Bats typically are considered frightening -- perfect for Halloween displays -- but the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's wildlife damage project coordinator says now is a good time to get rid of bats.
Bats can accidentally get into homes, typically attics, when they are looking for shelter in high, hot areas during the evening.
Stephen Vantassel, coordinator for UNL's Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, said waiting until after August to get them out is important, but people shouldn't wait much longer.
"You can probably go all the way through October," he said. "Bats don't move when the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Bats don't move when there aren't any bugs. If you see bugs outside, chances are you'll be able to do your exclusion; otherwise you'll have to wait until next spring."
Bats can't make their own holes to get inside homes. They get in through pre-existing holes at least ¼-inch in diameter.
Vantassel said it's important to identify every opening bats can use, either by watching them fly through at dusk or getting onto a ladder and finding grease smudges around holes.
Once exit holes are identified, Vantassel suggests installing one-way doors over them and sealing all other potential exits, then waiting for the bats to use the one-way doors to get out.
The key, he said in a news release, is to seal a house while bats still have a way out.
"Make sure that you never trap the bats inside of the house because they will come into the living space."
Homeowners run the risk of rabies if that happens, Vantassel said, and people in bat-infested homes should assume there has been contact -- especially while sleeping -- unless proven otherwise.
If possible, he said, the bats should be captured and taken to a medical professional.
Find more information about bats at www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/g1667.pdf.