Friday, June 26, 2015
Hopefully, the bat saga has now come to an end. It finally got hot enough this year that the attic louver became too uncomfortable for the clan and they moved out to cooler sleeping quarters. We set the BIG ladder up so I could reach the louver from the outside and I gritted my teeth to the heat and began the process of screening them out. First I had to clean the louver because they had pooped all over it and down the side of the house even. I washed all that, touched up the paint and redid a little of the caulking. Of course, in the process I managed to poke a hole in the screen that is secured on the inside face of the louver so I had to go in there and patch that good. I needed to clean up some in the attic anyway, under the louver so it was as good excuse as any to get it all done at once. It was pretty freaking hot but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Regardless, I was soaked by the time I was finished.
Today was kinda cloudy and I finally had all my materials together and ready so I checked to make sure there were no stragglers up there and started to screen off the front. Well, of course, there were two bats that had come back so I had to go back into the attic and scare them out. Wasn't too bad...I just blew on them and tapped the screen until they got mad and left. So, back outside and up the ladder. I stapled 1/2" hardware clothe over the face of the louver so nothing (but bugs) can now get into the slats. Of course, you can't see anything from this crappy photo but it doesn't look bad. I was afraid the hardware clothe would stick out like a sore thumb but you really don't notice it. Now, I did spray paint it with a reddish primer so that helps greatly.
The photo above was taken a couple of months ago and I wanted to show ya'll because....if you click on it to enlarge it, you may be able to see the bat on the far right is in the process of having a baby!! Jack went up into the attic for some reason and started yelling for me to get the camera and come up. When I got up there I saw this! The others (there were more) all had babies under their wings. Some of them had two! One under each wing. I know they were making a mess but this was SO cool! So, we let the babies grow up and everybody get out before I put the screen up.
The bats are not so easily deterred however. Of course, they can't get back into the louver but they apparently really like my house, so they just went to the other end. Now, it's cooler on that end too, so I suspect that's why they went down there, and there is no attic on that end, but they still managed to find a nook to cram into. I was walking up to the door today and heard all this screeching and such and knew they were up to something. Bats have a very distinct sound so I recognized it right away. I looked up just in time to see a dozen bats or more come billowing out of the crack between the regular roof and where the clerestory roof joins it. I have a (maybe) 16 inch soffit on the sides of the clerestory roof and where it joins the normal roof it makes a large bird's mouth. They were stuffed in there and maybe even under the metal ridge cap (only about 16 inches of that too). That side faces the rising sun and I think the metal roof had finally heated up enough to start burning their little furry buns so they came hauling ass out of there. I kept hearing some others though and climbed up on the roof to see there were still three or four hanging on to the spot. I don't know if they ever did leave. That area is not so bad though. They can't really get into anything there and their poop will just get washed off when it rains. Besides, that being a pretty much open area, I don't know anyway I could stop them from roosting there anyway. I am going to put up a large bat house, in a tree, and just hope they find that a more desirable place to sleep. I really like having the bats around as they are great for pest control and of course, I'm a softie for them because they are often misunderstood. But I don't want them messing up my house! I'll build them two houses, or more!, of their own if they'll use them.
And the bats are not the only critters that really like my house! The phoebes just love the outriggers that hold the verge rafters up. Of course, I love the phoebes too. They are really great pest control also, so I don't want to run them off. I do want to remove their nests as they abandon them though and lay some copper flashing down on the tops of the outriggers so that future nests don't rot the wood. I don't know that they would now but better safe than sorry. A lot of people fuss about the looks and think it's nasty to have bird's nest around but I just love them. I'm glad my house can provide a safe place for the babies and I hope many generations (of bats and birds) will call this valley their home.