Hi I'm hoping I've chosen the right forum for this. I am in Nebraska in a suburban area, two story brick and vinyl siding home built in '05. We recently discovered we have bats after hearing the noises in one of our bedroom walls. We had several different wildlife companies come out to inspect and give estimates if needed and all three said bats. Not that many, probably one small colony (2-4 they all said) based on limited amount of guano in the storage attic above the garage and crawl space attic under the roof. All companies reported less than dozen droppings in both areas. One company ended up being a nationally known company that had bought out a local wildlife management firm and kept the firm's name and phone number. So I thought I was calling a company that dealt with wildlife infestations and got bug spray guys who scared the crap out of me (I'm a stay at home mom). They went on and on about what to do if the bats end up flying inside your living space and rabies protocol, etc. I haven't had any experience dealing with bats until now and for about 48 hours wanted to move, basically.
Once the other two locally owned actual real wildlife management companies came it was quite helpful. Basically we had really really cold temps like the rest of the midwest and the north east and then all of a sudden we had two 55 degree days followed by a couple 40 degree days. So what they told me was the bats were in the attic, they moved further into the walls during the cold spell and then the extreme temp change interrupted their hibernation and woke them up and they started to move around. I now know all of the protocol as to how and when they can do the exclusion and we chose one of the guys to do most of the sealing up of the holes as soon as we have a warmer dry day, and then have him come back mid May to permanently seal the one way valves he will put in to wait for them to leave.
I'm still fairly freaked out at all of the rabies talk that came out of the bigger company though (which I found out later they work on commission and their estimate was $1500 more than the other two, with the other two seeming MUCH more knowledgeable). The other two companies had to talk me down off the ledge about waking up in the middle of the night with rabid bats flying in the bedrooms (or just having the rabid bats bite us while we are sleeping, then get away before we even know they'd made it into the living space and then we all have rabies before we can get the shots -- I know I'm being irrational, but the first people really had me scared!) Both other companies said that it was possible they could come inside the living space, but that I have a newer and well sealed home, and not that many bats, and so it was relatively unlikely. They also said most bats don't even have rabies and that most bats WITH rabies aren't making it through hibernation season this far, they've gone off to die somewhere.
So my question for anyone here is is there anything I can do to make it more likely they won't accidentally end up inside the living space? I understand they're not wanting to come in here and if they did it would be an accident on their part. But I've looked around most of the house for any obvious cracks in the drywall, etc. The only spaces that are scaring me are the furnace closet on the second floor, the laundry room on the second floor, and the return air vents on the second floor. Both the laundry room (down by the where the dryer vent) and the furnace closet (up by the ceiling) have non dry-walled areas but have insulation pretty tightly packed in those areas. The return air vents I can see have a few spots on the "walls' of the vents just behind the grates that are slightly bowed in, allowing you to see some of the insulation as well. Will bats gnaw through tightly packed insulation like that? I've also read that they need about 3/8's of an inch opening and our air vent covers are not that wide, so I'm wondering if I'm ok there. I did read they don't like the smell of peppermint oil so I sprinkled some around the base of the hole in the wall around the dryer vent and around the furnace closet, I'm sure that's probably going to nothing but it made me feel better. (My husband also wanted to know why our house smelled like candy canes when he got home).
I thank any of you in advance that read this and apologize for what a crazy person I am being! I'm just still dealing with sleeping by active bats behind my headboard and I have kids who sleep pretty hard and probably wouldn't wake up to something in their rooms. Although I have two dogs who would probably start barking if something were flying around.