Humanely dealing with bats in the fall

Guest blog from our friends at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control

 These night flyers can be found all across Southern Ontario, with populations thriving in urban environments. The two most common bat species found in Kitchener-Waterloo are the little brown bat, and the big brown bat, named appropriately for their size and colour. Bats play an important role in our ecosystem, specifically helping to control flying insect populations by feeding on them through the night.

In the past few years, the little brown bat population in North America has declined significantly due to a fatal disease spread among them known as white-nose syndrome. Because of this, little brown bats have been designated as an endangered species in Ontario. White-nose syndrome is named for a specific fungal growth that thrives in humid cold environments, such as the caves and mines where little brown bats hibernate. Under the law, it is illegal to kill, harm or harass little brown bats in any way, even if they are living in your home.

Fortunately, white-nose syndrome has not had the same detrimental effect on big brown bat populations that favour homes and buildings rather than caves for winter hibernation. The deadly fungus that causes white-nose syndrome is not found inside the walls and attics of homes and buildings. While it’s good news that big brown bat populations are stable, they can still cause plenty of problems for homeowners. 

As we enter autumn, we also enter a unique season for bat activity. Bat pups are born later in the year than most wildlife, and are fully weaned from their mothers in late summer. This means that they are able to fly, forage for food, and survive on their own. At this time, bats are also preparing to enter hibernation for the winter, meaning they are searching for warm, sheltered areas to set up camp until next spring. Unfortunately for homeowners, attics provide the perfect solitude bats are looking for.

There are many reasons for the safety of both the bats and for homeowners to ensure bats are not spending the winter months tucked away in an attic space. First, it’s not possible or humane to remove hibernating bats from a home during winter. Wildlife control specialists rely on bats coming and going regularly from the attic to feed on insects during late summer and early fall to humanely evict them. Once bats head into hibernation, homeowners are forced to live with them until the following spring when bats become active once more. Second, bats occasionally emerge from hibernation early and make their way into the living space of homes in the dead of winter. Bats are a common carrier of rabies and having them inside the home puts the residents and pets at risk for a dangerous bite or scratch. 

It’s important to protect bat populations in the Kitchener-Waterloo region to maintain a proper balance in the ecosystem. The best way to humanely remove bats from a home is to act quickly before they enter hibernation. For over 30 years, Skedaddle has adapted our methods to best protect bats and homeowners, allowing us to co-exist as peacefully as possible. For more information visit our website

Submitted by: Allisa Lauricella