As you probably know by now, bats are not a creature you want making a home out of your house. If you’re looking for ways to keep bats at bay, then you might be searching for some scents that can be used to deter these winged pests.
Bats have a keen sense of smell that they use to find food sources and locate their young in a crowd. You can take advantage of this trait and repel bats by using scents they hate such as peppermint, spearmint, menthol, rosemary, thyme, eucalyptus, cloves, and cedarwood.
Before we dive deeper into these scents that keep bats at bay, let’s discuss why you actually need to keep them away at all. So, let’s get into it!
Why Do You Need To Deter Bats?
Bats are pretty good to have around for the most part. They keep to themselves, only come out around dusk and dawn, and keep the bug population down.
They might be a bit unnerving to be around because they swoop down to catch bugs, which may be interpreted as them swooping down to get at you!
This is not the case. Bats are not aggressive and will not attack you on purpose unless they feel cornered. In fact, the biggest downside to bats is the unsanitary conditions they can create when snuggling up close to your house.
Bats like to squeeze into small, dark spaces. Think under closed porch umbrellas, in the spaces where your walls meet the roof, and underneath flashing material on your rooftop.
The droppings and urine of bats can be unsanitary, cause off-putting smells, and can stain your walls or indoor spaces.
Deter Bats Using These 8 Recommended Scents
So, what smells will keep bats away?
That’s a great question, and there is more than just one answer.
Here are a few scents that you can use to help you deter bats from your space. Of course, these methods aren’t totally foolproof. The best, most reliable way to keep bats away is to find their hiding spot and bring in a trained professional near you.
Bats Hate Peppermint/Mint Oil
To begin today, we are recommending any and all mint-scented products.
Like many other pests, bats hate the smell of mint, peppermint specifically. By using peppermint, spearmint, or other mint-based oils you can be sure to avoid harming the bats while also effectively keeping them at bay.
It may be practical but scents do not last forever. You’ll need to apply this frequently to keep our flying friends away from your house.
Try mixing peppermint oil with water to create a semi-diluted but more easily applicable mist that will cover more surface area and can be applied more often. Keep in mind that peppermint oil is pretty expensive, as you may want to factor this into your budget. It’s a great solution but not the cheapest thing out there.
That being said, we have a good way to combat this cost while reaping the benefits of peppermint oil all the same.
We recommend looking into buying concentrated peppermint oil, which is going to be ready-made and will last way longer than if you were to purchase a tiny (yet mighty) essential oil bottle.
Looking for something like this to start out? Check out this 16oz Insect and Pest Control Peppermint Oil from MDXconcepts. Not only is this a natural, non-toxic product, but it is also fast-acting and long-lasting. Complete with a money-back guarantee, we think that you’ll find this product useful, affordable, and reliable.
Bats strongly dislike the scent of mint, so this is a great first effort to keep them out of your space.
For most effective results, you will want to spray this anywhere that bats tend to hang out. Entryways and spaces near windows with screens or chimneys are musts when it comes to spraying your peppermint solution.
Say, for example, you’re trying to enjoy a nice bonfire in the fall (or any time of the year, but this is for those who may be thinking of Halloween thanks to all the talk of bats) and you don’t want to ward off any bats from the trees above you. An easy solution would be to spray your chairs and surrounding area with some mint spray to deter them from coming your way.
Menthol Deters Bats
One of the reasons bats are so strongly deterred by mint may have something to do with the menthol that it contains. This component is very prevalent in mint-based products like peppermint oil, and is the main cause of the scent associated with ‘mint.’
The best product to use with this method is going to be Vicks Vapor Rub which you’ve most likely heard of at some point.
In the same way that applying a straight essential oil to your surrounding area can get expensive, spreading this ointment can take time and use up cash if you are doing this quite consistently.
If this is an ongoing issue or just one you want to be prepared for, look into this Vicks Advanced Soothing Vapors Waterless Vaporizer which is going to help spread the scent of menthol.
Not only will this deter bats due to their sheer annoyance at the scent, but you’ll get all the benefits of Vick’s as well!
Alright, let’s talk about the other herbs and spices now! (Yes, we talked about mint but that’s its own category.)
Cloves Keep Bats Away
This aromatic spice has quite a strong scent- perfect for annoying bats without harming them.
Use it as an essential oil or as whole or ground spices in jars.
Say, for example, you’re making some Dutch poached pears to go with the chilly fall atmosphere. You’ll require cloves for that recipe, so sprinkle some around the bat hot spots so that you can enjoy your pears in peace!
