Monday, May 25, 2009

The Great Exodus

Last Thursday the crew from Christman's Wildlife Service arrived to put an end to the long ongoing, heretofore, futile battle between Us, the inhabitants of the Hermitage, and Them, the bats who are the unwanted guests of aforementioned domicile. Unfortunately I was not at home when they came to do the work, and Joe, dear sweet Joe, didn't think to give me a call. (how he could not recognize the blogworthyness of the days events?!???) For this reason, alas, there are no photos of the crew nimbly crawling about the exterior of the house caulking, stuffing, and plugging every minuscule gap, crack, and void of the house....sigh

What I do have are pix of the "one-way doors" the crew installed. There are three of them. One toward the front of the house and two toward the back.

As you can see, they aren't the prettiest things, made primarily of 4 inch pvc pipe, expanding foam, and duct tape, but you really don't notice them much from the ground looking up. See?

If they were clad in flashy red glitter, 3 feet in diameter, with horns, bells and whistles I'd be OK with them if they got rid of the bats. Right?

A little refresher course on the procedure of "bat exclusion".....

The law says you can't kill the little buggers, (bummer, I know) so what you have to do is seal every conceivable point of entry a structure might have so they can't get in. Be aware that anything the size of 1/4 inch is big enough for a bat to get in. (this crew is very thorough they seal everything) Remember too that we aren't just interested in preventing more bats from roosting within the walls of the Hermitage but we do, in fact, have bats already residing here. So, what do you do about those bats?, cough, spasm, gag, choke, spit, to 50 of them. Yes, you read that correctly, the Bat Guy said we had 30 to 50 bats in the house. Hold on a sec, I still get faint when I think about that.

Whoosh, better now, I just have to remember to breathe and find my happy place.

To get rid of bats already in residence you have to seal all possible points of entry and exit except their favorite ones and install "one-way doors" at those points. In other words, all points of escape for the inhabitants are barred except for a few which allow them to exit but no longer enter. The "doors" are simplistic and crude as you can see in the pictures. Just a tube of plastic with a 90 degree downward turn. The bats sort of , crawl/fall out the door when they leave but can't fly or crawl back up the door when they want to return "home".

A cautionary note here. The Bat Guy told me, in some cases, if the wrong exit point(s) are closed up, you could conceivably have the entire colony swarm(?) flock(?) into the main living area of the house searching for an exit. Whoa.....swooning again...hold on.

find a happy place find a happy place find a happy place

OK back to Thursday the day the guys came and installed the bat doors. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Better yet, they came on a day when Joe didn't have to work at night and I wasn't going to have the face possibility, however remote it might be cuz my Bat Guy and his crew really do know how to do this stuff, of having a swarm of bats in my house. I was also thrilled that with Joe here I just might be courageous enough to actually sit outside and watch the exodus of the bats....maybe even document it! And maybe just maybe even sit outside (or perhaps sit in the car) and watch when the evicted-at-last bats return after their night of foraging and try as they may can't find a way to get back home. After all the Bat Guy said about 80% of the bats will leave the first night. When they return and realize they can't get back in a bunch of ticked off bats will keep circling the house searching for entry. OK perhaps the bats aren't really angry just a little confused, but I kinda like the thought of pissing them off rather than just confusing them. (vengeful much? who me?)

So after dinner Thursday I set up a table and chairs out in the yard so we could see one of the bat doors clearly. A pair of binoculars for each of us, note cards and pens to keep a tally of how many bats we each saw, and my camera ready, fresh batteries, empty memory and I even reviewed how to take a video. I was a little dismayed by the fact that we could only see one door at a time. While we were watching one door how could we know if they were leaving by another, but oh well, it was the best I could do and later would extrapolate how many left from the other doors.

As the sun began to set, and the sounds of day changed into the sounds of night Joe and I faithfully watched one of the bat doors. It grew dusky. No bats. The bugs began to bite. No bats. It grew dark. No bats. Joe by now had long ago lost interest in watching for bats, if he really had any interest in it at all, but Joe being Joe sat there with me still. I too had begun to grow weary of this now all too boring task (you can't knit and hold binoculars) The fact that I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes wasn't helping my waning enthusiasm either. Yes, I know, the irony was not lost on me. At approximately 9:45 we called the bat vigil quits. Yes, I was disappointed. Yes, images of a swarm of bats flying out of the house as I opened the door to go in did cross my mind.

There was no swarm, but there also wasn't a mass exodus of bats which I was really hoping for. Maybe in the morning I would be rewarded with pictures of displaced bats hanging around the doorways they could no longer enter. (one of the crew told Joe there might be a few hanging in the eaves having failed to gain entry still hoping to get in the following night) There were no bats hanging around Friday morning. There were no bats hanging around Saturday morning. Sunday morning around 4:00-4:30 the dog and cat were restless. Joe got up and the animals followed him to the kitchen. I fluffed my pillow to lay back down and that was when I heard it too, the unmistakable chipping ping. There were some pissed offed bats circling the house searching for a way to get in. I snuggled down with a smile on face and fell asleep to the lullaby of echo distancing.


  1. Kristina, aiyakjt on ravMonday, May 25, 2009 10:43:00 PM

    They were fooled! Yea!
    I think that worked better than the "Shoo shoo!" idea.
    Hopefully they will find a new home in the woods.

  2. Well, you know we have had some bat problems in the past...reading about your flock of 50 got me hyperventilating. I'm so glad it's working for you!

  3. Now what to do with the bats in the belfry what to do.

  4. Ew ew ew! Having twice had swarms of biting insects come into the house--once was yellow jackets out of the wall, when my daughter put her hand through it; the other was bees coming out of the fireplace: they had built a hive in the chimney--you have my sympathy. Bats? Ewwww!

    Thank goodness for Bat Guys!