Bats have an off season just like sports teams do. But rather spending the off season conditioning for the upcoming year, bats choose to either hibernate or migrate for the winter. So why do bats take the first flight out of town when the cold weather starts to push back? The answer is cold temperatures and food! In order to survive the subfreezing temperatures winter can bring with it, bats must hibernate or migrate.
Hibernation, or torpor (regulated hypothermia), is the time when bats rest to preserve energy. It can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months, depending on environmental conditions, species, and several other factors. If the hibernacula temperatures are too warm, bats will exert too much energy, which risks their survival. On the contrary, if hibernacula temperatures are too cold, bats will simply freeze to death.
For this reason, bats find warm, dark, cozy areas to hibernate in, such as attics, crawl spaces, caves, mines, and bat houses. They generally wake up every few weeks to readjust their positions based on the temperatures, and then they are back to resting. Hibernation saves them during times of food scarcity, but some bats don’t even bother, and instead migrate, following warmer temperatures and bugs.
Some migrate south for the winter to follow the insects and head toward warm weather. But once the spring is back and food is abundant, they head back home again. So migration is temporary, and refers to both migrations, to and from a location. Types of bats that migrate include silver-haired bats, eastern red bats, hoary bats, and most other tree-roosting bats. The food they are after includes termites, beetles, mosquitoes, and flies.
Bats in the Attic
If you are hearing strange scratching or squeaking noises coming from your walls or ceilings, you may have some hibernating bats in the attic. When the temperatures change, they will adjust their positions to get warmer or cooler during hibernation. This happens only once every few weeks; and since they hide inside the attic insulation, you cannot see them, so it is hard to tell without the proper gear and a trained eye.
Have your attic inspected for roosting colonies by a licensed bat removal company that uses safe and humane methods. They have the tools, training, and resources to manage your bat infestation, safely and efficiently. Many companies even offer bat cleanup and minor restoration for bat damages.