Bat removal and bat control
There are many different species of bats. However, you are not likely to spot many of these, as several are rare of endangered. They have good vision, and supplement it with echolocation in order to catch insects in the air. Their flight is excellent, and they have great control in the air. Their wings are made up of what are essentially arms and very long fingers with membrane stretched between. Bats use their hind feet to hang upside down. Some bats roost in trees and vegetation, but some bats like to form large groups and live inside buildings.
The bats that roost inside buildings, often in large numbers, can cause a number of problems. Some people are uncomfortable living with many of these creatures of the night. Even though bats are gentle animals, they do unfortunately carry diseases, and like all animals, produce waste. Many buildings are befouled with the very strong odor of bat droppings and urine. Worse than the odor, these droppings are a biohazard to the building they are in. Fungus often grows on the droppings the spores of which can cause lung diseases in people. Bats can also carry a number of parasites, and of course are one of the animals known to carry and transmit rabies.
Bats may look large when they fly, but they can squeeze into, and prefer to squeeze into, very small gaps, usually of less than an inch, and as little as 3/8 inch. They usually stay year round, but sometimes migrate, and then the entire colony returns every year to the same area, and grows larger and larger. These colonies can eventually reach several thousand members.
Bat control work should not be attempted by amateurs. Most bat elimination systems ensure that all of the bats are safely removed from the building, and that they will never return. Many ignorant pest control companies attempt to do bat work, and they often resort to illegal, inhumane, and ineffective methods to try to solve the problem, such as the use of "bat poison", or simply sealing them in a building to die and stink without safely getting them out first. They are very valuable animals. They only give birth to one or two young a year depending on species, they live up to 20 years, and they eat thousands of insects a night. They are not lowly creatures, and should be treated with respect.
Do not try to pick up a bat yourself, particularly if it is lethargic or looks sick - this is often how rabies is transmitted. A bat in a house can bite a person, and its teeth are so small, the person might not even wake or know about it. Some Bats are protected in many states and should never be killed or harmed. Harming a protected bat carries severe fines and possibly jail time!
If you have a bat colony roosting inside of your building a bat control professional should be contacted to assess the situation and give an estimate for a removal and exclusion program. As with any animal living inside your home or office, special care and proper knowledge is required to safely and humanely remove bats from within the structure.
Bats are territorial and they will normally stay in your area once they have been excluded. If the building has not been properly sealed, the bats will enter another opening in the same building. Bats only need an opening that is ¼ inch by 1½ inch, the thickness of a standard number two pencil.
Bat control is a unique field. It requires specialized training and techniques, attention to detail, and extensive knowledge of bat biology and behavior.
Effective bat control requires a full site inspection, and 100% of the structure must be properly sealed, including gaps as small as ¼" wide. Once the bats are removed exclusion work must be done to prevent the bats from returning to the roost site. If pesticides are used for bat control, the applicator would be in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and possibly subject to a $25,000 fine.
After the bats have been removed from a structure proper clean-up of the bat guano is the next step. After a few years, the old guano that has accumulated may develop and grow a fungal spore. If the guano is not properly removed occupants of the building may subject themselves to possible contraction of histoplasmosis.
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