Bats make up one-fifth of all mammal species in the world, and in our area of the United States there are approximtely 17 different species of native bats. Despite their sometimes-scary appearance, bats provide great benefit to the ecosystems that they inhabit. Bats disperse large amouts of seed and pollen which help in plant reproduction and forestry growth. In addition, they can have a major hand in controlling insect populations.
Bats are known to be highly adaptable creatures. With primary concerns over access to food and water, and safety from predators and adverse conditions, bats will often set up roosts in a variety of places including caves, old mine shafts, and under bridges. Bats will often try to avoid harsh weather and areas exposed to the elements by hibernating (or migrating) for up to six months inside structures like a house, or a barn.
Most bats have a breeding season which takes place in the spring and last until fall when mating season leads into hibernation. The lifespan of a bat can range from 20 years all the way up to 30 years.
Bats are nocturnal creatures that are most active during twilight hours when interaction with humans is mostly limited. Bats have relatively poor eyesight and rely on echolocation to travel and locate their food. Approximately 70% of bat species feed solely on insects.
Bats become a nuisance when they take up roost inside attics and other undisturbed areas of homes or commercial buildings. Bats can enter an attic through an opening or hole as small as 3/8 of an inch. Homeowners might be alerted to the possibility of bats by the sound of scratching in an attic or wall, or from the odor of their guano.
Damage caused by bats
Despite the benefits that bats have on controlling insect populations and plant reproduction, they can present a health risk. Several deadly diseases have been linked to bats, most notabely rabies and histoplasmosis. Bats, along with dogs, foxes and raccoons are a primary transmitter of the rabies virus. Rabies is typically spread from the bite of a rabid animal and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Histoplasmosis is most commonly associated with bats and primarily affects the lungs of a person with the disease. Histoplasmosis grows in surfaces and materials contaminated with animal droppings – notably bat guano. Surfaces contaminated by guano, when disturbed, can release infectious spores that could potentially be hazardous to a homeowners health.
In addition to the negative health impact, bats can also cause structural damage. Their guano and urine can accumulate over time, resulting in stains on ceilings or sheetrock. Prolonged guano and urine accumulation can even soak through support elements, causing portions of the structure to become compromised. Further, bat guano and urine can cause immediate damage and contamination to attic inuslation and other items stored in an attic.
Terminix Bat Control and Removal
The most important step to getting rid of bats in a structure is to do a thorough inspection. Bats commonly inhabitat attics, but can also be found in chimneys, or even inside a home. A proper inspection will reveal potential entry points as well as any areas contaminated with guano or urine.
At Terminix we have a multi-tiered approach:
- If bats are present, permanently seal off all entry points on home or building.
- Bats will be removed using bat valves that will allow the bats to leave and not re-enter.
- Clean Guano, sanitize affected areas, and replacement of insulation if necessary.
- Perform routine inspections and maintenance on an annual basis to ensure no future problems.
Call Terminix today at 1-800-BUGS-911 to schedule a free bat insepction.