Halloween is just around the corner, and while many people are busy decorating their homes with pumpkins and spider webs, some might be in for an unexpected Halloween surprise – bats in their chimney! These winged creatures are known for their association with the supernatural and the eerie, making their presence in your home’s hearth all the more fitting for the spooky season.

But why do bats choose to live in chimneys? How can I determine their presences?

…and most importantly, how can I safely get bats out of my chimney?

What Do Bats in Chimneys Sound Like?

a bat hanging upside down off of a tree branch, all wrapped up in its wingsSo, you’re hearing noises coming from your chimney, but how can you know whether it’s a family of bats, a nest of birds, or something else? Bats are most oftenly identified by high-pitched squeaking or chirping/cheeping noises. You’ll also likely hear their wings flapping about – and they’ll be most active at dusk or dawn.

How can I tell bat noises apart from bird ones?

So, everything we already described probably sounds pretty similar to what you’d hear from a bird. So, how can you tell the difference between the two? Well, birds are typically louder and they’ll sound more like a chirp, than a squeak.

The time of day your hearing sounds is what will be one of the biggest indicators, though. Birds will chirp all throughout the daytime. Nocturnal bats? Not so much.]

Getting Bats Out of Your Chimney: The Safe & Ethical Way

So how do you get these unwanted chimney squatters safely out of your home? Bats are federally protected in Wisconsin because they play a vital role in the ecosystem. Even in heavily populated areas, bats keep balance in the workings of the outdoor environment.

Essentially… Nobody wants bats living in their chimney, but everyone needs bats living in their neighborhood. Here are steps you can take to make sure that the bats in your home stay safe as they are relocated.

1. Identify the Species

While, it is highly unlikely that the bats in your chimney are vampires in disguise, not all bats fit into the same category – and there are eight recorded species of bats in Wisconsin alone. Determining which species is living with you is the first step in getting them out because each species has different habits and behaviors.

2. Wait for the Right Time

In Wisconsin, it is against the law to evict bats between June 1st and August 15th.

That means that getting rid of bats is best done in the very late summer and early fall. This is the time of year when the little bat babies, or pups (isn’t that adorable), are old enough to fly, but have yet to leave for hibernation. If you try to remove them at a different time of year, it is easy to trap the pups inside the chimney without meaning to.

3. Have Your Fireplace or Wood Stove Professionally Inspected 

At Ashbusters Milwaukee we specialize in chimney, fireplace, and wood stove care and maintenance. Our professionals are trained and experienced in inspecting chimneys, finding problem spots, and getting them taken care of.

Bats are able to take advantage of very small entry and exit points within a chimney system. Our team at Ashbusters can locate these entry and exit points for you.

4. Install One-Way Devices 

Bat cones and one-way netting are just a few of the devices that can be used to allow bats out – but not back in. When you have identified the points of entry and exit of the bats, installing these one-way devices is the next best step. This forces bats to find another place to roost all on their own.

5. Seal the Opening

Once you have made absolutely sure that there are no more bats staying cozy in your chimney, it’s time to seal the openings permanently to prevent future access. At Ashbusters Milwaukee, we have the materials and experience necessary to seal your chimney with a well-fitted chimney cap, all while remaining in compliance with state regulations for safety.

The Bats Are Out! …What Now?

First things first… get that chimney sweeping on the books.

bats flying at night near a tree with a full moon in the backgroundBats aren’t exactly clean creatures. After they have been evicted, it is crucial that you have your wood stove or fireplace chimney cleaned to remove any guano and debris the bats have left behind. If left uncleaned, these materials can become both a fire hazard and a health hazard (as bacteria and mold may form).

You’ll also want to ensure you maintain your chimney yearly moving forward. The best offense is a great defense when it comes to keeping creatures out. Regular maintenance in your fireplace and chimney is a great way to make sure that critters such as bats, rodents, birds, and animals remain in their own habitats without having to bother yours.

At Ashbusters we know how important your home is to you and how important chimney maintenance is. This is why we offer our fireplace maintenance expertise to you, so you can enjoy your home safely, and we can enjoy our community more.

Why Do Bats Like Chimneys?

You may be asking, why would bats want to live in my chimney? Isn’t there a church belfry that would interest them more? The truth is, bats, like many creatures, are just looking for a warm and cozy spot that will keep them dry and away from the wind. As autumn air turns crisp and chilly, your chimney becomes an appealing option for lots of animals. 

While these advantages might make sense to a bat looking for a home, living in a chimney is obviously not as safe as it seems. It is dangerous for bats to set up camp in an environment that fills up with smoke and other toxic gases. It is also dangerous for you, the homeowner, as nests and other debris brought in by your chimney dwellers creates a higher risk of fire or chimney clogging.

For a Happy (and Bat-Free) Halloween, Trust Us

Let’s face it – having the spookiest house at Halloween is part of the fun. However, when you don’t need bat decorations because you have your own chimney full of live ones, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Ashbusters Milwaukee knows chimneys and we are always willing to help. From inspecting your chimney to getting it all cleaned up after you’ve evicted your living Halloween decor, we are here for you.

Call us today or reach out online, and let us help you keep the bats away.