Bats have been the subject of folklore for centuries, usually portrayed in a negative vein. In modern times, this image has been compounded by the fact that bats, while vital to our ecosystem, are highly susceptible to rabies and other diseases. In this article you will learn about bats, bat infestation, bat facts, possible health risks and the best pest control options.
Bats have an unfortunate reputation that they don’t deserve. They’re associated with vampires, scary Halloween takes and dark caves; but more recently bat facts are being demonized for their role in COVID-19 as well as historic blame placed on them by some cultures when infact there were no known cases of rabies until humans started catching it from infected animals decades ago due to superstition about how these furry creatures might carry the disease.
Bats are good. They feed on insects like mosquitoes and other bugs that bite humans, making them harmless to the majority of people in most cases with one exception: vampire bats live in South America where they drink blood from animals instead!
Bats have been around for hundreds if not thousands upon thousands. Their life span can stretch up into 3 years or more depending on what breed it is but regardless these furry creatures deserve some love as many species rely heavily upon their donations to help sustain themselves.
Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They typically rest during daylight hours and take off to feed at night, when they emit ultrasonic waves from their mouths as sound waves bounce around inside a cave or building in order for bats to visualize their surroundings with echolocation.
The size of a bat depends on the species. Larger ones have wingspans that can reach up to 2 feet for some, such as Greater Molars in North America and Australia’s larger fruit bats! Smaller Bats like Little brown or common Blood- debtor bats typically only grow about an inch long with bodies around 1/2″ wide at maximum but there are exceptions; Mexican mastiff has expansive margins when compared against his moreWhereas discos’ largest akin is greater than 3 inches across.
A female bat will have one pup per year. In North America, they breed near the end of summer and early autumn when maternal instincts are at their peak for reproduction due to increased blood flow that allows them to produce more milk than usual with higher fat content needed by babies’ growing bodies during this time period in order sustain themselves while also giving birth before winter gets too cold or rainy season ends; these furry little creatures can live up until thirty years old!
Bats are amazing animals. They can be found all around the world, and they play an important role in nature by eating pest insects like mosquitoes or termites which carry diseases that could harm humans! Unfortunately many bat species either migrate during winter months when food is scarce (primarily due to colder climate) ,or hibernate until warmer seasons come back up again – but not every single one does this though; some bats live outside of these patterns because their native habitats have more variation as far as temperature goes . This means you might see a leftover colony living somewhere near cities year-round while others may stay put at its home cave/roost territory only coming out if needed for necessities.
As cities continue to destroy their natural habitats, they are becoming more and more of a household pest. How do you deal with a bat infestation safely? And what methods can you employ to keep them from invading your home? And how do you deal with pest control?
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Identifying an Infestation In Your Home
Bats are animals that live in our homes, and they often find a safe place close by. They’re hibernating during winter months when temperatures need to be below 68 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s important for them not only make sure there is enough food but also protection from predators such as cats or dogs who may want their dinner (or fur!). One way this can happen? Bat houses!
There are many ways to discern whether you have an infestation of bats in your home beyond actually encountering one. Here are some key signs to look for:
- Noises around dusk and dawn – These noises may include squeaking, scratching, and crawling sounds coming from your attic or walls. As brown bats are nocturnal, the timing of these noises can be a good indicator that your visitor might not be a bird or squirrel.
- Guano – Guano, brown bat droppings, also known as bat poop, resemble rodent droppings, but contain shiny flecks from insect wings. Unlike other droppings, brown bat droppings, break down easily and will usually accumulate in piles below the exit of a brown bat’s roost.
- Stains and Strong Odor – Milky white streaks on a window pane are an indicator of brown bat urine. Strong odors or staining from urine and guano also point to an infestation. Finally, dirt and grease often accumulate from the bat’s coat around entry holes in the walls or ceiling.
Getting Rid of Bats Safely From Your Living Spaces
Once you’ve identified a bat issue, it is important to deal with the situation promptly. It is dangerous to come in direct contact with a bat, and different portions of your home require different approaches to dealing with them. There are three key infestation points, as well as the risk that one is loose in your home. Please note that removal of colonies cannot be done during summer months due to the high temperatures. Best to begin pest control or call a professional wildlife control company so you can remove the bats safely.
