People lie! They lie about the bliss of rural relocation. They lie about the size of fish they catch. They lie about being there for you. But, mostly, they lie about bats! Such a silly thing, yet no one can admit the ugly truth. “Bats only come into your house. It never happens to me,” friends say. Liars!
Evidence to the contrary exists. Bat visitations have occurred regularly in all three of my country homes. Each was a different style house, in a different town with different surroundings. No way am I the only person this is happening to! I’ll believe the annual summer bat inundation isn’t a part of normal life when butter is fat free and Smucky’s Electric gets back to me with that wiring estimate they promised just prior to the Mammoth die off.
One of my sisters in particular gets a kick out of telling people I am a witch attracting bats to my home like anorexics migrating to the Cannes Film Festival. She does it to be ornery – a competitive sport in my family. Of course, I could get even by pointing out right here in my very public essay that she is my OLDER sister by a DECADE. However, I am too peaceable and well centered for such adolescent behavior. Besides, you are here to learn another fine country skill – the Bat Ejection Technique (BET).
Lesson 1 – Why BET
Rural dwellers should all master BETs. Realtors will never admit to the Coloptera inundation plaguing the West. Property values would tumble! Amidst all this denial, a seamy cover-up has formed. Copies of Bat Removal for Dummies are burned at country BBQs and members of the Society of the Dead Elk deliver bat traps to farms under cover of darkness.
As my town’s resident City Idiot, I chose to break ranks. If Cidiots are not taught to deal properly with winged rodentia, both will suffer. Bats will be ‘baseballed’ into walls with brooms. If not, Cidiot homes will overflow with wiggling blankets of screeching critters. Folks will be driven back to the burbs in droves. Quite selfishly - I need newbies to stay in the country. Please don’t leave me alone out here! Take notes.
Lesson 2 - History of the BET
For whatever reasons bats enter homes in pairs. My hypothesis is; one holds the dog door open while the other flies through and vise versa. Attempts to document this behavior have been hampered by the presence of innumerable dogs kissing my eyes shut when I stake out the laundry room floor. Nonetheless, like bats to Noah’s ark, they arrive by twos.
Throughout history Novice Bat Ejectors dispelled unwanted intruders with the pacifistic Zero Interference Technique (ZIT). For a true ZIT open all windows and doors and cower on the floor waiting for the bats to fly back out. I researched the effectiveness of this method at my first country home. There are three problems with this technique:
Bats never leave as easily as they enter. A person could learn Arabic before the ZIT clears matters up.
Heat leaves houses quite quickly resulting in cold ZITs.
Bats tend to turn up in the middle of the night. Sleep deprivation is a direct side effect of ZITs.
Lesson 3 – Modernization
Athletic newbies frequently combine the open window/door approach of a ZIT with a more proactive approach. They jump around with a blanket in an attempt to herd bats outside. This is the Comforter Herding Ejection Technique (CHET). A good CHET take two people. Even then CHETs are hard.
Bats do not know they shouldn’t fly around the blanket.
The technique is rendered totally ineffective when your husband, who is suppose to hold the opposite side of the blanket, does a “stop, drop and roll” every time he spots a bat from thirty yards away.
At night neighbors can see you, but not the bat. So there you are running amuck in your PJs. The doors and windows are wide open as you spiraling over furniture with your flag-like fabric in tow. Meanwhile your underwear-clad man is having what is apparently some version of repeating epileptic seizures. And you, you cold-hearted bitch, you just keep on dancing.
Lesson 4 – BET Evolution
Bat invasion number three of year number two was a turning point for me. For some bizarre reason I was washing the morning dishes. We must have been out of coffee. Obviously I was not quick-witted enough to get out of dish duty. Suddenly, I heard the high-pitched chatter of a bat straight over my head.
The space over my cabinets is where all my gigantic jelly-making kettles are poised. Grabbing the step stool, I hovered near and listened. Something was in my stoneware – dark, like a cave, the crafty little bugger. Please, don’t let it get airborne. I have to go to town this morning, I thought. There was no time for the traditional CHET dance.
My cerebral light bulb clicked on. Hey, It’s easier to catch bats when they aren’t moving. A Nobel Prize for would be mine. Apparently washing dishes has some net value after all. I slid a plate over the stoneware rim and took my captive out side.
Plate removed, an upside-down shake and plop. The bat was on the ground. I watched for a moment making sure my son’s devil cat did not turn up. Finally, the bat orientated itself and flew off with chatter. Dam, I’m good, I mused. Then I turned and took two steps towards the door. Gasp! Leap! Curse!
Something bad hit my bare foot. Reflexes took over. I went for a field goal. Another bat had been in the jar. Curse! Hebbie Jebies! Will I never learn? Twos, always twos! Scratches, tiny claws on my foot - it was all to early. First dishes, then this.
The traumatized bat landed several feet away. It took a good five minutes before the winged menace recovered enough to fly off. Headed for town, I left a note for my son. “Finish the dishes.”
Lesson 5 – BET Mastery
I learned two things that morning. First, generic dish soap sucks. Second, a motionless bat is the best bat to catch. Chasing them in flight is a fool’s game. In retrospect Samuel, my Great Pyrenees, had attempted to point this out earlier that spring.
Hearing one of the midnight riots, I ordered all my dogs out. There was no need to look for the cause. I knew by then what the combination of barking and a synchronized chase meant at 1 a.m. Ho hum, more bats in the house. The other dogs complied. Sam however stood there looking sleepy, stubborn, sad and guilty.
Anyone who owns a Pyrenees knows this is their natural state. Just as I demanded, “Samuel, go!” I spotted the diminutive little wing sticking out from under his massive front paw. Here Mom, a motionless bat is the best bat to catch. He is a genius!
Grab a teacup or the aquarium net and a saucer
Wait for a landing
Cup/net over the Bat
Saucer or magazine carefully slid under
Out the door it goes
Hee Haw! With practice you’ll be back in bed before the underwear-clad epileptic knows your gone. You can BET on it.