It’s that time of year when bats are everywhere, but hopefully only represented by your Halloween decorations and not put there by your luxury home builder. Going back to the ancient origins of Halloween, people often gathered together around giant bonfires, which were lit to ward off the evil spirits. Many flying insects would be attracted to the warmth and light of these bonfires, along with the hungry bats that would dart in and out among the firelight, creating flickering shadows that were adapted into Halloween lore.

Many homes from a luxury home builder today commonly feature fire-pits to enhance outdoor entertaining options, modernizing the concept of bonfires and making it easy to enjoy its festive ambiance any time of year. The natural attraction to the warmth and light of bonfires, as well as the symbolic communal spirit and hospitality it represents, has not changed over the centuries, for both people and bats. Seeing bats flicker around the shadows of a bonfire may be eerie and exciting on cool fall nights, but most luxury homeowners would not enjoy sharing their company indoors.

There are 7 species of bats commonly found in Wisconsin, and they eat a variety of insects including mosquitos, moths and beetles. Bats typically feast at night when insects are most active and tend to hunt where insects congregate, such as forest edges, near bodies of water and near light attractions (such as street lights). When their prey is dormant, so are the bats, resting up between meals and digesting, and hideouts tend to be in caves and tree hollows in a natural habitat. When their natural habitat is disrupted by homes, they may retreat to chimneys, attics and garages. Some Wisconsin species of bats do hibernate during colder months, rather than migrate, in large roosts referred to as hibernacula, and, if there is a handy entrance built by your luxury home builder, that may be their winter plan.

Historically, bats have used caves and old mining shafts as their roosts, but have adapted with the times into manmade buildings and structures, locating very small holes to allow their entrance. They do not claw or chew their way in, but rather use natural instincts guided by air currents and temperature. If bats are discovered in your home, a proper eradication is recommended prior to sealing any entrances to avoid confrontation. For the most part, bats are quiet and nocturnal, passing through their chosen pathways to hunt, but if their passage out is sealed up while still roosting inside, they may invade living quarters from their chimney, garage or attic roost or, worse, die out, leaving a much worse and long-lasting odor than their droppings.

Bats are not rodents or pests, and actually keep their fur and wings meticulously clean. The odor associated with bats comes from their urine and droppings, which attracts certain bugs. Bats are, in fact, many a luxury homeowner’s best friend, as they effectively control the population of night flying insects during spring, summer and fall months. Many homeowners have recognized their value in this regard and have opted to build bat houses on their property as a natural method of insect control. Having a bat house does not increase the likelihood that bats will roost in your home; nor are they a solution if bats have already roosted in your home, as bats will not willingly move their roost.

Encouraging bat patrol as an alternative to chemical pesticides holds great appeal. If you are working with a luxury home builder on your dream home, they can help ensure these magical night creatures patrol the property without taking up residence.