How Bats and Rodents Can Harm Your Insulation

Bats love houses as much as people do. If given a chance, they will happily move into your attic space. The quiet, dark, relatively warm area is like a man-made cave. 

Bats can fit through an opening as small as ⅜”. Bats can enter your home through gaps around windows, soffits, and sometimes even take up residence behind the shutters. 

To get and keep bats out of your house, you need professional help. A good exterminator will make sure your home is sealed tight. 

Once the bats are locked out, you’ll want to repair any damage they may have done. Again, this is not a do-it-yourselfer job. Even if you aren’t put off by the thought of removing piles of bat guano, consider the fact that those disgusting piles can also harbor disease.

If you save money cleaning your attic only to spend it on medical bills, that isn’t a win.

Don’t try to take care of this yourself. Contact SoDak Insulation for more information about getting your home back to pre-bat condition. They’ll customize a plan that fits your needs.

birds in attic insulation

How Do Bats and Rodents Damage Your Insulation?

Most rodents chew through everything. Rats and mice will chew through walls, insulation, and even electrical wires. 

Bats are not like other rodents. They may push through gaps or rotted siding to gain entry. But they don’t chew their way in like rats. 

So, if bats don’t do damage by chewing, what do they do?

They poop. Unfortunately, even chewing pests poop.

Bats and rodents poop a lot. In fact, controlling for their size, bats poop more than any other mammal. Bats in your attic will quickly result in large amounts of bat guano. 

The smell of all that feces will permeate the entire house. 

Because the guano is protected from the elements (by your house), it won’t decompose the way it would outside. It will release moisture, which can soak through your insulation, ceiling, and walls. 

All that nasty moisture from urine and feces can pool and puddle, running down walls and ductwork. It can cause visible staining on walls and ceilings.

The guano piles get heavier as they grow. Enough guano can buckle ventilation ducting. 

As though that weren’t nasty enough, the guano can also be home to bacteria and parasites. 

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection. The fungus lives in bat guano, and spores float up into the air when the guano is disturbed. If you breathe in the spores, you can get very sick. 

They can make you and your pets sick. People are often allergic to rodent dander. Bats can also have parasites on their bodies, called bat bugs. 

Are There Bats or Rodents in Your Attic?

If you don’t inspect your attic on a regular basis (and who does?), you probably won’t know about uninvited guests until signs of them reach your living space.  

Keep an eye out for these signs of an infestation:

  • You or your pets may hear them. Dogs and other household pets often have more sensitive hearing than humans, so pay attention if they seem to be pointing at a wall or ceiling. If you hear scratching or squeaking, check your attic or have a professional check it.
  • You can smell feces or ammonia. If bats or rodents are using your attic as a bathroom, the odor will eventually make its way through your whole house.
  • You see bats or rodents near your home.  If they appear to be flying and landing close to your house, or if you find dead bats or rodents on your property, it’s time for an inspection.

Bats like to burrow in your insulation. They travel toward the heated surface, such as the floor of your attic, since the ceiling underneath is in a heated space. 

raccoon in attic

So, How Do We Fix This Problem? 

Before worrying about clean-up, the bats and rodents need to be evicted.

If you know how they are accessing the space, you can apply an exclusion door. This will allow the bats to leave but not to come back in.

Take a piece of netting that is big enough to loosely cover the point of entry. Tack down the netting across the top and sides, but leave the bottom loose. 

The bats will be able to fly out through the gap at the bottom, between the net and the house. When they return, they will not be able to get back in.

Make sure there are no gaps, rotten, or other potential entry points in your attic space, or you may find yourself with bats again.

If crawling around your attic and inspecting every inch of the space doesn’t appeal to you, consider hiring a professional.

After you’ve taken measures to make sure you won’t be hosting any more bats, your attic will need a thorough clean-up. 

  1. Protect yourself with a face mask, goggles, gloves, and long clothing. Remember the spores that you don’t want to inhale. Sweeping or using your home vacuum is not recommended.
  2. Use a sprayer to gently dampen the droppings. This will help keep the dust down.
  3. Clean the droppings with soapy water and paper towels or other cloth that you don’t mind throwing away.
  4. Disinfect all surfaces involved. Use a 10% bleach solution. Spray areas lightly and let the solution sit for ten minutes. Then rinse and dry.
  5. Insulation cannot be cleaned. Remove any contaminated insulation. Secure the insulation in garbage bags before removing it from your attic to avoid contaminating other areas of your house. 
  6. Dispose of the gloves, mask, and cleaning cloths, or wash them in very hot water. 
  7. Shower. You’re going to need it.

Getting rid of other rodents might be a whole other ordeal. A professional might be the best way to go.

After your attic is bat-proof and clean, you will need to replace the insulation the bats destroyed with new insulation. Insulating your attic is a more DIY-friendly project than evicting or cleaning up after bats. 

Don’t assume the DIY route is the least expensive or most efficient. Get a free inspection from SoDak Insulation. We are experienced at returning your home to pre-bat condition.

Read our other recent blogs

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SoDak Insulation | October 17, 2020

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SoDak Insulation | September 16, 2020

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