What should I do if bats are in my chimney?

There is nothing better than a roaring fire or stove on a cold winter’s night. Unfortunately, wild animals also enjoy the heat from your fire and will go to great lengths to access it. For example, bats, possessed with the gift of flight, unique for a mammal, will seek to access the warmth of your house in more unconventional ways. 

This often involves flying into your chimney and feeling the heat as it rises. However, this poses a lot of challenges to homeowners. Primarily, when bats defecate into a fireplace, their feces will begin to burn, emitting a horrendous odor. Even worse, the bats in your chimney may die. After all, there is a lot of smoke concentrated in a small area. If this does happen, the smell can be overpowering. Also, the removal of a charred bat can be disgusting. Therefore, it is important you are able to remove bats from your chimney swiftly and easily to prevent these things from happening. Thankfully, bats are often very conspicuous and can give their locations away with movements and their high-frequency calls. Here are some tips on removing bats from your chimney:

bats in attic; Bat In Basement

Close off all unnecessary entrance holes

By their very nature, chimneys have to have entry points. After all, they are designed to funnel and remove harmful smoke. However, many incidences of bats infesting chimneys occur as a result of smaller holes in the sides of the chimneys. This is often as a result of general wear and tear. Filling in these holes can make funneling and removing the nuisance bats a lot easier. Naturally, filling in such holes is not an easy task due to their location. You will certainly need a ladder, and perhaps professional help. If you do seek to fill in the gaps yourself, be sure not to use expanding foam, as you may use on other structural cracks. This is due to the holes’ proximity to the fire, which can melt it, release dangerous toxins, or at best cause a bad smell, perhaps worse than that of a charred bat!

Fit a one-way exclusion device

One-way exclusion devices come in a variety of different forms but all do the same job. In essence, these devices allow animals to freely exit an enclosed area at their will, but they are unable to fly back in. This usually involves a mechanism on the door. These devices can be bought online and at most hardware shops, and mostly take the form of a cage with an opening on one end. On the other end, there is usually a door, with a special sort of hinge that allows it to only open one way. 

It is important that you purchase an exclusion device that works on multiple animals, as it is likely there will be at least one bat in your chimney at a time. This device should be fitted at the top of your chimney, meaning that you may need a ladder or a professional to help you fit it. Once it is attached to the top of your chimney, leave it for at least three days. This is enough time to ensure all bats have exited. During this time, it is absolutely imperative that you do not light a fire. The heat from this may damage your exclusion device, and make the hinge not work. Even worse, in its panic to escape, a bat may fly into your house through the fire. A burning bat flying around your property is a recipe for disaster.