How to Get Rid of Bats in Your Home

Leafnosed fruit bat flying over agave blossom, Tucson, Arizona, USA

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Bats in Phoenix? You might be surprised to know that in Arizona there are 28 species of bats. Most people want to get rid of bats, not realizing that they are important and beneficial to the environment.

Most of what you might have learned about bats turns out not to be true. They aren't flying rats, they don't carry rabies (although they might have contracted rabies, like other animals we come in contact with), and they don't attack people.

Although people are afraid of bats and are quick to kill them, they are beneficial in that they assist in keeping insect populations under control. While bats should be left to live and prosper in the wild, you might not want them at your home. While the bats themselves typically are not harmful to humans, bat droppings (called "guano") can introduce disease.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has a great deal of information about bats in Arizona. Here are a few tips from AZGFD.

How to Get Rid of Bats in Your House

If a bat gets inside your home, there are humane ways in which to escort it outside.

  1. Corner the bat so that it is confined in a room.
  2. After it gets dark, open the windows.
  3. Turn inside lights off to help the bat find the open windows.
  4. Leave it alone for a few hours.
  5. If it didn't fly out, put on leather gloves. While it is still dark, put a box, or glass jar over the bat when it is on a wall. Slide a lid or piece of stiff paper over the top. Release the bat outside. Don't put it on the ground. Hold it up high or place it on a fence or tree.
  6. Don't ever handle a bat with your bare hands.
  7. If the bat won't leave the inside of your home, contact a wildlife control company.

How to Keep Bats Away From Your House

In the Phoenix area bats will migrate in the spring and fall. They may roost for several days and then leave on their own. Just leave them alone. If you seem to have an area outside your home that attracts bats, there are some things you can do to discourage them from roosting there. Note: Make sure there are no young bats in the area before you take the following actions. Young bats are left alone at night while their mothers search for food. They should not be disturbed.

  1. Seal all cracks and crevices.
  2. Leave a light on during the night.
  3. Tie mylar balloons or DVDs that hang and bump against each other at the roosting site.
  4. Cover the roosting area with metal or plastic.

If you are bitten by a bat, seek professional medical attention immediately.

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