Bats can be frequent visitors in both old and new homes. They are small animals and are usually harmless. It’s not common for bats to cause much damage in the home. In fact, bats might go undetected for a long time, as they do not make much noise, might not smell much, and their droppings will usually crumble away to dust quickly. Since they don’t return to the house with insect prey or use any bedding, it’s normal for homeowners to be completely unaware of them.
Whatever the age of your home, it’s possible that bats might find somewhere to roost inside the home, either under lead flashing, roof tiles, or in the roof space. Bats may also find their way in behind the soffits and facias, or between gaps in the mortar. Bats tend not to use their roosts all year round, but they will return at various times throughout the year to a regular site.
In the UK, all bats and their roosts are protected by the law. Even if there are no bats present at the time, it is against the law to disturb their roost. So, if you have found bats in your roof, you are legally required to ensure that their access is not impeded.
If you need to carry out repair work on your roof, or there are any problems in your home as a result of the bats, then you should seek professional advice.
Bats and the Law
Bats are a protected species under both UK and European laws , including the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Habitats Regulations. It is an offence to disturb, harm, kill, or capture bats. It’s also against the law to disturb a roost or to destroy, damage, or block the bats’ access to their roost even if the bats are no longer there. If there is a possibility that bats are living at your property, and you want to conduct work on your home, then you may need to have a bat survey London carried out. London bat surveys are carried out by specialist bat surveyors. If the bats must be relocated or disturbed in any way for the work to be conducted, you will need to get a specialist who has a bat licence to do this. It is against the law to attempt to do this on your own.
Having a bat survey carried out on your home may be necessary if you suspect that there are bats roosting in your roof and you need to carry out construction work or repairs. The purpose of a bat survey is to first verify the presence of bats in your property and then provide further information on the measures that you can take to legally deal with the presence of bats. Since bats are a protected species, it is illegal to destroy their roost or kill the bats for any reason. There are some safe and legal options to consider that you can do with the assistance of a professional, such as bat boxes.
Where Do Bats Roost?
Bats can roost in any structure including houses, barns, sheds, garages, and more. Bats do not just roost in properties in rural areas, so even if you live in a busy town or city, there is a potential that bats might set up their roost in your property. The council is likely to request that you carry out a bat survey on a building where the likelihood of bats is higher, such as if you are demolishing or renovating a derelict building. You may also be required to get a bat survey before applying for planning permission to carry out substantial work on your home such as a loft conversion, re-roofing, or re-cladding. Bats can set up their roosts in both older and more modern buildings.
Signs There Are Bats in Your Home
You might think that given the size of bats, finding them in your home would be easy. However, since they are nocturnal and do not always make a lot of noise, they will often go undetected in the home until a survey is carried out, or until there are several of them in the loft or roof. Some of the main signs that there may be bats roosting in your home include:
Although bats do not make a lot of noise, there are a few telltale signs that might reveal that they are living in your loft or roof. You may hear scratching, crawling, or small squeaking sounds coming from the area. Since bats are nocturnal, you are more likely to hear them early in the morning when they are returning to the roost, or at night when they are getting ready to fly out.
Bat droppings might be present in your loft if there are bats roosting in there. If more bats come into your home, then you might also find their droppings in other areas of the home that are directly below their roost, such as in the porch or on window sills.
Even if you haven’t visibly seen any bat droppings in your home, it can give off quite a strong odour. Bat droppings can have a strong scent of ammonia, so if you’ve noticed this in your home even when you have not been using any cleaning products that use ammonia, this might be a sign that there are bats present.
When Bats Are Likely to Be Spotted
Bats tend to hibernate throughout the winter. However, they will wake up during warm temperatures. This means that bats might be noticeable during the winter if you switch on the heating system and your home suddenly warms up. The bats believe that it is spring and may try to find water to rehydrate. Bats tend to use their roosts mostly in the winter when hibernating, and most will return to the roost each year.
Bats in your home might not be noticeable. Since they are a protected species, it is illegal to cause harm to or move the bats. If you need to carry out work on your property that has the potential to harm or disturb bats, you will need a bat survey.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.