Bats In the Belfry

Well, they’re not in the belfry. I don’t have a belfry, I don’t think.

I do, however, have a wrap-around deck. The front side, the porch, is essentially just a bit off ground level. Because I live on a hill, the back deck is raised.

And, at sunup, I’ve observed a fair bit of bat activity as they apparently return home via the raised part of the deck like the erstwhile swallows returning to Capistrano. Except, instead of a nice mission in California, these guys are returning to roost under my front porch.

It’s hard to explain the configuration of my house, but suffice is to say that I am fairly certain the bats are heading under there, but impossible to confirm without wriggling into a dark space with a few inches of clearance, and hell no that ain’t happening, because bats. And spiders.

So, my question. Is this a concern at all for a homeowner.? I know bats are awesome bug eating machines, and it doesn’t bother me too much that they look like rat/wolves with jagged little teeth and leathery wings. They are, thankfully, pretty smallish.

But they also poop a bunch, right? I mean, there are entire countries with bat-poop-derived economies. Are there concerns with secondary insect colonies sprouting up, thanks to the poop? Or, will the bats breed more bats, and so-on, until one morning I get up and David Attenborough is standing on my porch doing narration?

If you don’t smell them or hear them scratching in your walls, I think everything is going to be OK. We get the occasional bat inside our house, but they typically die from dehydration because they can’t get water.

We had a friend of my dad’s who had a vacation home that he only went to a few times a year & bats infested the place shitting over everything. That was really bad - but I’d like to think if it was being lived in full time, they wouldn’t have had the issues.

As you say, they are voracious eaters of bugs, so it’s a good thing provided they are staying on the outside!

Bats are pretty harmless, and hungry for those tasty, tasty bugs. Poop is really only an issue if you have a really large colony, which seems not to be the case here. You’ll see bits of poop on the floor under the roost exit (dried bits of insect cuticle, generally). They won’t chew or damage anything, and smell is generally not noticeable unless you have the aforementioned large colony that might attract David Attenborough.

You can get them evicted if you really want, best done after they’ve left for the night so they’re forced to find a new home. Local bat societies can help out with making sure that’s done humanely, although they will - like me - try to dissuade you and hope you keep them around, or at the very least install some bat boxes away from the house in the hope they’ll move in.

I don’t know what the situation is like in the US, but if you have bats in the UK, it can be a bit of a pain as they are protected. You need to have a survey done before doing any work that might affect the roost and get a special license.

Thanks, guys.

The bats stay. If they are inclined to kill the occassional wasp, all the better.

One issue I thought of last night, though, is that I clean my composite deck every year with a bleach solution. That stuff is nasty, and there’s no way some bats hanging beneath the boards are going to do well being doused in bleach. Maybe I spray a bunch of water first to try to coax them out?

Grumble. Now I’m trying to figure out how to preserve my bat biome.

Proud curator of the pat borch.

When we were looking for a house we had a house inspected that used to have bats in the attic. The inspector said something to the effect of “aw, too bad the bats are gone, they really keep the insect and mosquito population in check.”

So I think unless they’re mutant bats or are overrunning your house, they’re a good thing.