Many people feel disturbed by bats in the house. Before you act, remember: All species occurring in Germany are protected, including the house bat. A few tips on what to do if you have bats in your house, basement or room.
Especially in the summer months, when windows are opened wide for ventilation in the evening, bats can easily get lost in the house or apartment. How to get rid of the mammals again? And what should you do if bats have nested on the roof?
House bats are at home in attics
Bats nest not only in natural caves, but also in attics and abandoned structures. House bats also like to use human dwellings in the summer as a place to live and raise their offspring.
Endangered species in Germany
Photo series with 6 pictures
According to the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (Nabu), so-called maternity roosts are particularly common in the vicinity of humans. These are an association of several female bats, which raise their offspring together. The number of animals varies greatly: While only a handful of animals live in small quarters under the roof of a house, thousands of bats often live in the spacious attics of churches or castles.
How to tell if you have bats living in your home
Homeowners often do not notice bats nesting in the attic for long periods of time. Since the mammals are nocturnal, they do not disturb during the day. Species such as the common pipistrelle bat make sounds, but these are difficult to hear in the floors below them.
It’s a different story with what the animals leave behind: If you find dried bat droppings in your attic that also contain slightly shiny remnants of insects, this indicates nocturnal roommates. But under no circumstances should you then try to drive the bats away.
Never evict bats yourself!
All 24 species of bats occurring in Germany are on the Red List and thus under nature protection. Accordingly, bats may not be killed, injured or driven away. Who does this nevertheless, risks a fine of partly up to 65.000 euros. If you do not want to risk a fine or other penalties, you should leave the bats alone and come to terms with the animals.
Do bats transmit diseases??
Bats do not indirectly transmit any diseases to humans. However, if you find an injured or weakened animal, do not touch it with your bare hands. There is a possibility that the animals have rabies. Inform the Nabu or a wildlife rescue center in the case of injured or sick-looking animals.
If they were to bite you, they would infect you with the disease. It is important to see a doctor immediately if you are bitten or otherwise injured by a bat.
What to do if a bat is in the room?
Even if a bat should stray into your house or apartment through an open window, do not approach it without protective clothing. Leave the window wide open into the night, and the bat will usually fly out on its own. Also, turn off the lights. This way the bat can orientate itself better.
Tip from Nabu
If you discover one or more bats in your house or apartment, do not scare them away yourself. Instead, contact the local Nabu site and have a bat expert come out.
If the bat sits quietly in the room or hangs from the ceiling, Klaus Meyer, station manager at the Wilditerauffangstation Rastede e. V., the following tip: carefully lure the bat into an empty shoe box with a very soft hand brush. Close the lid gently and then immediately release the animal on a tree. The bats then immediately climb up from the box on the tree trunk.
Gray long-eared bat: bats like to nest in attics. (Source: blickwinkel/imago images)
Use bat droppings as fertilizer
Bat droppings are rich in growth-promoting nitrogen, so you can use them as fertilizer in your garden. Except for the dry droppings, which you can easily sweep up, the house bat causes no other damage. It does not bite through wiring or gnaw on wood or house insulation. In addition, bats do not build nests and therefore do not bring material into their quarters.
Bats fight insects
Bats eat large amounts of insects in the summer months, so you will have to deal less with pesky mosquitoes. In addition, the animals move in only seasonally with you, towards the end of August the Wochenstuben dissolve and the bats prepare for their hibernation.
avoid bats in the house
If bats become a nuisance in your home, you should contact conservation organizations that can provide professional help. The state committee for bat protection of the Nabu points out, however, that bats cannot be captured and relocated.
When the bats have left their quarters again, you can try to find and close the entry hole into your home. Keep in mind that a tiny gap is enough for the smallest species. You can also offer the bats an alternative dwelling by hanging up bat nesting boxes.
Build bat house yourself
You can easily build a bat nesting box or even a bat house yourself with a few resources.
For this you need:
- Untreated wood, thickness: at least two centimeters
- a jigsaw
- a drill
- a cordless screwdriver
- a wood file
- wood screws in different sizes
- As well as linseed oil to make the untreated wood more resistant to the elements.
1. Saw the wooden boards to size. According to Nabu
- the back wall 40 x 24 centimeters,
- the aperture 28 x 24 centimeters,
- the roof 11 x 32 centimeters,
- the entrance strip 3 x 20 centimeters and
- the sloping side walls 28 x 5 x 27.5 x 2 centimeters
2. Roughen the back wall on one side with a wood file. Due to the unevenness, the bats can hold on to this better.
3. Screw the individual parts together. If you apply some glue between the wooden parts, you prevent precipitation water from entering through the gaps. They also prevent drafts in the bat house – which the mammals do not like. Make sure that the glue does not contain any questionable substances.
4. Impregnate the nest box with linseed oil. Do without wood preservatives from the building market or specialized trade.
Now you can hang up the bat house. It should hang at least five meters above the ground. It is also important that the approach path is not blocked by lampposts, trees or the walls of houses.
The entrance to the bat box should face southeast or northwest, Nabu recommends. If you want to provide a home for several animals, you can hang more and then orient their entrances to different cardinal directions.
The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union shows in a video how you should proceed:
- Cat-sized animals are trouble:How to drive martens out of the house
- Pesky roommates:How to drive raccoons out of your house and garden
- Practical guide:Build and install nesting box yourself
Install the bat box in a quiet, dark place. In addition, it should be located in the lee. Nevertheless, the shelter should be hung so that a visual inspection is possible. This is how you can tell if parasites or pests have taken up residence in the bat house, if necessary.