Does Bat Repellent Work?

05.20.2005 - Many people seek an inexpensive and easy cure for their problems. Why not? If a pill can cure obesity, it sure beats diet, exercise, and liposuction, right? Magic diet pills sell fairly well. So does wildlife repellent, bat repellent included. Sellers of both "guarantee" that their product will work, and offer countless testimonials. Or your money back!

It's not unusual for me to arrive at a bat problem only to find that the homeowner has already attempted use of a magic bat removal product, oftentimes several. Shockingly, the very people who are gullible enough to buy one ineffective product are gullible enough to buy several. In other cases, reasonable people get fooled once, and then realize that there's no shortcut. Here's the thing about wild animals, bats included: Mammals and reptiles are not insects. You can't poison them. Not effectively, and usually not legally. Furthermore, repellents are just not effective. When an animal has established a home somewhere, it does not want to leave casually. If I sprinkled some moth balls around your front door, or inside your house, would you drive home from work one day, smell the mothballs, and simple turn around, abandon your house, and look for a new place to live? If it sounds silly for me to make such a comparison, it's not. You're a mammal, and in a lot of ways not terribly different from a bat. Many people are so ignorant about wildlife that they assume all sorts of ridiculous rules apply. Of course deer are frightened by the smell of human hair! Of course moles can't stand castor oil! Of course pigeons will shudder with fear at the sight of a plastic owl! - gimmicks like these are examples of how far humans have strayed from nature. I've worked with animals for many years, and usually when I want to predict an animal behavior, I simply ask, "what would a person do?". A person would not leave their home on account of an unpleasant odor (actually, a person might - spoiled as we are - but animals have to work to survive). Anyway, enough preaching about the stupidity and ignorance surrounding products like bat repellent and balding tonic. The point is that repellents don't work, and the only way to remove bats or any wildlife from a building is to physically remove them and permanently seal off the entry points they use to gain access to the house. Get them out + don't let them back in = no more problem.

In the above photo, taken on May 5th, I was on investigation of a large bat problem at a government facility. As it was late May, I was not going to actually do the work, since these Free-Tail bats were soon to give birth, and an exclusion could jeopardize the young. However, I was inspecting the situation, for an August exclusion. My post today was inspired by the fact that I found mothballs scattered throughout the roof and attic, "bat-scat" sprinkled everywhere (it's made of mothballs as well), fox urine squirted in the holes, high frequency sound emitters in the attic, and craziest of all, bags of hair hanging from strings. Chalk another one up for excellent government planning and efficiency. I gave them a reasonable proposal to solve the problem properly, with guarantee, but it seems that money was an issue, and I did not get the job.

During my inspection I took a look inside the crevices around the building, and saw thousands of bats huddled together in the gaps, such as in the above photo. Many people assume that bats hang about, out in the open. Free-tails sure don't. The cram and wedge into tight gaps, shoulder to shoulder, such as in this photo. You can see the concern in their beady little eyes. They know they're taking a look at the only effective bat repellent available: a trained bat exclusion professional. Brought to you by the council for bat removal professionals of America, your local bat 414, and the agency for opposition against bogus bat repellent products.

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Bats page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.

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