Bats

The Bat

Overview

Bats belong to the order Chiroptera and are unique among mammals in being capable of sustained flight. While they play a crucial role in many ecosystems as pollinators and pest controllers, they can become pests when they roost in human dwellings. Bats can transmit disease, leading to significant structural damage and health concerns in their presence.

Identification

  • Appearance: Bats vary in size, but common characteristics include leathery wings, a fur-covered body, and large ears. Their wings consist of thin membranes stretched taut over long finger bones.
  • Behavior: Bats are nocturnal and typically emerge at dusk to feed. They primarily eat insects, though some species consume fruit, nectar, or small animals.
  • Roosting Sites: Common roosting sites include attics, barns, caves, and hollow trees. They often seek out warm, dark, and undisturbed places.

Signs of Infestation

  1. Visual Observation: Seeing bats flying around your property at dusk.
  2. Droppings: Guano accumulation near roosting sites, typically in attics or walls. Bat droppings are small, dark, and crumble into powder when touched.
  3. Noises: Scratching or squeaking sounds, especially at dusk or dawn.
  4. Staining: Grease marks or stains near entry points, caused by the bats’ oily fur.
Pest Profile Bats

Risks and Damages

  • Health Risks: Bats pose potential threats to human health in terms of diseases they carry or transmit, such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Rabies is transmitted through bites, while histoplasmosis is a fungal infection contracted from inhaling spores from bat guano.
  • Structural Damage: Accumulated guano can cause structural damage due to its corrosive nature. The weight of large amounts of guano can also compromise building integrity.
  • Secondary Pests: Bat roosts can attract other pests such as mites, ticks, and insects that feed on guano.

Prevention

  1. Sealing Entry Points: Identify and seal all potential entry points larger than 1/4 inch, such as gaps around windows, doors, and eaves.
  2. Installing Bat Excluders: Use one-way exclusion devices that allow bats to exit but not re-enter.
  3. Timing: Perform exclusion during the appropriate season to avoid trapping young bats inside (typically late summer or early fall).
  4. Maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain the exterior of buildings to prevent bats from finding new entry points.

Control and Management

  • Professional Exclusion: Hiring pest control professionals who specialize in bat exclusion ensures safe and effective removal.
  • Cleaning and Disinfection: Properly clean and disinfect areas affected by guano. Use protective gear to avoid exposure to harmful pathogens.
  • Habitat Modification: Remove or alter features that attract bats, such as water sources and food supplies.

Legal Considerations

Bats are protected in many regions due to their ecological importance. In the United States, for example, many species are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is illegal to kill or harm bats in many areas, and exclusions may be regulated to ensure bats are not harmed.

Summary Of Bats

While bats provide significant ecological benefits, their presence in human dwellings can pose health and safety risks. Effective management involves exclusion, habitat modification, and adherence to legal protections. Professional assistance from Get’Em Out Wildlife Control is often necessary to handle infestations safely and legally.

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