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What is the best way to discourage bats from taking up residence in a house?

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In the UK bats are protected. If you have any nesting in your house it's against the law to do anything to kick them out. If they leave then you can block up holes etc to stop them returning. – ChrisF Aug 15 '11 at 20:07
I believe they are protected in the US as well. – Brian Maltzan Aug 15 '11 at 20:39
@ChrisF, it appears it may possible to get a special license to grant an exception to the law, at no cost (disclaimer: I am not a UK resident, I just found the link while googling the topic) – Kevin K Aug 16 '11 at 2:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

A pest control contractor supplied me with a box of a copper mesh material that could be stuffed into cracks that were serving as entry ways for bats (when they were known to be out). It looks somewhat like a very course steel wool, but in copper. It doesn't rust, so it doesn't discolor siding, and is flexible, but doesn't stay compressed if you squeeze it. It worked well for our place where bats were following the channels in our vertical siding into a cavity behind the fascia boards.

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Never tried looking for it online before, but here it is: "Stuf-fit" Amazon link: amazon.com/Fly-DS8016-Stuf-Fit-Copper-Mesh/dp/B0001IMLTY – TomG Aug 16 '11 at 0:44
Great idea. I've heard it's effective for mice (and probably any other mammal), because they would get sick from the copper if they tried to eat through. – Brian Maltzan Aug 18 '11 at 13:45

I'd say the best way would be to find out where they're entering and close it off. If it's open for ventilation use something like a chicken wire that will allow the air to easily flow through.

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Bear in mind that bats (depending on species) are a similar size to mice and can fit through the smallest of holes. – ChrisF Aug 15 '11 at 20:07
ChrisF is exactly right; chicken wire won't do it, you'll need something like bug screen mesh for patio doors and windows. – KeithS Aug 15 '11 at 20:42
Around here chicken wire describes a general type of wire mesh and not a specific size. Obviously the holes will need to be sufficiently small enough for bats not to get through. – Cody C Aug 22 '11 at 19:53
hardware cloth. – mike Nov 2 '13 at 4:10

It's hard to attract bats, most purpose bat houses go empty. Feel blessed you've got bats. You like mosquito bites? But you might consider building something to restrict them to a certain area of the attic.

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Without seeing your home it's hard to give an accurate reply. You mentioned the soffit and facia: we had an ever so small but big enough gap for both mice and bats to get in where the soffit and wall meet. We caulked all the way around the house on two levels. It was a lot of tubes but worth it.

If you have had bats in the attic and you get them out you also need to consider clean up of the insulation as their waste is toxic.

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Appreciate the edit, it is clear now. – BMNS Oct 9 '14 at 1:26

Sounds like a job for ... attic cat!

enter image description here

(that would have been a comment, but the picture couldn't be passed up)

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Sure, the cats keep out the bats, but then what keeps out the cats? I knew an old lady... – Alex Feinman Aug 15 '11 at 15:34
@Alex: Attic dog, maybe? Eventually you'll have no need for Noah's ark, just figure out how to make the attic float. :) – BMitch Aug 15 '11 at 17:07

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