Category Archives: Pests

How to Catch a Bat

It was a warm day in May when our tenant on the top floor asked for help putting screens in her windows, and that night she came home to a bat flying around her bedroom. This sharp Mathematics PhD student shut the door, researched protocol feverishly online after emailing me, and slept in another room. The bat is no where to be found. I looked everywhere. But now she’s afraid to sleep in her room. So how can I help my tenant with this bat in the bedroom issue?

Make sure your window screen are snug. Bats can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter.

That’s right. A quarter. Now I will never look at window screens the same way again.

I called our exterminator, and then the local county health department. And to my surprise I was told to encourage my tenant to catch the bat if she sees it again so they can test it for rabies.

If you wake up with the bat in the room and you don’t catch it, you need rabies shots. If you catch the bat and it doesn’t have rabies, you don’t need shots. 

Rabies shots are not as extensive and painful as they used to be, but they are still quite involved. If you do catch the bat and submit it to the Health Dept, they can test the bat for rabies and most likely you will not need to get any shots. This is better.

And they referred me to this great video:

If there is a bat flying in the room where you are sleeping, keep the light off and sneak out your door.
How to catch a bat in your house:
  1. Get a container with a lid and a piece of heavy paper or cardboard.
  2. Use gloves if you have them.
  3. Be calm and do not get ready to attack. You are simply placing the container over the bat. Not chasing it.
  4. Enter the room quickly and close the door so the bat does not get out.
  5. If it’s night time, turn on the light. The bat should stop moving because they can’t see in the light.
  6. Slowly walk over to the bat with the container to the bat, place it over the bat, put the cardboard underneath so you can turn the container upright, and either tape the cardboard to the top or put the top on.
The Health Department staff said it’s not difficult to catch a bat, because  bats won’t escape from  a container quickly like bugs or birds. Here are some more instructions on what to do when you have a bat in your house. 
Some other bat information:
  • May is the beginning of bat season. There had not yet been any reports of bats with rabies.
  • Last year there were 3 bats with rabies caught in our county
  • Bats are looking for places to nest in May
  • The females will have babies in the summer, and then there will be more bat sightings in August when the babies are mobile
I’m lucky to have a wonderful relationship with some pest management rock stars. Yes, exterminators. I love them.

If you don’t have an exterminator that you adore, ask your realtor, fellow landlords and contractors until you find one.