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Why we need to treat bats with care (and how to do it)

We know not everyone is a fan of bats inside their home. Apart from their unsettling presence, their excrement is unhygienic (and certainly unsightly) and some species can spread dangerous diseases, although this is rare. But did you know that bats are essential to our environment and are a protected species in most countries?


Bats are perhaps the most misunderstood species on our planet. They are master pollinators, responsible for some of our favourite fruits such as mangoes, avocadoes and bananas. Over 300 species of fruits depend on bats for pollination and dispersal of seeds. They also play a significant role in pest control. Recent studies in the US estimate that bats eat enough pests to save more than US$1 billion per year in crop damage and pesticide costs in the corn industry*. Here in the Caribbean, bats are essential for mosquito control.

Unfortunately, bats have also been vilified as disease carrying pests and the COVID pandemic did little to appease this reputation since many (unconfirmed) theories pointed to bats as the genesis of the illness. Vampire bats – the only bats to be classified as vermin in most countries – are known to carry rabies but the risk of a vampire bat attack on humans is rare. In spite of this, bats are viewed as a dangerous pest in spite of their yeoman service to our eco-system.


Due to habitat destruction, bats are finding their way more frequently into our homes. With more property developments taking away from their natural habitat, bats are seeking any shelter that might resemble caves or cracks and are inadvertently entering our properties to roost.

Getting them out safely

Bats can be difficult to remove from a property safely and experts urge property owners to seek professional help to evict bats and prevent their re-entry.  DIY methods are generally discouraged because the chemicals used may harm the bats as well as humans and pets on the property.  These methods might also result in killing the bats while still inside the property, resulting in a more serious problem that involves further pest infestations.

The premise of safe bat eviction is to encourage the bats to relocate on their own and once the entire colony has been removed, to then seal off potential entry points. Rentokil Initial uses several techniques to prompt bats to leave such as repellant, fogging and funneling. Methods used depend on the type of property and the particular circumstances. Once the eviction method has been successful, potential entry points are then sealed to ensure no further access. Property owners are also encouraged to be proactive in bat control by regularly checking their property for potential entry points and sealing as necessary. Some experts recommend installing bat houses near a home to provide a safe roosting alternative for bats and deter them from seeking shelter indoors.

While bats may not be welcome inside your home, allowing them to relocate safely is important for our eco-system. Much of our agricultural industry depends on the free movement of bats, and they also help with mosquito control. If you ever have a bat problem inside your property, reach out for expert help.

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