This is a great time to use some ground cloves like this Frontier Natural Products Ground Clove. Use it near windows, cracks, electrical or plumbing that leads outside, and any other areas where bats may be getting in from.
If cooking with this isn’t quite your thing- grab an essential oil instead. You’ll get a nice smell and some peace in knowing that bats aren’t into this scent (like, at all!) This Sun Essential Oils Clove Oil is nice because the 4-ounce bottle is larger than most other essential oils you’ll find, and it comes at a price that won’t break your budget.
When using essential oils, always make sure to dilute the mixture before making it into a spray. You only need about 10-15 drops of essential oil per 1 cup of water.
Bats Hate Rosemary
This is a good one because it may already be in your garden and helping to keep bats away from your backyard!
Bats generally hate the scent of rosemary as it doesn’t indicate a food source and the scent of rosemary is often overwhelming and throws off their senses. Regardless, it does not hurt to sprinkle some around the exterior of your home, entryways, and any place you’re concerned about bats getting too comfortable near.
Ideally, you’ll want to use rosemary essential oil, however you can also use Anthony’s Organic Dried Rosemary Leaves in areas where you desperately want to keep bats away from.
Thyme Repels Bats
Like rosemary, thyme is another popular backyard-grown item. If this is not something that you already have in your yard or on your spice rack, it should be! Not only is it great in, well… actual food, but it is also a strong scent that will bug bats.
Similar to rosemary, the strong scent of thyme interferes with a bats senses and doesn’t attract them as thyme does not indicate a food source.
An option like this HQOExpress Organic Thyme Leaf is great because not only do you have organic thyme to add to yummy fall dishes but you’ll also have plenty to spare when it comes to keeping bats far away.
Better yet however, you’ll may want to look into a thyme essential oil, which when properly diluted, will be significantly stronger scented than thyme leafs themselves.
Deter Bats Using Cinnamon
To avoid a mess, you can always throw some cinnamon sticks around the perimeter of your area and near entryways for a quick, hassle-free bat deterrent.
Cinnamon sticks can even be placed in a jar to make it seem like you are just all about the fun fall home decor. Your house will look great and all the while, you’ll be getting constant help deterring bats. The strong scent of cinnamon irritates a bats senses and causes them to stay away.
These GOURMAZIA True Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks look great, smell even better, and deter bats at every corner. Thanks to their sourcing and re-sealable packaging, you’re sure to have cinnamon sticks that will last longer and smell stronger overall.
Of course, you’ll also find this as an essential oil or, if you’re hoping to make lots of fall drinks and goodies (or spice up your dishes during any time of year), ground cinnamon like this bulk McCormick Ground Cinnamon is a fantastic go-to option.
What’s better than a cinnamon-y coffee drink or pastry with a side of ‘no bats around the house’?
Can’t think of anything? Us either.
Cedarwood Keeps Bats Away
This is another essential oil that can be turned into a mist, or just used sparingly. The strong scent of this one is enough to turn a bat right around and away from your home, yard, or any other space.
The great thing about this scent is that it is a commonly used option for keeping closets and drawers smelling fresh and looking nice.
Products like the Cedar Space Cedar Blocks are meant for everything from elevating storage spaces to providing a fresh cedar fragrance that is both light to humans and repulsive to unwanted critters of all types.
More products like cedar balls, and the parts to build entire cedar wardrobes or furniture sets are available.
If that all seems like too much, grab a Gya Labs Cedarwood Essential Oil, mix it with some water, and spray away.
Bats Hate Eucalyptus
You may know of eucalyptus as a scent that is used in baths or showers due to its relaxing properties.
This is a great scent for keeping calm due to the stressors of life that you cannot control. It also works wonders when it is used to deter bats- something that you can control.
Use a mist like this Gya Labs Eucalyptus Spray next time you want to keep a bat out of your space. Or, when your skin is dry. Or, perhaps, when your sinuses are acting up. Oh, also, when your hair is feeling dry. Might we also suggest spraying this just for the overall ambiance of a calm and relaxing house?
Basically, this product is great!
One of the best parts of these scents is that they can almost all be used for things in daily life other than just keeping bats in their own space.
If you run out of these scents, get sick of them (we hope not!), or just want to make a long-term change, this next part is for you.
Long-Term Solution: Keeping Bats Away By Changing Your Space
Those scents may be powerful, but there is so much variability in working with odor-based solutions. Depending on the strength and longevity of a scent, how adjusted to a certain scent a bat may be, and other factors, scents as bat repellent will never be 100% effective.
