Because of their nocturnal natures, bats are not too often seen or encountered by humans, particularly as they hibernate during the winter. This, combined with their unique characteristics (they are the only true-flying mammal), means that there are understandably many misconceptions surrounding bats. But having a roost in your property should be nothing to worry about and the presence of bats is unlikely to cause any issues. Many homeowners and tenants share their property with bats without being alerted to their presence. By allowing bats to return to the safety of your property each year, you are playing an important part in survival of bats in your local area, now that many of the habitats they would have roosted in naturally have been destroyed.
Bats are unlikely to pose a health risk and they are only usually present in their roost seasonally (during the summer months), after which they typically disperse to other sites. In addition to this, as they sleep within their roost during the day, forage for insects at night, and hibernate throughout the winter, they very rarely come into contact with people.
As all bats in the UK are protected by law, it is not generally possible to remove or rehome bats.
However there is help available if you are encountering some issues associated with your bat roost and the majority of problems can easily be resolved. You can find advice on our website, if you are experiencing issues, here.
Can I get the bats to move into a box instead?
It might seem like an option would be to offer alternative accommodation to your lodgers, but bats are very faithful to their roosts and usually return year-on-year. This is one reason why they have suffered so greatly from habitat loss. Although bat boxes are excellent for encouraging bats by offering further roosting opportunities, they do not mimic the exact conditions of their existing roost in the safety of your building. As a result, they are not likely to move into bat boxes nearby as an alternative to their chosen roost.
There are some situations where bat boxes are used as mitigation in development projects, however this is always at the advice of a qualified and experienced ecological consultant who is involved in that specific project, and also requires a license.
Can I use ultrasonic devices to deter them?
Bats and their roosts are protected in the UK whether bats are present or not, therefore any measures taken to try and deter bats from your property puts you at risk of breaking the law. Using an ultrasonic device in or near a roost, or another method of deterrence, may lead to the law being broken if bats are disturbed. The effect of these devices on bats also remains unknown.
But I read on another website that there are companies that can get rid of bats...
As all bats and their roosts are protected in the UK, there are no companies in the UK that offer a service to remove or rehome bats.
However, bats do not have the same protection worldwide and so in some places it is not illegal to remove bats. Therefore, if you come across a website offering this service, it is unlikely to be referring to bats in the UK.
This advice provided by the National Bat Helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of people like you. Our vital advice service helps thousands of people by providing advice for free, this in turn saves thousands of bats every year. Partial funding from Natural England helps cover some of our running costs, but it does not cover everything. Your donation will help ensure our small team can continue to provide assistance and a lifeline for bats.