Bat roosts: use of chemical pest control products and timber treatments in or near them

Find out what you need to know before you use chemicals in a location with a known bat roost and which are suitable.

All bat species, their breeding sites and resting places are fully protected by law.

You may however need to use a chemical product in or near a bat roost as:

  • an insecticide to control pests
  • a timber treatment to protect against insects, fungal growth or weathering

You can’t use chemical products in or near a known bat roost if there are bats present. Before you start you’ll need to carry out a thorough search for any signs of bats such as fresh bat droppings. The best time to apply treatments is usually between autumn and spring.

Contact the bat advice helpline before using timber treatments and insecticide products at bat roost sites.

The tables linked below list the chemical substances that Natural England is aware are currently approved for use under the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR) or the EU Biocides Regulation 528/2012 (EU BPR). Other products are available and the Health and Safety Executive website has searchable pesticides databases, but not all of these are safe to use near bat roosts.

Using insecticides

When controlling pests using insecticides you should:

  • check the insecticides table (PDF, 99.6KB, 3 pages) to see which products are currently approved for the control of:
    • cluster fly
    • wasp
    • bee
    • hornet
  • use the listed product as directed on the packaging
  • only use products listed as ‘professional-use’ if you’re experienced to do so
  • take care when treating feral bees to make sure other working bees are not harmed

Treating timber to protect against insects, fungal growth or weathering

Treating timber on site in or near a bat roost may be needed to control:

  • common furniture beetle (woodworm)
  • deathwatch beetle
  • longhorn beetle
  • dry rot
  • wet rot

Check timber treatment table 1 (PDF, 91.1KB, 8 pages) to see which products are suitable for use in or near bat roosts.

If your product isn’t listed, check the active ingredients listed in timber treatment tables 2 to 7 (PDF, 376KB, 8 pages) . You can use the product around bat roosts if it contains only 1 active ingredient as long as you use the product as directed on the packaging.

If the product doesn’t appear in table 1 and has 2 or more active ingredients you should contact the manufacturer before using it. See the product label for more information.

Pre-treated timber products

Pre-treated timber products are not included in the tables above.

You can use timber that’s been pre-treated off-site, because the chemicals are injected deep into the timber leaving lower concentrations on the surface which isn’t harmful to bats.

However you shouldn’t apply products used to pre-treat timber on-site, because the active ingredients will be more concentrated on the timber surface and may be harmful to bats.

Stains and preservatives

Decorative wood finishes, like stains or wood preservative, can be used around bat roosts as long as you only use them on external timber.

Published 25 February 2013