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September 24, 2007
More about bats

Steve, armed with a worklight, scans the rafters looking for any signs of bats

When Steve joined us for a weekend up at our mountain building site, he was particularly intrigued by our stories of bat sightings and bat hunting. We know we have bats. We’ve seen them flying around inside the house. We’ve attempted to cover every possible crack and roosting spot, but we still have bats.

The original idea this weekend was to take advantage of Steve's presence, and have the two guys go up on the roof to look for bat signs. (Gail, with her fear of heights and edges, is extremely reluctant to go up there.) Unfortunately, it began to rain on Saturday morning, September 22, our main workday.

Relegated to working inside, Steve volunteered to do some detective work. He scoured the ceilings both downstairs and upstairs, but didn’t see any bats roosting or hiding. On the other hand, his set of fresh eyes uncovered several bat-sized openings to the outside that Gail and Russell had missed. He filled the holes with insulation and caulking.

One of the additional bat-sized holes that Steve found – this one was on the seccond floor, between a corner and a wall

Even better, Steve was able to reach several of the high places that Gail couldn’t reach, to fill in potential bat-roosting places.

(Russell and Gail have an ongoing argument about the exact status of the bats. Gail believes that they’re still getting in and out of the house somehow. Russell counters that this is impossible, as we’ve plugged all possible entrances and exits. Russell believes that a bat is trapped inside the house, and we simply haven’t discovered its roosting spot. Gail counters that this is impossible, as there is nothing for the bat to eat.)

After lunch on Saturday, we experienced a small window of clear weather. Russell and Steve took advantage, strapped on their harnesses, and went up onto the roof for the first time in two years. (In fact, it was exactly two years ago – September 24, 2005 – that we originally capped the roof.)

Steve and Russell, back on the roof again

It took us awhile to get our “roof legs” again, but it was also incredibly wonderful to be back up on top of the house with an unobstructed panoramic view all around us.

We took off the roof cap, not knowing if we would find sleeping bats, tons of bat droppings, or what. We were surprised. Other than a long-abandoned wasp nest, there was no sign of bats at all. In fact, the insulation was still packed in there so tightly that nothing could have gotten through.

Russell removes the roof cap
Steve peers under the roof cap, looking for any signs of bats

Since we had gone through so much trouble to get back up there, we went ahead and filled the space with steel wool as an extra precaution (all of the “get rid of bats” web sites say that bats will not try to crawl or fly through steel wool). It was a bit tricky to get the roof cap back on, but we managed it successfully.

We stuffed steel wool under the roof cap before screwing it back down

Just as we began to climb down from the roof, it started raining again. Through sheer luck, we had managed to find the exact and only window of opportunity to climb up on the roof between storms. As Steve later observed, “Standing on top of a metal roof – on top of a mountain – during a rainstorm is not a smart idea.”

During the two nights that we spent up on the mountain this weekend, we had no bat sightings. Thanks to Steve’s help inside the house, we are more convinced than ever that we have plugged every possible entrance and exit hole. Thanks to Steve’s help outside on the roof, we are also convinced that bats have never roosted up there either.

The mystery of the bats still remains just that – a mystery. We can never “prove” absolutely that we have stopped the bats from getting into the house. We can only hope that we continue to not see them.

The view from on top of the roof – still breathtaking
(hmm… are those storm clouds approaching?)


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