What makes a barrel tile roof so attractive also makes it very difficult to remove bats from. The many ridges of a barrel tile roof look nice, but each tile has gaps under it that bats can squeeze through. Clay tiles are warm and dark, and they make a great place for bats to roost. Bats also prefer entering and exiting through vertical gaps rather than horizontal ones, such as the opening of a chimney. If there is a tear in the tarpaper below the tiles, then the bats can easily take up residence in the attic as well. Because each piece of tile has ridges the bats can enter through, it is very difficult to remove bats from and then seal a barrel tile roof because there are hundreds of entry points.
Diseases They Can Spread
Once the bats have access to your roof, via the tiles, it is almost certain that they will find a way into your attic. If bats get into your attic or living areas, there are several problems that could result. Bats, like all mammals can carry rabies. Although most bats are not carriers, it is possible that a rabid bat could access the living areas of your home and bite you. There is no way to be sure that the bat that bit you is not a carrier, so you would have to undergo medical treatment immediately. Rabies is fatal if left untreated.
The greatest health concern involving bats is due to a fungus that lives in their guano. The spores of the fungus, if inhaled, can cause a lung infection called histoplasmosis. Although histoplasmosis often clears up after a few weeks, it can spread and cause serious harm throughout the body. Because bats produce large amounts of guano due to the fact that they eat up to 50% of their body weight in insects per day, an attic full of guano is a serious health hazard.
To remove bats legally and humanely, live bat exclusion is performed. This involves placing a one-way exclusion device on the entry point or points. The bats can exit through the device, but they can’t re-enter through it due to a one-way flap or valve. Exclusion devices come in many forms and can be made from several different materials. Some are cone or funnel shaped and made from plastic, and others are made from PVC pipes. Netting can be used as an exclusion device as well. After the exclusion device is in place for a few days and the bats have all exited, then the entry points can be sealed to prevent the bats from entering again.
If the bats are roosting under the tiles and not in an attic, then each ridge could hold bats. Since every ridge is a potential entry point for bats, it would be almost impossible to install an exclusion device on every ridge. The time and cost involved in installing a device on each ridge would be very high. Because it is illegal to kill bats, you can’t just seal up the ridges with the bats still inside them or the attic. For this reason, it is best to wait until the bats have migrated for the winter so that each ridge can be sealed.
Migration And Sealing
Once the bats are gone for the season, you have time to do the job of sealing the entry points correctly. Before sealing the ridges, you should have the roof checked for damage. If bats can get under the tiles, other animals, such as rodents or squirrels, may be also entering. Bats don’t do always do damage other than leaving behind piles of guano, but other animals can cause damage. Fix any damage to tar paper and wood before beginning the sealing process. One way to seal the entire roof at once is to use fine mesh netting that installs over the whole thing. This is not a very attractive fix for your problem, however, as the netting is quite visible. To keep the attractive look of the roof intact while also preventing the bats from returning, each ridge must be sealed individually.
Because each ridge of a barrel tile roof must be sealed individually, it is a time consuming process. The most effective means of sealing the tiles is by installing steel cloth at the bottom of each ridge where the bats enter through. The steel cloth is woven with holes that are smaller than a bat can squeeze through. The weave allows for ventilation and drainage, but the bats can’t get through. The tiles are fitted with a piece of steel cloth, and the pieces are then drilled in. In order to ensure that no bats can enter, each ridge must have the steel cloth attached to it. You should also check other areas of the roof to ensure that there are no damaged areas, cracks, or gaps where the bats could enter. When they return from migration, they will be looking for a way to enter their former roost.
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Wildlife Education - Information and Advice for the Safe Removal of Bats from Attics