Is Bat Extermination Legal in Virginia?

Is Bat Extermination Legal in Virginia?

The history of English settlers in the Commonwealth of Virginia dates back all the way to the beginning of the United States of America. Portions of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement, still stand as a testament to the perseverance of those early colonists and pilgrims. People eventually followed the James River up from the coast to form places like Richmond and beyond. 

Eventually, the rolling hills of the piedmont, the high plateaus and peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the striking Shenandoah Valley captivated people, drawing them west. Despite being the twelfth most populated state in the country, there are wild and beautiful parts of Virginia perfect for those who love nature and the great outdoors. 

In every county, town, and neighborhood, you will find friendly, welcoming homeowners. You can see hospitality on display on the front porches and back patios every night of the spring, summer, and fall. Although Virginia residents love to welcome people to their homes, sometimes, we may inadvertently invite some unwanted guests to visit or even live with us. 


Some of the unwanted guests include:

  • Opossums 
  • Raccoons 
  • Squirrels 
  • Mice and Rats
  • Snakes 
  • Bats

In our part of North America, you can count on mammals hanging around your property. Some of them may seem cute and cuddly, while others strike fear right into our hearts. 

One of the animals Virginia residents are often trying to evict from their homes is bats. People often ask us if it is legal to have bats exterminated here in the Commonwealth. 

In this article, we are answering that question and how you can deal with unwanted bats here in Virginia. 

What Are Bats?

Bats are mammals that belong to the Chiroptera order. Because their forelimbs have developed into wings, they are the only animals capable of true, sustained flight. Bats may be found almost wherever on the planet, with the exception of the polar areas and some deserts. 

Bats come in 1,400 different species, with 17 of them being common in our area. Bats are nocturnal creatures that sleep during the day and feed at night. They eat some of our least favorite insects, like mosquitos, providing a valuable service when they choose to spend time on your property. 

While they mainly seem scary because of their association with vampires and Halloween, they are mostly harmless to humans. They will only bite a human in self-defense, and only a small percentage carry rabies. 

The problem is when they choose to make your home their home. 

How to Know When Your Home Has Bats

Bats are nocturnal and relatively quiet, yet they leave clues about their presence in your home: 

  • It's possible that you'll hear them clawing or squeaking. 
  • You might be able to smell their guano or urine, which will have an ammonia-like odor. 
  • Urine stains may be seen on your ceiling. 
  • It's possible that you'll find droppings on your attic floor or insulation. 
  • Bats may be seen flying near your roof vents and eaves.

Even if bats eat every mosquito in your house, you still don’t want them living in your attic. However, before you start trying to get rid of them, you need to know the law. 

What You Need to Know About Removing Bats in Virginia

There are seventeen species of bats found in Virginia. Three are considered federally threatened, three are considered endangered by the state, and the others are protected by state guidelines. Per the Department of Wildlife Resources:

“In Virginia, it is illegal to: transport, release, or relocate a bat anywhere other than the property it was caught on (4VAC15-30-50), and poison any animal (including bat) other than rats and mice on your property (4VAC15-40-50).”

You cannot simply set a trap or attempt to exterminate bats in Virginia. Homeowners need the help of licensed professionals to humanely and safely remove bats from their attic. Rid-A-Bug can help. We have decades of experience relocating bats from homes in the Carolinas and Virginia. In a previous article, we wrote about some other steps you can take:

“[A] professional extermination company can exterminate mosquitoes and other food sources from your yard and home. Mothballs in the attic will at least temporarily deter them from hanging out, but they will return if you don’t make some key changes. When the bats are gone, you can seal your attic more thoroughly to prevent their return.”

If you are ready to send the bats packing and exterminate the pests that attracted them to your property in the first place, contact the team at Rid-A-Bug. We have the experience and expertise you need to safely remove your bat problem within the laws of the state of Virginia. Contact us for more information today