Bats Loose in the Home
Sometimes, flying bats will enter through an open window or door as unwanted guests. In these instances, leaving the door or window open will not necessarily work to get rid of bats, as the flying bats may become confused or seek to remain in the relative warmth of your home. Make sure that it has not come into contact with people or pets before proceeding to capture it. Under no circumstances should you injure the bat as this may create a dangerous health risk.
Capturing lone flying bats takes a little patience. The simplest method is to use an empty coffee can and a piece of cardboard to get rid of the bat. Wear some heavy gloves to avoid injury or exposure to any disease and give the bat time to land and become relaxed.
Approach the bat slowly with the coffee can tilted so that it cannot easily avoid the rim by taking flight. Once it is covered by the can, slide the cardboard between the can and surface to trap it inside. If there has been exposure, then you should carefully replace the cardboard with a more permanent lid until the health department can retrieve it.
In the event there was no exposure, you may take the bat outside to a tree and reverse the capture process, giving it time to patch onto the bark before slowly removing the can. This will free your unwanted guests.
Bats in the Attic
The attic poses an especially attractive place for female bats, who not only seek warmth but a place to raise their young and make a bats nests. Removal of attic-dwelling bats is more complicated than simply removing a single intruder. Hiring an expert is the best solution to get rid of bats and bats nests, although you can take steps towards removal yourself.
The first step is to locate the any points where bats enter and seal cracks. These are openings as small as half an inch and there are likely to be many of them. Carefully seal cracks and seal up the smaller openings, but leave the primary point of entry alone for now.
Once these points of where bats enter are closed, you should install exclusion devices at the primary entry points. An example would be something like a Batcone Excluder. These DIY bat removal devices allow bats to pass through in only one direction as a one way exclusion so they cannot come back in. Once you are sure all of the bats are gone, you can then seal the primary the necessary points and clean up any guano or urine deposits.
Bats in the Chimney
While they are not likely to cause damage, colonies of female bats in your chimney still pose a risk to your health due to their guano. In addition, you cannot use an infested fireplace or the bats will escape into the room, placing your family at risk of exposure.
Again, exclusion is the only effective means to remove the bats. If your climate is cool enough, the bats will eventually migrate, allowing you to seal any cracks in your chimney and place a mesh barrier over the main opening.
If you do not wish to wait or live in a warmer climate or it is within summer months, then you will need to use an exclusion device for most North American bats. Close your damper and wait to be sure all of the bats are out of the chimney before sealing the cracks and applying a barrier.
Bats in the Walls
Wall infestations are the most difficult scenario to deal with. You will need to carefully examine and perform a full inspection of all exterior walls in order to find where they are entering from. Remember that a bat is able to fit through a hole as small as your thumbnail. After sealing all secondary points and using exclusion devices, it can become a waiting game to ensure there are no babies or stragglers.
It is best to hire a professional to handle a wall infestation and get rid of bats. You may also wish to invest in some foam insulation afterwards to help prevent future infestations. The waste products from bats are also more likely to cause damage or health issues when trapped behind walls, so be sure to address this issue.
Hiring a Professional
Unlike insect or rodent infestations, bats are a complicated process. There are no repellents or poisons, and many species of bat are endangered or protected. Hiring a professional for pest control is perhaps the best method to get rid of bats.
What to Expect When You Hire a Professional
A pest control professional specifically a bat removal expert is specially trained to eliminate bat infestations. They will come and inspect your home for entry points and identify the species of bat. This is important, as different types of bat must be dealt with using slightly different methods in order to be effective.
Professionals will never suggest harming or exterminating bats. This is because bats are a vital part of the ecosystem and are protected in many countries and states across the US. Instead, they will use exclusion as a humane way to remove the animals.
Additionally, professionals will be able to provide you with advice on how to prevent further infestations. They will not try to sell you ineffective devices such as repellent or traps. Finally, they will explain any health hazards or damage left behind by the bat colony.
How Much Does it Cost?
