Bats, common in and around buildings in Western New York, are beneficial in their outside environment but may be a nuisance or even a health concern when inside our living spaces. Two species of bats in this region, the little brown and big brown, range in body size from 3 to 4 inches long with wing spans from 9 to 14 inches across.

Little brown bats live in colonies of up to several hundred individuals and leave structures to migrate into caves or abandoned mines for winter hibernation. Big brown bats normally live in small groups of several individuals and overwinter within the structure in an inactive phase. Bats play an important role in pest management within the ecosystem surrounding us. One single bat can consume well over one thousand mosquito size insects each night during its feeding flight between dusk and dawn.

Bats cause problems from odors associated with their droppings (guano) in roosting sites inside attics and walls of buildings. Histoplasmosis, a fungal disease with flu like symptoms, may be contracted through inhalation of dried bat droppings. Rabies while not overly common in bats is a potentially life threatening disease and causes concern with every bat encounter. Bat parasites such as mites, ticks, fleas and bat bugs may pose problems once bats are excluded from a structure.

If a bat wanders inside down a chimney, through an open window or under a door, simply close off the room and leave a window or door open. It will most likely follow the fresh air currents outside. A resting bat is easily captured by placing a coffee can over it and sliding a cardboard cover between the bat and its resting surface. Most bats will not even wake up until inside the can. Release bats outside. Never handle bats without heavy gloves because of the possibility of exposure to rabies. If you think you have been bitten or a bat is found in a room with a sleeping child, it is recommended that the bat be caught without damaging its head and get it to the local health department for testing.

Bat droppings and rustling sounds especially in attic areas often are good indications bats are roosting inside your structure. Moth balls (naphthalene) may help deter bats from small confined spaces, however, rates of 5 to 10 pounds per 2000 cubic feet of space are required which poses odor and possibly health concerns. Bat proofing is the best method of eliminating bats from inside a structure. Chimney caps, screening vents, closing holes especially along rooflines, around windows and doors and any other entry points are all necessary to effectively exclude bats. Professional help is recommended to prevent sealing bats inside.

Bat proofing is the most reliable method of removing and keeping bats out of a structure. Bat proofing is best accomplished with a full understanding of bat biology, behavior and building construction related to exclusion. Professional help is usually recommended. Bat proofing is undertaken usually before May or after August when young bats will not be sealed inside a roosting area. A variety of sealing techniques are employed as well as utilization of one way devices which allow bats to leave for their nightly flight but prevent return to roosting areas. Removal of bat droppings, bat parasite treatments and disinfection services are available if needed.


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Buffalo Exterminators