0 Saving the Bats- Exclusion

Boy this bat thing sure has dragged on? This should be the last in the installment until this spring to which we hope will go easier on us.

First off, I want to explain the definition of exclusion for those that don’t know or think we’re killing these very things we are so desperately trying to save:
If you already knew the definition- 10,000 points smarty!

Since we crave and love our sleep, we weighed our options and formed a plan to get the bats out for good. The best way we found to do this was a Bat Exclusion process. It involved some investigating, good 'ol fashion hard labor, some netting, and lots and lots sealing.

**Warning there are some bats in this post, so if you have a weak stomach or hate them, I’ll forgive you this time to pass on this post, just this time. I do give sufficient warning.**

Slightly before August 15th (the magical date when baby bats are able to fly), well after the demolition and bat house building, we really dug right in. And when I say we, I should really admit- it was mostly the boyfriend.

The final phase all began with a full fledge stake out which lasted about a week. It mainly consisted of us braving it out at dusk shining a spotlight at various places around the house to identify where they were exiting.


Like one night for instance, at dusk, I drove the truck around the yard (a little detour may have occurred once or twice, totally fun btw) and positioned it in the back of the house where the beau removed the window.

As a side note, I failed to mention that we borrowed a friends magnet sweeper (similar to this, which picks up nails) to scour the lawn for any loose nails after we demoed the upstairs. Because in all honesty, who wants to replace expensive truck tires when there’s tons of home improvement projects we could be doing that require funding.

Meanwhile the boyfriend courageously went rogue and checked the front two corners of our house. Sure enough my suspicions were correct; the little buggers LOVED the window the boyfriend left open serving as a bat free-for-all.

That night, I counted about seven bats before the boyfriend retreated to the truck and we compared notes. He found a few other normal entry points such as these:

Our entry points were mainly on this side of the house:
Please don’t mind that truck in the way, that was the side I was ‘assigned to’ that particular night.

Although we had one on the chimney and another underneath some shingles on the opposite side of the house.

So as soon as we found the main entry points, we gathered our materials. We searched all home improvement stores asking for some type of netting, most stared at us blankly or didn’t have anything that would fit. We were looking for small flexible netting that the little buggers couldn’t penetrate. Finally, after the third visit we found the best netting option at Menards.
You can find it here.
The other materials were things we had laying around:

Photo sources: 1 | 2  | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


That’s good ‘ol duct tape, scrap trim, a few scrap nails, caulk, spare siding, a circular saw, tin snips, and an extension ladder. While we considered nailing every section, but that was quickly nixed to avoid more places to caulk at the end. The only place nails were used was by the complicated bay window. The rest were strategically tucked under siding or shingles.

Then patiently waited for August 15th, when it was go time. This is where the boyfriend took over and hung the netting around the house like so:

Our method was basically to hang the netting slightly above the entry points, pulling it tight enough to make their exit somewhat difficult, and leaving an opening at the bottom for their escape.
Please ignore how dirty the siding is. That is years of neglect my friends. And it is on our list.

The objective was to direct them to their safe escape but not allow them to re-enter. Sort of like a one way door but with netting instead. Oh and we only completed one side of the house at a time to allow any stragglers to safely escape another route.









Warning Bat photos ahead…












And because we wanted to observe firsthand the fruits of our labor, we camped out that night. To our surprise, it worked like a charm. Although we were thisclose to helping some struggling bats, we’re happy to report they all safely made it out and continued their job at eating those pesky mosquitoes. I think we started to feel like these were our baby’s pets.

I think this one looks like the batman symbol.

One of these days, I WILL learn to take photos at night.
We left the devices up for about a week just to ensure we didn’t have any strays and then worked on patching the holes. The boyfriend went back up the ladder to caulk all openings by the bay window and properly seal and close the open window.
Anyone else nervous just looking at this? Power tools on a ladder- ack.

Using the saw he removed about five inches around the perimeter to eliminate the old window edging and provide a clean cut. He then replaced the siding by reusing some left over siding that the previous owners graciously left behind in the rafters to close that sucker up.

He removed the backing:
Scraped off excess gunk:
That man could be a hand model.
Trimmed pieces to fit:

Caulked like crazy:

Replaced each piece:

Then caulked the edges (no photo). Once complete it looks like this:
Of course it doesn’t match perfectly, you know because the sun changes everything, but that’s ok, because our addition will be going on the back of the house someday. And that someday will require us to finally pretty-fy the exterior.

By the end of our experience, I came to have a soft spot for the little buggers. The boyfriend even lovingly joked throughout our struggles adventure that we should turn Batman on for them to watch while we were away at our 9-5’s. Sure they mostly cost us time and maybe $50 which mostly food for our loving friends. The things good friends will do for food never ceases to amaze me. I think this little saying sure is fitting:
Who knows, maybe we should go into the business and charge for our services.

Have you gone through extreme measures to save something? What type of (PG) activities do you fight for in the name of sleep? How about randomly falling in love with something you never thought you could?


P.S. While we did a lot of research and our methods seem to be working for bat exclusion, I do not commend any of our strategies used throughout our excursion. Rather, just hire a professional for your own sanity and if you enjoy sleep.

Want to follow along with our bat expedition? Here’s Research,  Demo, and Building Homes for our furry little winged friends.


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