Bats in a Spanish Barrel Tile Roof

02.22.2004 - Here we have a Brazilian Free-Tail bat flying out of one of its favorite natural habitats - the Spanish-style, Barrel-tile, Makes-me-smile roof. But mostly it makes me frown, because it's a pain in the butt to get the bats out and seal every last tile. Down here in Florida, fancy multimillion dollar homes like this one have barrel clay tile roofs. The tiles look fancy, they deflect heat, they attract bats. Bats, especially these free-tail bats, just love to live in barrel tile roofs.

I've read that the Brazilian (also known as the Mexican) Free-Tail can tolerate heat up to 140 degrees, but it must get hotter under these tiles. In the area these bats roosted, there was no cool crevice to climb in, and the bats lived year-round. I've seen bats in barrel tile roofs that I could fry an egg on. I really don't know what the microclimate is like inside the tiles, but it's got to be roasty toasty (the scientific term for above average habitable conditions).

So the bats hang out in sweltering heat all day, and then at dusk, out they fly, in search of insects. When they drop out of the tile, they look something like shown in the above photo. In this photo, the home features concrete end-guard around the perimeter of the tiles. However, the concrete did not full encapsulate the gap, and as we all know, these bats only need about 3/8 inch of space to squeeze out of. In fact, they seem to prefer as tight a spot as they can get. They often won't fly in and out of a big gap. I suppose that they feel safe inside an area with such a small door.

The challenge for me in this case, and any case involving barrel tile roofs, is to seal off all of the entry points. Though it was not the case with this particular roof, oftentimes I have to seal around nearly the entire tile. There are a number of techniques, some involving sealant, small netting, or both. I think I've heard grumbling once or twice from various people that the roof needs to "breathe". Animals need to breathe, roofs do not. I've seen barrel tile roofs in which every gap around each tile is sealed with concrete or caulk, and the roofs are in perfect shape.

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It is a common practice in Florida to build homes and other buildings with tile roofs. The one that is most often used is the Spanish tile. This is also known as the barrel tile or the Spanish barrel tile which features an attractive curve design. None can doubt the beauty and style that having these Spanish barrel tiles can add to a property. However, the major cost you will pay for this added beauty is that they are highly attractive to bats. This makes your property prone to bat colonization.

Spanish barrel tile roofs to bats are the equivalent of a warm and exciting trip to Jamaica for the winter days. It is ideal for bats and they absolutely love to live in them. Because bats like to live in elevated spaces, the nooks and crannies made available to them by Spanish barrel tile roofing are appealing to them. They love being high up so that they can fly in and out of their “home” without much complication or hindrances. The warm environment that it also provides makes it great for them to occupy as a roosting space.

A colony or colonies of bats can be pretty difficult to remove. The design of Spanish barrel tiles results in a great number of gaps and spaces that bats can use to enter and exit their borrowed habitat. Fortunately, there are wildlife control services in Florida that specialize in the removal of bats from Spanish barrel tile roofs.

How Bats Are Removed from Spanish Barrel Tile Roofs

When it comes to the removal of bats from Spanish barrel tile roofs, you have three options.

Option 1: Wait until the evening which is the peak time of activity for bats and allow them to leave the roof to forage. When they are out, you can place mesh netting over the roof. When this netting is placed on the roof, it will hinder the bats from re-entering when they return to their roosting spot. This will then be left on the roof until you are able to seal the roof.

Option 2: The use of an exclusion device certified by the state of Florida can be highly helpful. The design of these devices is such that bats can exit the roof but will not be able to enter when they return. It will be necessary to secure a number of these devices since there are so many nooks and crannies in Spanish barrel tiles. You will need to keep them there for a couple of days to ensure that all the bats are out.

Option 3: Bats have a routine of migration during certain months. This is usually during the winter season. You may wait until they migrate and then do the work of securing all possible nooks and crannies on your Spanish barrel tile roof to ensure that they have nowhere to occupy when they return.

After following any of the above methods, it is important that the nooks and crannies of the Spanish barrel tiles are properly sealed. Spanish barrel tile roofs are beautiful, but you must be mindful that having this in the state of Florida will expose you to the colonization of bats. If you suspect that you have bats in your property you can employ the services of a professional wildlife control company to get rid of them using one of the three methods mentioned above.

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