At the Cabin – Evicting the Bats in the Belfry

I have talked about Pesky Critters that have wandered in and out of our lives, but I don’t think I told you about Bats. A few years ago, we decided to buy a cabin. We thought we had done due diligence in our selection, but before we signed the papers, we asked about the two vermin that would make or break the deal: mice and flies. The owners assured us that they had never found a single mouse in the cabin. As for flies, they looked at us rather oddly, and said, “Well, if you keep the screen door closed, then the flies don’t come in…”  Clearly this cabin was tighter than our house, so we signed on the dotted line. We should have asked about Bats.

Here is a picture of the back of the cabin. At the peak of the roof, where the two fascia boards meet, is a hole that helps to ventilate the roof. The hole is just the right size for a bat. We had bought a cabin that served as a home for most of the bats in the neighbourhood!

The previous owners clearly knew something was living above the ceiling. In the full heat of the day there was an unpleasant smell that wafted down from the vaulted ceiling, which was why they had fragrant candles, plug in wall scents, and incense all over the place.

This picture (above) is the master bedroom. The bed was carefully aligned such that it didn’t sit under the centre ridge board. There was a good reason for that. Every now and then, the bat poo would spill over the edges of that board and drop onto the floor, nicely missing the end of the bed.

Clearly we needed to do more than a clean-up on Aisle Three. The first task was Eviction. That involved two men, two lawn chairs, a bottle of scotch, a ladder, some screening and a stapler. The two men sat outside one evening in their lawn chairs, drinking scotch. At dusk, once all the bats had exited the roof, one man climbed up on the ladder and stapled screening over the hole to the bat house. The other man held the ladder and passed up the tools. One man could have done the job alone, but when scotch is involved, a two man approach is actually safer.

With the bats evicted, the next task was inside the cabin. The men took down the center ridge board, caulked everything that could be caulked, and reinstalled the board. Satisfied that the bats were gone, and the poo was gone, we waited for the next warm day to see if the smell was gone. Nope. The roof is tongue and groove paneling with oodles of cracks and knot holes for the bat smell to escape through.  My task was to caulk all the holes, a chore I have spent two summers working on.

We went to the cabin yesterday, and opened it up for the season. It had been closed for 6 months and there wasn’t a single dead mouse in the traps and only a few dead flies on the floor. There was still the faint smell of bat wafting from the ceiling during the heat of the day. The cabin trim needs painting and some rotted deck boards need replacing.

So The Car Guy and I did the only logical thing we could think of. We walked down to the river and watched the geese and pelicans for a while. Then we went for a nice lunch, then took a nap. Then we sat in the sun for a while before packing up to come home. Manana – Cabin Time!

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