Even if a scent is strong and effective to begin with, it will fade eventually. Therefore, consistent application of the scent is a necessary means to an end when trying to prevent bats from taking over your space.
This is one of the reasons that we recommend not relying on scents as a standalone method of a deterrent. A backup plan will always come in handy.
Ultimately, the best, most surefire way to deter bats (and any other pests) in your space is through modifying your area.
There is something that is attracting bats to your property, and when you fix it, they’ll likely go away on their own. Whether this is your outdoor property or indoor living space, making some necessary changes will pay off.
What are you waiting for? Check out the next sections to learn about some practical, safe, and effective ways to keep bats out of your house in the long run.
Now, if you’ve already got some bats in your house, check out our list of the most common ways that bats enter your house.
Cover Your Garbage Bins
While this procedure may seem obvious, you’d be surprised by how many animal or insect problems arise due to exposed garbage.
Not only does this attract bugs which could eventually draw bats to the area, but open garbage can also attract more dangerous animals like coyotes.
To ensure that the rest of your efforts are not for nothing, make sure that you always cover your waste in some way.
If it wasn’t clear before, you should clean up your messes and avoid leaving things out that will attract any sort of pests, but especially bats.
Cover your garbage bin tightly and, if you do not have an adequate lid that snaps into place, think about looking into a product like this Strong Strap- Universal Garbage Can Lid Lock Utility Strap.
The price you’ll pay for having bats too close for comfort is less than the cost of this strap, which offers security and keeps some of that ‘trash smell’ contained, as well.
Patch Up Holes In Your Home
Patching up any holes in your home, around the foundation of your basement, and in screens on your doors and windows is one of the best ways to easily modify your area to prevent bats.
The great thing is that this effort is not just good for deterring bats, but it also helps keep out bugs and other creepy critters that have never heard of personal space.
So, seal those cracks, patch those holes, and you’ll be good to go!
Additionally, you’ll want to keep your entry points in mind. For example, we think about patching a little crack but might overlook the fact that a chimney can be a direct access point for all sorts of animals when not properly blocked off.
Secure The Entry Points To Your Home
Apart from taking advantage of holes, cracks, and window screens you didn’t even realize were getting worn out, bats might enter chimneys or doors that get left open for a bit too long.
Because it is not only bats that like to wander where they do not belong, this tip will also help you to keep out other birds, bugs, raccoons, or any extra critters that may try to invade your space.
Make sure that you either have a fire going in your chimney, or it is sealed off. It’s no fun having a bat surprise you in the middle of the night, so you’ll want to avoid this altogether. Otherwise, well… talk about fight or flight.
Speaking of entry points, while you make sure that the front door screen is secure you might want to go ahead and turn off the porch light.
Why? Well, keep reading.
Avoid Leaving The Porch Light On
Okay, so think about bugs here. Bats may be a bit larger and more intelligent than some insects, but they do some of the same things.
Part of the reason for this is that they are drawn to those same insects which are drawn to the light.
Bats may be subconsciously drawn to light, as well. Mainly, however, they are just searching for a snack which happens to come in the form of insects attracted to porch lights, house lights, and firelight.
Don’t believe us, the University of Nebraska- Lincoln Extension can confirm that bats who enter homes are typically seeking shelter or drawn to bugs that are attracted by the doorway lights.
In cases where there is a bat in your indoor space that needs to be removed, a light can be left on outdoors while the indoor lights are turned off. This is meant to draw the bat out, without you having too much close contact in the process of getting it back outside where it belongs.
Next Time You See One, You Won’t Bat An Eyelash!
Well, that’s basically a wrap. Like a mummy’s clothes, even though we said this is not a Halloween article. What, we can’t help it!
Jokes aside, remember that bats do not intentionally cause chaos. If one does get into your space, stay calm and wait for it to let itself out by turning off the lights inside and leaving outdoor lights on. If this does not work, call a local professional for help.
It might be frustrating to have bats so close to home, but making use of the following scents, followed by some modification of your space, is going to be the best bet:
- Mint Scents (Peppermint, Spearmint)
- Menthol (AKA Mint)
Thank you for reading!
I hope this article helps you in your journey of keeping these flying creatures away.
Gilmour, L. R. (2020). Evaluating methods to deter bats (Doctoral dissertation, University of Bristol).
Greenhall, A. M. (1982). House Bat Management [Resource Publication]. In Federal Government Series (143rd ed.). USGS. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/rp143
Gustin, M. K., & McCracken, G. F. (1987). Scent recognition between females and pups in the bat Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana. Animal Behaviour, 35(1), 13-19.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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