As with any form of service, prices will vary from one removal expert to another. The species of bat and severity of the infestation will also affect the price. Cost Helper gives the following average estimates for removing bats:
- Single bats: $90 to $300
- Small colonies of up to 50 bats:$300 to $1,500
- Large colonies of more than 50: $1,500 to $8,000
Conversely, How Much is It gives smaller estimates, with small colonies ranging from $250 to $550. Colonies of 100 to 250 bats cost $550 to $1200, while massive colonies will run up to $3,000.
Both sets of estimates do not account for any additional costs, such as repairs, cleaning up bat waste, and preventative measures. Older or larger buildings will typically cost more for removal than newer or smaller buildings due to the number of potential entry points.
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Bats eat insects especially mosquitoes and perform a vital role in the environment. Their high metabolism means that the average bat will consume large numbers of insects every night. Among these food insects are mosquitoes and other harmful species. For this reason, bat guano is also considered a valuable agricultural resource due to its high nutrient content.
In many parts of the world, bats are considered a protected species and harming them is illegal. In addition, harming a bat creates the risk of exposure to rabies. Bat exclusion is thus considered the only safe and effective method for removal. There is no known alternative to exclusion with a notable success rate.
Exclusion is also not the only approach that some people take to remove bats. Other strategies and home remedies that some people attempt include:
Mirror Or Aluminum Foil: A mirror or piece of foil catches the light and blows in a wind, making it unpleasant for bats. You can also shine your flashlight on them during daytime to make sleeping there more difficult–this is one of the ways that naturalist use less invasive techniques when trying to control bats in or near a home.
Essential Oil Mixtures: Mint, eucalyptus and cinnamon are all proclaimed as ways to repel bats with their strong smell. You can mix 2 cups of warm water together in a bowl for 25 minutes before adding two drops each peppermint essential oil or cloves extract – enough so it’s damp but not soaking wet; then place this mixture near your home’s entryways where the flying mammals may frequent (or anywhere else they might roost). Using a spray bottle- add just enough spray onto fabric protectors around doors/windowsills.
The Ultrasonic Repellent Device: is a commercial product that makes sound waves to keep wildlife away. This includes bats, which are attracted by the frequency of these devices and will not enter into an area protected using one because they think there’s food or something else valuable inside that contains this type of noise-making machinery. It’s important you know how Ultrasounds work so we can get rid if pesky animals like raccoons! It seems simple enough – just emit some sounds over time but what does it take for them really do their job?
Lighting Installation: A flashing light in your fireplace or attic can be used to make bats abandon their nests. A few hours of exposure is enough for them, so long as other bat control methods like netting and trapping are also employed when the light turns off again at nightfall later on down the road – preventing a colony from returning once more!
Glue Traps: this option which will capture and kill the animal when it flies too close. However this technique should be avoided because not only do the glue traps put any animal at risk including pets if they brush against them in an attic or on your property but also dead animals may spread disease among humans as well!
Building or Purchasing A Bat House: is an environmentally friendly way to help the bats in your area. It provides them with shelter and helps keep some away too! Build yourself or purchase one from online plans, depending on what you’re looking for. You’ll want the bat house to be mounted high up so they have room underneath but not enough that another animal will swipe it first if there’s already space available below ground level (this just means making sure both sides of any wall facing outward can support extra weight). Bats need climbing ability because otherwise how could these flying mammals get into their homes?
Raising The Temperature Of A Space: can make it inhospitable for bats. Bats like an average room around 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, so by installing heaters in areas where these animals live and breed you may be able to raise their ideal range up into 100 degree territory or higher with little risk! Make sure that any devices used will not damage anything valuable on your property as well as being careful when placing them near flammable materials which could cause fires from overheating electrical wiring close by if something goes wrong during installation.
Natural Repellents: are available online and at hardware stores. These can be applied with the manufacturer’s instructions to keep bats away or encourage resident bats into leaving you alone, but many of them contain natural ingredients that could still make your pets sick if they eat it! Be careful when using toxic sprays and use the scented sticks around animals who might come in contact with them so as they do not ingest them and cause any harm. Bats often have big ears because their eardrums are larger than those found on humans; this helps absorb sound waves during flight which reduces noise levels significantly for these flying mammals.
