Trapping Bats, Bat Traps and the Pathetic Companies that use them

Dead Bat 1


In early June of 2008 I inspected a home in Central Massachusetts that had a history of bats in the attic. The homeowner had informed me on the phone that they had hired a pest control company to address the problem the previous year. She also said that they still had bats in the attic and were getting an occasional bat in the living space of the house as well. After inspecting the attic I was surprised to find 8-10 glue-boards that had been set throughout the attic to catch bats. For those that are not familiar with glue-boards they are basically a rectangular piece of plastic with a thick layer of heavy-duty glue applied to one side. Any animal or insect that makes contact with this device immediately gets stuck to it, cannot escape and eventually dies. It had been a few years since I had seen a company use this foolish method to attempt to solve a bat problem. After making my way around the attic I found about a dozen dead bat carcasses stuck to these glue boards that were in various stages of decay. The smell from these dead bats was also very strong. I was very disturbed that there was a company in this area still using glue-boards for bats. Not only did they kill bats that did not need to be killed but they charged the homeowner for this service and did not solve her bat problem.


Dead Bat 3


Dead bats stuck to bat traps aka glue-boards

Why Trap and Kill Bats?

Why would anyone want to trap and kill bats? Anyone that has ever had a bat problem in their home and spent more than 3 minutes researching online knows that bat exclusion (exterior sealing of a house or structure to prevent bats from entering) is the only long-term solution to a bat problem. The practice of excluding bats is used all over the world and when done properly it is a safe and effective method of ridding a structure of bats. This practice is endorsed by Bat Conservation International as well as every other Bat Conservation Group in the world.


Not only is trapping bats an irresponsible practice that needlessly kills bats but it does not solve anything. What good is trapping and killing a handful of bats when the openings that bats use in the roof and roofline still exist? In most cases glue-boards set in an attic MIGHT trap 10% of the bats in an attic. The other 90% of the bats in the colony will remain. Not only that but most houses with bat problems will remain "revolving door" of bats as long as the openings exist in the roof that are allowing bats to enter. So even if these foolish traps were effective and could trap every bat in an attic the homeowner would have new bats show up in the attic within a matter of days as long as the openings in the roofline remain. On the other hand when a bat exclusion is done properly EVERY single bat is evicted from the house/attic for YEARS and none of them are killed in the process.

Q- So why would anyone bother to set bat traps and kill bats when a more responsible and effective method exists?

A- Pest Control Companies sell this "Bat Trapping" service as a cheaper alternative to a Bat Exclusion service.

To properly exclude bats from a house can be a lot of hard work. It is actually more of a miniature construction project than it is a Pest Control procedure. Excluding bats usually involves working on steep roofs, tall ladders and in awkward (and sometimes dangerous) positions. The cost of these services can sometimes be more than a homeowner is willing (or able) to pay. Some pest control companies recognize this and have structured their bat trapping services to target these homeowners in this situation. I don't have a problem with people trying to save money (I'm a homeowner too!). What I do have a problem with is companies selling these phony, ineffective bat trapping services to people. Why spend money for a service that does not work?


It takes us an entire day of working on ladders and rooflines to properly seal the exterior of most houses to prevent bats from entering. It takes a pest control technician about 6 minutes and $3.25 in materials to pollute and attic with glue-boards. The price difference in these two services is great. Sometimes the cost of a service is all that people see, regardless of it's effectiveness or the morality of the technique.

Bat Trapping Rant

The reason I am so opposed to this bat trapping foolishness is because I have to deal with the fallout from it. I usually get called in to inspect a situation where a homeowner has already spent a few hundred dollars for a company to toss glue-boards around their attic and they STILL HAVE BATS. In most cases people agree to these services without doing any research on the subject. After several weeks (or even years) of bat trapping they realize that they still have bats and that the services they have paid for are not working. After a bit of research the homeowner discovers that they need to have a bat exclusion performed and call us or a similar company that provides these services.

So I end up inspecting an attic with dead bats stuck to glue-boards and live bats still in the rafters. I am faced with a homeowner that is upset because they already wasted their time and money on a service that did not work. Most homeowners even feel guilty that these bats were killed and that they had not chosen a more responsible solution to their problem. After seeing this situation play out time and time again it pisses me off. Simple as that.

Matt Grady
BatGuys Wildlife Service

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