Complete Guide To Fall Bat Prevention In Katy
Small bat hanging from a tree branch in the day.

Complete Guide To Fall Bat Prevention In Katy

Fall is a favorite season for many people in Texas. After a scorchingly hot summer, all we want is for the temperatures to cool down enough so we can go outside without baking in the heat, and that’s exactly what happens as we progress from September through October to November. It’s a bonus if we can wear pants and a sweater! 

Fall is also when we turn our attention to preparing for the holidays and the winter season ahead. Although Katy isn’t a city known for snow or freezing cold temperatures, it gets cool enough each winter to warrant some changes around our homes and yards. If you have a pool, you prepare it for winter, whether that means closing it down completely or simply switching on the heat. Holiday decorations may make an appearance, both indoors and out. As you prepare to switch from AC to heat, it’s the perfect time to have your HVAC system inspected.

Along with all of your routine preparations, fall is the perfect time to think about bat control in Katy. Although you may not give bats much thought even in the summer when you assume they’re at their most active, believe it or not, fall is the time of year when bat activity tends to increase around houses. If you want your house to be fully protected from a bat infestation, it helps to know why bats are commonly found in homes around this time of year, what problems they cause when they get into homes, and what you can do to make sure your house doesn’t end up with some Halloween decor you didn’t ask for!

Why Bat Activity Around Homes Becomes More Common In The Fall

Just like humans feel a change in the air and begin to prepare for the upcoming seasons each fall, so do animals. In fact, in many ways, it is far more imperative for animals to make the necessary adjustments and preparations for the changing seasons than it is for humans to do so. Thankfully, animals have an innate sense of the cyclical seasons and what they need to do to prepare for each one.

When it comes to bats and their habits in the fall, it’s helpful to know a little bit about some of the common bat species in our area. If you truly want to understand why bat activity around homes becomes more common in the fall, you have to know the differences and similarities between various bat species.

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats

Mexican free-tailed bats are the most well-known bats in our area. They are social animals that live in large colonies. In fact, their colonies are so large that they are something of a spectacle. Thousands of people each summer spend an evening near the Waugh Street bridge in Houston, where a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats nests. These people do this for the sole purpose of getting a look at the hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tail bats as they leave their roosting spot at dusk to go out for a nighttime hunt.

Mexican free-tailed bats feed on insects, which is incredibly important and beneficial to our ecosystem. It is estimated that one large colony of Mexican free-tailed bats can eat up to 250 tons of insects every night. These bats take these insects out of the environment, which stops the insects from being a nuisance, spreading diseases, and destroying crops. Not only does this benefit the environment and the people in our area, but it also saves billions of dollars each year in the cost of pest control, lost crops, medical bills, and more.

Mexican free-tailed bats prefer to roost and nest in caves, under bridges, or in other small, tight crevices. Many Mexican free-tailed bats live in very large colonies, which makes those particular bats unlikely to roost in an area where only a small population will fit, such as your home’s attic. However, since buildings do provide the enclosed environment Mexican free-tailed bats prefer, they do sometimes get into homes in Katy.

As migratory animals, Mexican free-tailed bats arrive in the Katy area in early spring. The females mate soon after their arrival in Texas and have one pup each summer. The mothers live in maternity colonies as they raise their babies to maturity. 

In the fall, when the temperature starts dropping, Mexican free-tailed bats make their way back to Mexico. They spend their winter in caves there before making the trek back to Texas in late February or early March to start the cycle over again.

Big Brown Bats

Big brown bats are another common bat species in Katy. They do not have colonies anywhere near as large as the colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats, but they do form maternity colonies similar to Mexican free-tailed bats. These smaller colonies range from a couple of dozen bats to several hundred in number. The male bats tend to roost alone or in small groups.

Like Mexican free-tailed bats, big brown bats play a vital role in our ecosystem by taking hundreds of thousands of insects out of our environment each night. Their primary food target is beetles, but they’ll feed on a variety of insect types depending on the season, the location, and what is available.

Big brown bats prefer caves and areas with tight crevices in which to roost. They are often loyal to a particular roosting site and will return there year after year. Usually, the place where they spend their time in the summer is different from the place where they spend their time in the winter. As appropriate roosting sites have dwindled in number, more and more big brown bats have been known to roost in homes.

Although they can migrate, and many big brown bats that live in northern states do migrate, the majority of big brown bats in the Katy area are year-round residents. They do not leave our area for the winter. They do, however, hibernate during the coldest months of the year. These hearty bats can withstand colder temperatures than many other bat species, so they usually don’t go into hibernation until late November or early December, depending on the weather.

Evening Bats

Compared to Mexican free-tailed bats and big brown bats, relatively little is known about evening bats and their habits. They do form maternity colonies, like the other two bat species discussed above, and their colonies range in size from a couple of dozen to a thousand members. It is not known what male evening bats do during the summer months, but they are thought to be solitary animals.

Evening bats feed on insects, making them another important part of our environment. With each bat eating hundreds or even thousands of insects each night, evening bats contribute to a much healthier ecosystem that is not overrun by bugs or completely reliant on pesticides to minimize the damage insects cause.

Unlike Mexican free-tailed bats and big brown bats that choose caves as their primary roosting site whenever possible, evening bats prefer trees and tree hollows. However, as forests have diminished in our area, more and more of these bats have moved into wooden structures, one of the most common being homes in the area.

