and broke it’s neck. I was devestated to see such a beautiful creature loosing it’s life. It does happen. My worstencouter was with a squirrel. I was alone lying in bed in the morning when I started hearing noises. Just as I decided to get up to check ghis thing came hurtling out of the reading area and threw himself against a window. I screamed, jumped back inbed andpulled the covers ovef my head. I was pretty sure it had run out of the room anddownstairs. So I called the exterminator, who, by the way,was quite useless. He checked the house for holes etc,but this ismy house, I know it does not have holes. I called my daughter andhad her bring her labs over hoping they would snif it out, but the kept coming back into my bedroom and we assumed it was because they wanted to be witb me…wrong. long story short, it was in my room ran out and downstairs and I could hear it destroying things. I went down, opened the front door and went back up and sag onthe landing to wait. Finally he came creaping out of the living room into the foyer. I coukd hear his feet on the hardwood floors. It took forever for him to get tothe open door and then, instead of bolting out into frredom he just sat there. I was afraid to move for fear he would come back into the house. Finally, he hopped over the threshold and onto the front porch. I ran down the steps and slammed the door shut. This entire ordeal started at 8:30am and ended at 4:30pm. I was still in my pajamma’s, had not eaten all day and my livingroom was a shambles. He broke so many things, tore curtains fron the windows it was amazing the damage that could be done. To this day we still have no idea how he got in or how long he had been here. I figure he just walked in through an open door, maybe from the garage, who knows! I just hope it nevef happens again.

    • I had a squirrel once in the house, he came in through an open window. He ended up in the guest room and we opened a window and out he leapt. It was a second story window but he was fine and took off running. Glad you were able to get your squirrel out safely Mary Anne! They can do a lot of damage!

  38. Oh Susan, you are very brave. I’d never go into my attic if I thought a creature of any kind was there! I’m serious…to afraid what might jump out at me! Hmm, I had not thought about bats!

    Thanks for the great party!
    Helen

  39. We don’t have bats in the attic, but we can see them fly over our home at twilight while the kids are swimming. The kids enjoy watching them from a distance, along with the night hawks, but we would probably freak if they came too close! Thanks for the info and for hosting! 🙂

  40. Peggy Winchester says:

    I have lived on the Native American reservation in southern…very southern Arizona (border patrol is on my speed dial) for 7 years…it is a federal school and we have cottages, not like what you dream of, and to date I have had 37 bats in my cottage…the maintenance guys finally screened them in, but thankfully I haven’t seen any for a while. I actually used a broom and plastic bag. The most unnerving part was when one landed on my hand during the night. I may have shrieked at that point. 🙂

  41. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for sharing the “good to know info” about the bats!
    And as always for hosting all the goodness!
    Happy Summer

  42. Deborah says:

    I recently bought a 1905 Victorian house and at some point in its past it had bats. There aren’t any now but the attic and ceiling space over the porch were full of guano. The attic space was 3 inch deep and the space over the porch was up to 6 inches full. What a mess and expense its been. I have been enlighten to the damage bats can do if left unchecked. Thanks for spreading the word to others.

  43. Oh my word. If I found a bat like that I would lose my mind. You handled it like a true pro.
    I cannot even believe how high those fellas climb. Yikes almighty.
    What a neat post, learn something new every single day.

    Thanks for hosting – so nice to be able to join in the fun today!

  44. Good info about the bat situation! Glad to be joining the party this week, Susan. Thanks so much for hosting!

    Jeanette

  45. Wow, Susan, you were so calm about your bat adventure! Glad you didn’t try to climb a ladder that tall. Glad it is resolved. I am sure this will help someone. I had no idea about these things before I read your post.

    Thanks for hosting.

  46. Bats are so cool. Maybe you could install a bat house in a tall tree at the back of your lot. I’ve never had a bat in my house, but there was one at work. He was sleeping on a rock wall, and was humanely removed. I did, however, have a Tarantula living in our garage. He kept the rubbish bins bug free. I let him be, but after awhile I started worrying about my little boy finding him. So DH gently got him to walk up onto a rake, and placed him in the meadow next door. Oh, and we used to get barn swallows nesting on our front porch. That was cute but our “porch” was really small and there was always a mess to clean up. So we tried a plastic owl to scare them only to have them build their nest on the owl’s head! The next spring we took turns shooing them away every evening so they would go elsewhere.

    • I would love to do that…just hard to get it up there. You sound like me Angel…I am always scooping up spiders and beetles into tupperware containers when I find them inside the house and taking them outdoors. Those little barn swallows sounded determined! Hilarious that they built atop his head! 🙂

  47. Oh, ick…..bats are just creepy. Thanks so much for hosting, Susan!

  48. We had the same thing at our house, except we didn’t know there were companies out there who will do the screening for you, so we did it ourselves (and thought we were brilliant for coming up with the idea!) Of course, when I say we, I mean my husband, because no way was I climbing a ladder that high. We didn’t do as good a job as your professionals, but the screening did the trick. We counted, and there were 16 bats hanging out in the back gable. Luckily we did have screening on the inside of the gable so they couldn’t get into the attic, but that is not something you want to see anywhere near your house. We did add bat boxes to the yard after that, but didn’t get any takers; however, the bats are still flying around eating lots of bugs, so no harm done.

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