Bats play an important role in our ecosystem. However, they are also associated with many diseases deadly to humans. Bats can cause serious health hazards to humans and domestic animals when they roost in homes or businesses. Bat droppings, also known as guano, can contain pathogens, insects, and also serve as a breeding medium for different types of fungus, some of which can cause diseases such as histoplasmosis. Bats also carry many different parasites that are disease vectors like ticks, fleas, and bat bugs. Bats can carry rabies and have transmitted the virus to more humans than any other animals.
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Bats are commonly found entering the attics of residential homes and commercial buildings through many different points of entries such as gable end vents, chimney caps, ridge vents, soffit returns, construction gaps, roof vents, etc. Once a bat colony has developed a roosting site in your attic, it will only stay and grow larger. Since bats are such a beneficial animal and play such a pivotal role in the world's ecosystem, it is important to use safe, nondestructive methods to alleviate conflicts between people and bats. Xceptional Wildlife's trained wildlife biologist, not exterminators, always practices humane, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly bat removal and exclusion.
Bat Feces (Guano) and Histoplasmosis:
Many homeowners do not even know bats are present until piles of droppings are obvious, or a strong ammonia smell spreads throughout the house. This strong odor is caused by the bats fecal matter more commonly known as guano.
According to the CDC, bat droppings should be treated similar to asbestos and the proper respiratory equipment should be worn when dealing with bat guano due to the harmful spores that can lead to histoplasmosis and other respiratory diseases.
Mice and Bat droppings appear to be similar, but they have very different diets and therefore their droppings are different. Mice eat a lot of vegetable material and their droppings of plant matter are solid and do no crumble. Bats eat insects which makes guano segmented and friable. When crushed, they become powdery and reveal shiny parts of undigested insect remains (elytra).
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the most common way for people to get rabies in the United States is through contact with a bat. An exposure to rabies most commonly occurs when a person is bitten by a rabid bat. It can also be transmitted when the saliva from a rabid bat comes in contact with a person's mouth, eyes, nose, or a fresh wound. When a person is exposed to rabies, timely administration of a vaccine known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent infection. Once a person becomes infected and symptoms begin to occur, rabies is almost always fatal.
People often know when they have been bitten by a bat, but sometimes it can be hard to notice because most types of bats have very small teeth which may leave marks that disappear quickly. If you are bitten by a bat or if infectious material such as saliva gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and get medical advice immediately. All dead, sick, or easily captured bats should be tested for rabies if exposed to people or pets.
Insects and Parasites:
Several arthropods are often associated with colonies of bats in homes and buildings. Their diversity depends on the number of bats, quantity of feces, and season.
Bat ectoparasites (ticks, mites, fleas, and bat bugs) sometimes attack humans or pets and quickly search for a new host in the absence of bats. Ectoparasites may become a nuisance following the exclusion of large numbers of bats from a roost site. Bat bugs are another problem commonly associated with bats. Bat bugs are sometimes found crawling on the surface of beams or around holes leading to secluded recesses used by bats. They are very closely related to bed bugs, and impossible to differentiate the two by the naked eye. Sometimes after a bat-removal job, bat bugs will migrate into the living quarters of a home and start feeding on people instead of bats. They cannot reproduce without bat blood, but they can survive a long time on human blood.
Arthropods such as beetles contribute to the decomposition of guano and insect remnants, but may also become a pest of stored goods and/or a nuisance within the living quarters. Cockroaches that are also attracted to guano reproduce quickly and may invade other parts of a home or building.
An ectoparasites treatment and attic area fumigation may be an appropriate solution to kill all the arthropod within an enclosed space, but only after bat removal and exclusion.
Biology of Bats:
Bats are not blind. They are not rodents or birds. They will not suck your blood or vaporize from sunlight. They are the world's only flying mammal. Bats are nocturnal; they sleep in roosts during the daytime and emerge at dusk. Worldwide, bats are a major predator of night-flying insects, including pests that cost farmers billions of dollars annually. They feast on flying insects such as moths, beetles, and mosquitoes, among others. Due to their large consumption of insects, bats are the world's most efficient pest control.
Bats use echolocation in order to aid in navigation and feeding. They emit high-pitched chirps and read the sonar-like returns of the sound waves as they bounce back off of objects. Roosting preference depends on the species and even gender of the bats. They tolerate and even prefer very high temperatures. Some of the southern bats migrate to different areas as climates change, while some choose not to leave the Southeastern United States during the winter.
Common Questions:Will bats leave if I put lights in the attic? Use ultrasonic devices? Throw out Moth Balls?
All the answers are NO! Bats living in attics are very territorial. Once they colonize in an attic, bats will put up with about anything including noise, light, and strong smells. Bats are actually able to put up with smells so strong that humans must wear protective mask. Naphthalene, which is in Moth Balls, has been found to be a carcinogen and is also dangerous to the people living in the house. Inhalation of naphthalene vapors is a hazard to human health. DO NOT spread out moth balls in your attic.If I put up a bat house, will the bats leave my attic?
Unfortunately, the answer is NO. Attics are usually much safer, warmer, quieter, and larger than a bat house. Bats will continue to live in their primary roost and never leave to use a bat house.
Common Nuisance Bats found in Georgia:Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus)
Little Brown bats are widely distributed; this is one of the bats most commonly found in the United States. Little Brown Bats have a fondness for hot Georgia attics for its nursery colonies. Roosting colonies can be very large and range in hundreds to thousands of bats. Little brown bats are insectivores, eating moths, wasps, beetles, gnats, mosquitoes, midges, and mayflies, among others.Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
Big Brown bats are native to North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and extreme northern South America. The species is larger in size than comparative species of bats, from about 4 to 5 inches in body length. Big brown bats navigate through the night skies by use of echolocation, producing ultrasonic sounds through the mouth or nose. Big brown bats are known also to produce audible sound during flight. Its voice is a click or a sound like escaping steam. Big brown bats are insectivorous, eating many kinds of night-flying insects including moths, beetles, and wasps which they capture in flight.Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
The Mexican Free-Tailed bat, also known as the Brazilian Free-Tailed bat, is a medium-sized bat that is native to North and South America and is widely regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. However, its proclivity towards roosting in large numbers in relatively few roosts makes it especially vulnerable to human disturbance. Mexican free-tailed bats roost primarily in caves. However, they will also roost in buildings of any type as long as they have access to openings and dark recesses in ceilings or walls. The bats can make roosting sites of buildings regardless of age, height, architecture, construction materials, occupancy by humans and compass orientation. Mexican free-tailed bats are primarily insectivores. They hunt their prey using echolocation. Mexican free-tailed bats can fly hundreds of meters above the ground in to feed on migrating insects. The most commonly eat moths, beetles, dragonflies, flies, true bugs, wasps, and ants.
Some of the areas in Georgia we specialize in are: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Athens, Buford, Canton, Cartersville, Conyers, Covington, Cumming, Dacula, Douglasville, Duluth, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Johns Creek, Kennesaw, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Marietta, McDonough, Norcross, Peachtree City, Rome, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stockbridge, Stone Mountain, Suwanee, Tucker, Woodstock and all other areas of Georgia.