There is little scientific evidence to support the use of some of these methods, which are best used in combination with additional removal and preventative measures. Like other natural techniques, that do not all rely on exclusion, they can be an ineffective long-term solution.
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Potential Health Risks
There are three major dangers which accompany a bat infestation. While there is no guarantee that you or your family will be exposed to these risks, the sooner an infestation is dealt with, the smaller the risk.
Rabies is the foremost concern when dealing with bats. This deadly disease affects the brain and is fatal once symptoms appear. Humans who are exposed to rabies must undergo a series of expensive, painful inoculations soon after coming into contact with the disease.
Since rabies can survive for long periods in decaying matter, it is possible to contract the disease from the blood, waste, or corpse of a bat.
While there may be no visible symptoms, there are a few indicators that a bat is rabid, such as:
- The bat is not afraid of humans.
- It seems unable to fly or is resting on the ground.
- It is active during the day.
When capturing a live bat which has come into contact with a human or animal, you should contact animal control immediately. They will test the bat’s brain for the disease and inform you of any exposure.
Types of Bat Bites
Rabies: Bats are the source of 5% of animal-to human rabies transmissions. They can spread it through a bite or scratch, but as unusual behavior such as daytime activity could be an indication that an animal has been infected with this virus; there’s no way for you to know for sure unless they have lab testing done on them.
Histoplasmosis: Bat-transmitted lung disease is a serious condition that can be contracted from inhaling fungus found in bat droppings. It primarily affects people living near the east and mid Atlantic coastlines, but any who are at risk should take precautions such as wearing protective clothing when outdoors during an outbreak or using repellent sprays on skin exposed to infected insects like tarantulas (though this may not always work). The symptoms include fever; skin lesions including ulcers which may merge together forming large areas of open sores. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people exhibit flu-like symptoms, while others show no symptoms. However, in infants and those with a compromised immune system, the disease can prove fatal.
Leptospirosis: The disease that causes bats to carry bacteria in their urine can cause a range of symptoms, some more severe than others. For example the most common is fever and vomiting which typically goes away on its own or with treatment by your doctor but could lead to liver or kidney damage if left untreated for too long can be fatal.
Parasites: As with all outdoor mammals, bats will often attract parasites. Fleas, ticks, and lice may be brought into the home, where they lay eggs and spread. Ticks are also known to be carriers of lyme disease, and fleas are able to hibernate for up to two years, making this an added headache.
Bats can carry several zoonotic viruses that have historically caused problems in humans. However, the risk of bat to human transmission is extremely low and these bats usually scratch when they feel threatened which may not result from a virus but could potentially lead bacteria like salmonella on their body or painful scratches infected by various insects such as fleas carrying diseases that can be transmitted through bites, such as flea-borne spotted fever, plague, typhus and cat scratch fever.
If you find an injured bat on the ground, do not handle it yourself! If a professional has been called to remove bats from your home or business they will take care of cleaning up any injuries. Bats can be aggressive so extreme caution should always be used when dealing with them in general but even moreso while handling their population because if there is anything left behind these creatures might bite humans again which could transmit disease like West Nile virus – making this incident much worse than just being bitten by one himself (or herself).
Infestations occur when female bats are looking for places to raise their young. Normally, they will seek out caves and similar dark places, but human structures are becoming increasingly attractive. As removal can be quite expensive, preventing an infestation is important.
Remember that sonic alarms, lights, and other deterrents do not work. The success of bat houses tends to vary greatly and is partially dependent upon your region and the type of bat. Thus, your greatest method of prevention is to simply deny a bat entry.
In order to avoid bats entering the home is to check for and seal any openings which they can crawl through. These holes may be as small has one-half inch, so you need to be thorough. Sealing holes has the added benefit of improving your home’s insulation.
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If you suspect that there are bats in your home, then it is important to thoroughly inspect the premises. Consider contacting an expert, as consultations are often free. If you spot a bat, do not come into contact with it.
Removal of bats must be done through exclusion. Harming or killing bats increases the risk of disease for you and your household. It is also illegal in many states and countries. Hiring a professional for the exclusion is an expensive option, but often the best choice.
The Encyclopedia Smithsonian offers information on species of invasive bats, as well as other bat-related facts.