Bats are critical to the health of natural ecosystems and human economies around the world, providing seed dispersal, pollination, and pest control services. Unfortunately, bats are often viewed in a negative light, stuck in a stigma that has been created and reinforced by literary and cinematic culture. In truth, bats are harmless and highly beneficial, and coexistence between bats and humans is critical to maintain the ecosystem services bats provide.
Like most wild animals, bats prefer to be left alone and avoid human contact. However, there are times when bats and humans cross paths and conflict or questions arise. The below resources are provided to help in such situations.
Bats in Buildings
The most effective solution to remove unwanted bats from a building is exclusion. This method involves placing one-way exclusion devices over the main access point(s) of the building. In Ohio, it is unlawful to perform an exclusion between May 16-July 31 if there are 15 or more bats inside a structure. A colony of 15 or more bats is likely a maternity colony (females with young), so exclusion is restricted in order to protect flightless bat pups. In situations where human health and safety is at risk, a property owner/designee may seek written authorization from the Chief of the Division of Wildlife to perform an exclusion during the restricted period. Visit here for more information.
- Bat Conservation International – Dealing with Bats in Buildings
- List of Commercial Nuisance Wild Animal Control Operators (Not all of these operators work with bats. Be sure to ask if their work includes bat exclusion.)
- Dealing with Bats in Buildings in Ohio – ODNR, Division of Wildlife
- Along with the above resources, check out this video by Danielle Thompson, Wildlife Specialist with Brown Co. Soil & Water Conservation District on what to do if you have bats in your building.
What to do if you find a bat:
During the summer, bats are out flying almost every night hunting insects. Seeing bats flying around at dusk and throughout the night, especially under lights, is normal behavior. If you find a bat on the ground that appears sick, injured, or in need of care, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained professionals that care for wildlife until they can be returned to the wild.
Bats and Diseases
Bats are meticulous groomers and should never be mistaken for dirty animals. However, bats, like most mammals, can contract the rabies virus (though few ever do). Bats are also not alone from other wild animals in being a potential source of human disease. Please visit the below sites for more information on bats and diseases.
- Rabies (the following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Bats and Covid-19
- Bats and histoplasmosis (the following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)