How to safely relocate bats that live on your property

Bats may be every bit as busy as bees, but they tend not to command the same respect. Erin Low (Biological Sciences Technology – Environmental Sciences ’14), Edmonton region coordinator for the Alberta Community Bat Program, would like to see that change. In fact, for the good of the province, it may have to.

“If you put a dollar value on bats,” she says, “it would be in the billions.”

Bats’ ecological value has an economic impact. They’re highly efficient predators of pests that can hinder agriculture and forestry – 2 significant industries in Alberta. They also keep another pesky species in check: a single Little Brown bat, for example, can eat 600 mosquitoes in an hour.

That’s why it’s good to have a "roost" near your yard in the spring and summer. Most people, however, don’t want bats bedding down in their attics or in other buildings that serve as warm, dry habitat where mother bats can raise pups in the spring and summer.

Before people start Googling “bat exterminator,” Low hopes that hosts of these flying mammals consider the work they do for the province and exercise tolerance. If you find bats living on your property, here are the actions she and the Alberta Community Bat Program recommend you take.

bat relocation tips

Report it. Share news of your roost with the Alberta Community Bat Program by emailing

bat relocation tips

Leave them alone. If they’re hanging out in an old barn or shed and doing no harm, give them their space.

bat relocation tips

Don’t touch them. A small percentage of Alberta bats have rabies, which can be transmitted through biting. Reduce the risk by never handling a bat and ensuring your pets are properly vaccinated.

bat relocation tips

Close the gaps. Bats can squeeze into living spaces through openings less than 2 centimetres wide. Seal openings into attics, fireplaces, windowsills and elsewhere. Try not to trap bats inside.

bat relocation tips

Exclude bats if necessary. If you can’t tolerate bats in a building, wait until mothers are done raising their pups and have left on their own, which usually happens by September. Then seal all possible entry points.

bat relocation tips

Build a bat house. Provide alternative accommodation before excluding bats, giving them time to get used to their potential new home. Wooden bat houses are easy to build and a safe roosting option.

bat relocation tips Be a good host. If you have a building that is suitable for hosting colonies, improve it. Increase the number and size of entry points, rough up surfaces for bats to cling to and patch roof holes to increase darkness.


Subscribe to receive more great stories every month

Find out more news about NAIT, stories about our alumni and their impact on their communities, and useful how-to content featuring our experts.

Sign up today »