There is evidence to suggest that evening bats migrate in the winter. However, most of this research is from northern locations and does not document where these bats go, so it’s likely that the evening bat population in Katy remains here all year long. Evening bats can enter a state of torpor during cold spells but are not known to hibernate.

If you have been seeing a lot of bat activity each evening and you’re worried about finding signs of bats in your house, it’s helpful to know why bat activity is more common in the fall. Just as you start to prepare for winter when the weather gets cooler, so do bats. As we’ve established above, Mexican free-tailed bats usually leave town this time of year. However, big brown bats and evening bats stick around for the winter, and both of these bat species need a relatively warm place to stay through the cold season. 

Big brown bats need a place to hibernate, and even if evening bats remain active through the winter, they still need a warm space to spend their days and to spend their periods of torpor. Spaces in attics or wall voids offer the tight, cozy, temperature-controlled environment that bats love. If your home provides an opening that bats can utilize to get inside, they will find it and use it. Bat activity around neighborhoods and homes typically increases in the fall as bats move from their summer homes to look for a space where they can safely survive the winter.

Why Bats Are Bad News In And Around Katy Homes

It’s no secret that bats are extremely beneficial to our ecosystem. In recent years, there has been a big push to make sure people know how much we need bats in our environment because some species have become fewer and fewer in number, leading to dangerously low populations.

However, when bats get into Katy homes, it’s not good news. There are a couple of major issues to deal with when bats get into your home.

Bat droppings and waste are the first problem with a bat infestation. While it may seem like a few small bats couldn’t possibly produce enough waste to be a serious problem, the truth is that bat droppings are extremely dangerous. One reason for this is that they harbor diseases. Histoplasmosis is a fungal disease that infects the lungs. The fungus that causes histoplasmosis is found in bat droppings. Bat droppings tend to be crumbly and dry. When they are disturbed, they release dust and fungal spores into the air. If you or a family member breathes those spores in, you can become seriously ill.

Another issue with bat waste is the damage it can cause. Bat urine is acidic. In fact, it’s so acidic that it can corrode metal. Furthermore, over time, bat droppings can build up in piles. In cases where a bat colony has harbored in a home for a long time, ceilings have been known to collapse under the weight of the droppings.

Another problem with bats in your Katy home is the possibility that you’ll come into direct contact with them. Once bats get into your attic, it’s likely that a bat or two will find its way into your living space. While extremely rare, bats can carry rabies. Coming into contact with a rabid bat carries serious health consequences.

Everything You Can Do To Humanely Prevent Bats Around Your Home

Bat mitigation should be near the top of your fall to-do list. By taking a few practical steps to prevent bats from getting into your house, you can avoid the problems they cause. This also helps ensure the safety and continued growth of the bat population since you won’t have to resort to lethal methods of control.

The best advice when it comes to humanely preventing bats around your house is to seal any entry points into your home. Bats typically enter houses around the upper levels, so looking along your roof line, eaves, and chimney is critical. Any gaps, cracks, or holes that you find must be fixed, sealed, or caulked. If you have any windows in your attic, make sure they are closed and sealed. Chimneys should be capped and screened to prevent bats from entering your house through your chimney.

Another way to help prevent bats around your property is to make sure you keep insect populations low outside. Bats won’t frequent your area if they can’t find a good food source there. To keep insect populations low, make sure your property is as free of excess moisture as possible, keep your grass trimmed, cut foliage back, and remove lawn debris.

If you don’t want bats in your house, but you like the idea of them getting rid of bugs around your property, you may consider installing a bat box somewhere away from your house but on your property. These boxes should be installed in an area with a lot of direct sunlight, 10-20 feet off the ground. Be aware that this will bring bats to your area, so first making sure that your home is fully excluded and protected is essential. 

Why Bat Removal Should Always Be Left To The Experts

Doing everything you can to make sure your home is secure and protected from bats is a great thing to do this fall. However, if you need help completing your prevention methods, or if you come to the unpleasant realization that bats have somehow already gotten into your Katy home, you need Modern Pest Control. As a bat control company in Katy with over 70 years of experience, we offer the bat removal and exclusion services needed to safely and effectively protect your home from bats and the problems they cause. 

Bat removal may seem like something you could tackle on your own, but there are several reasons why it’s wise to leave it to the experts. First, if you don’t have the tools, equipment, and training, it can be dangerous. As mentioned earlier, bats can carry diseases, so trying to capture them, or going into your attic and disturbing their space, could result in illness or injury.

Another reason why bat removal should be left to the experts is because if it isn’t done right, the bats will either remain in your house or will return again later. Knowing how to both ensure their full removal and their full exclusion is essential for effective bat control. At Modern Pest Control, we know how to do both safely and effectively.

Finally, it’s smart to call the experts for your bat problem because we know how to humanely remove the bats. We won’t hurt or kill the bats that are in your house, but we will make sure they get out of your house. Because bats are so important to our environment, we make sure that our methods protect both the bats and your house.

If you hear noises in your attic or walls, have found bat droppings on window sills, or have seen bats flying out of your house in the evening, don’t wait another minute to call Modern Pest Control. Fall is the season when bats will be looking for a place to spend the winter, which means it is also the season when you should be doing everything you can to make sure they don’t spend their winter with you.

For exclusion services and bat removal near you, the experienced professionals at Modern Pest Control are ready to assist you. We combine our decades of experience with the latest, most advanced methods of service in our industry to ensure you receive the results you need for a safe, bat-free home. Contact us today.

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