What to do with bats in the chimney

Chimneys are common maternity roosting areas for pregnant female Pennsylvania bats. If there are bats in your chimney, then it would probably be after the winter when bats come out from hibernation. Bats would not stay in chimney’s during the winter season and would search out a warmer location to roost. You have several options should you find bats in your chimney, but you must absolutely, never, under any circumstance, light a fire.

Two risks occur if you light a fire. Firstly, you would need to remove the damper to light the fire, which can mean that bats now have access to fly directly inside your home. Secondly, setting a fire can kill the bat, resulting in it dropping straight down, directly into your fireplace…..rather inhumane, don’t you think? If you did not know, bats are protected species and it is illegal to trap or kill them. Therefore, lighting the fire with prior knowledge that bats reside in your chimney, is a criminal action, punishable by law.

As mentioned earlier, bats roosting in chimneys are most likely pregnant females. You may be able to decipher whether this is true or not by narrowing down the months in the year. From September to March, bats hibernate. April to May is their mating season. By June, Allentown bats would give birth. However, baby bats are entirely dependent upon their mothers for survival, taking several weeks before they are capable of flying on their own, most likely until the end of July. Therefore, April, May and August are the only three months in which you can take some action to physically prevent the bats from entering your chimney.

How would you go about doing this? Bats are less likely to enter areas in a vertical entry, meaning that they may not have entered your chimney through the top. You would have to either observe how the bat enters or exits the chimney to see how they do it, or search for cracks and holes around the chimney area. Bear in mind that bats very small creatures so the area in which they enter/exit, can be extremely small as well. You may want to hire a professional for this job but in the event that you want to do it yourself, pay special attention to the chimney during dusk. This is when bats are known to leave in order to forage for food.

Should you find the location, other than the flu, you may want to have that area installed with exclusion material such as mesh screening. This acts as a one-way doorway whereby the Allentown bat can leave the chimney, but it cannot return. The opening of the flu would also need to be installed with completely with the mesh of with in such a way that it acts as a one-way doorway as well. Again, never do this during June or July as you risk trapping the babies without their mother, who would be flying around frantically outside your home and the babies would starve to death. When the bats migrate for winter, they would return but if they cannot get in, they would have no choice but to look for a different location to roost.

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