With October come thoughts of spooky things like spiders, ghosts and bats! Bats don’t have to be scary because they are actually beneficial when it comes to helping get rid of bugs.

A few bat species are solitary, but most congregate in groups or colonies. They leave their roosting places at dusk to fly around in pursuit of insects. Most bats are insectivorous and may consume more than one half their body weight in insects each night. Some bats migrate with the change in seasons, following their food supply. Others remain in New Mexico hibernating only during the colder months. Some bat species pollinate trees and cacti, specifically the agave in New Mexico.

Before attempting any control methods desgined for bats, it is important to verify that they are the cause of your problems. Ask your pest control technician for assistance in this area. One sign that bats are nightroosting in your porch or patio areas is the presence of dropping in the corners or on the walls. Another thing to look for is moth wings with these droppings. Fun Fact: bats only eat a moth’s body, not it’s wings. Bats need to attack the moth at its core to be certain of a successful meal.

Although bats rarely do actual damage to dwellings, their droppings and urine can cause an undesirable odor. After long periods of time, the odor could attract additional bats. The best way to clean up bat excrement is to vaccuum up solid waste and spray an enzyme cleaner to remove urine stains. In this case, more cleaner is better. It might seem like you’re using too much but it’s better to be safe than sorry later!

Occasionally, temporary control can be achieved with the use of chemical repellants. Aerosol dog and cat repellants may discourage nightroosting above porches. The spray should be applied during the day when bats are not present. We have also had customers experiment with a mixture of equal parts ammonia and vinegar. While successful in driving the bats away, the odor can be very strong. Our owner Peggy also had success using lavendar scented moth balls. She placed the moth balls in a scatchel that she hid in one of her potted plants. Since the moth balls repelled the moths, which the bats eat, the bats quit coming around!

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