Cold Weather and Bats

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What happens to the bats when it gets cold?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the bats when it gets cold outside? Where do the bats go? The answer to that relies on where in the country you live exactly and also what time of year it is. Typically bats remain in the area in which they were born, but depending on the species they might just migrate to a warmer climate.
In Louisiana where we have both migratory and non-migratory bat species the answer is often a mystery. In late february, bats are already moving into our area so when it gets cold they often go deeper into the cave. If that cave is your home this could mean they simply move further into the attic and sometimes into the insulation itself. Bats will tuck into the edges of batt insulation, staying warm until the temperatures rise and they can fly again and feed.
Bats go into a state of “torpor” which is like hibernation. 
We normally start getting bat calls as I call them in January. People find a bat in the house or hear them in the walls. When a cold front comes in, the bats by all appearance have left. Because people think the bats have left they just assume the problem is over with not knowing that the bats have simply gone quiet and when it warms up again, they will return to their normal activity. The truth is the bats never did leave. The bats just went into torpor. As I said earlier torpor is like hibernation and because of tha tthey get quiet and show little activity.
Because they tend not to fly at all once the temperature goes below 50 degrees we really cannot get rid of the bats at that time. Bats will mostly huddle together but many times we find that they disperse in the shell of the strucutre and we’ll commonly find lone bats all over. This dispersal during cold weather bouts makes it impossible to actually get rid of them until it warms up.
In areas of the north eastern section of the united states bats actually do hibernate. When it warms up they struggle to find their way out again. This often leads to a bat inside the structure. To the homeowner, this sudden appearance of the bat inside the house makes them think that this is a new problem and that it is only now that they have a bat problem. The actual truth is that the bats have been there all winter!
Simply sealing up the home will result in a big problem when the bats want to emerge but cannot find their way out anymore.

When is the best time to get rid of bats?

The best time to get rid of bats is when they first arrive. When the bats first get to a structure they are likely to have another roost selection sitte nearby and are not imprinted to the roost site, meaning that this is not where they were born and will not be as likely to return year after year looking to see if there is any way they can re-enter their old home.

Bats often return to past roost sites as evidenced by years of bat exclusion. This is why it is imperative that when they are evicted successfully you must be sure to seal up the house to prevent a future occurrence.

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