Bats in the GTA
Halloween may still be weeks away, but that hasn’t stopped the bats from coming out. As summer fades and fall settles in, wildlife are looking for a cozy place to call home for the winter, and your attic is exactly what they’re looking for; including bats.
With hundreds of species of bats worldwide, residents of the GTA only need to worry about a handful of species that could be moving in this winter. The types of bats found in Ontario can be classified into two groups: those who fly south for the winter, and those who tough out the long, cold Canadian winters.
Although the bats that stick around for the winter are tough, they still want a sheltered place to call home.
Starting in the late fall, after a long summer of feeding off insects, bats will go into hibernation. Normally a bat would use a cave or even abandoned mine shaft as their settling place, but as these spots become scarcer, they’ve adapted to using manmade structures, like your attic. Although bats don’t impose any immediate danger, the thought of having them in your home can be quite unnerving. Not to mention, bat droppings are very toxic. In North America bats are the number one carrier for rabies. Keeping them out of your home won’t only give you peace of mind but will also keep your family healthy.
Temperatures above 7 degrees Celsius are suitable for bats, but once it becomes colder, they will go into hibernation. Once a bat has found a place to stay, they will actually drop their internal temperature, as a way to save their own energy, and go to sleep. Once bats move in, and go into hibernation, you might not even realize they’re there. Before hibernation, bats are nocturnal, active mostly at dusk and throughout the night. If they are in your home, it is likely you will be hearing high pitched screeches through the night, as the bats communicate with each other.
On random winter days when the weather feels abnormally warm, a bat may be awoken, with a false sense of spring. During these warm spells, the conditions for insects are much better, enticing bats to come out and feed. Occasionally a bat may break from their hibernation to fly out and find some water, usually returning to their sleep right away. These may be the only times you hear a bat in your home. Brown bats only need a crack or a crevice about 6mm around to squeeze their way in, so chances are, you may not even know you have bats living in your home, until the middle of winter. Unless you are fortunate enough to hear them settling into their hibernation.
You may hear bats settling into walls, faint scratches and squeaks could be a sign of bats. The best time to catch a bat problem in your home would be before the first frost. Once the first frost hits, bats have gone into their hibernation and wildlife companies are unable to remove them until the bats wake up in the spring. Bats are highly protected by the Ministry of Natural Resources, so all of our work is up to the highest standards of wildlife safety.
Although bats may seem like a pest, they are actually very helpful. Without them, we would be inundated with insects. In Canada, no pesticides are registered to control bats. The only option is to remove them safely, and humanely. ICE wildlife experts have perfected the practise of removing bats, in accordance to all ministry guidelines.
It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. If you’re living in the GTA and suspect you have a bat problem, or that your home may be vulnerable to a bat issue, the experts at ICE Wildlife and Pest Control are here to make sure you don’t have any unwanted visitors this fall.