August 5, 2010 by Jeff · Comments Off on Bats in Your Attic?
Here’s the video and story that ABC-5 ran on Pesky Bats Seeking Shelter in Homes.
Remember, with so many mosquitoes and insects to feast on this time of year, bats follow the food and love the humid air. They don’t need a big opening to find a place of residence in your attic.
Keeping screens on windows and doors will prevent bats from directly flying into the house. Attached garages should have the doors shut at night. Make sure screens are in tact on attic screens and lattice areas. New roofs are sometimes necessary if wood and siding is in bad shape. Bats will fly in and out of structures at sunset and then continue throughout the night as they feed on insects. Bats will not fly in and out in the winter as insects are not there to feed on. In spring, nighttime temps need to reach around 40 degrees to begin feedings for bats.
When bats enter homes they can also bring other visitors with them. Ectoparasites are a fancy name for varieties of bed bugs, bat bugs, fleas, mites, and chiggers. When a bat eviction service is performed it is also sometimes necessary to fog the areas when bats are out of the attic. This will kill any left over parasites.
Bats that are staying in house attics and walls will remain inactive but can still move around on warm days. The more movement a bat makes the more energy they use which can kill them. Bats can actually mate during the winter if temps reach higher levels. Colonies can reach levels of 50 up to 1000. Young bats can reach maturity frequently in as little as 3 weeks. Mother bats can distinguish there own young by smell and sound.
Fall is a time of migration for many bat species in North America, this is also when large numbers of bats may enter buildings and structures. Bats are looking for safe areas to mate and reproduce. The four main species of bats in Iowa are big brown bat, little brown, northern, and eastern bats. The big brown bat will over winter in attics and walls without migrating.
Bats in Iowa Big Brown Bats, Little Brown Bats, Red Bats, Northern Long Eared Bats, Hoary Bats, Evening Bat, Silver Haired Bat, and Eastern Pipistrelle. Some bats can carry rabies. The state of Illinois has marked an increase in rabies in the last few years (see news blogs). However, rabies should not be a concern of homeowns. Histoplasmosis is another health factor associated with bats. If bats establish a colony in attics or walls excess droppings can contain this spore. Cleaning these droppings and making the spores airborne can cause some respiratory problems. Respirators should be worn at all times when cleaning bat droppings.
Last summer I was cleaning an attic where we thought the bats had all flown out. After getting through the hole in the ceiling I crawled about 30 feet to the wall, when I heard screaching sounds. The bats were still in the wall. They immediately began to fly out around 50 or so. As I started to make my way to the hole my flashlight went out. For all of you who have been in an attic you realize how difficult it is to manuever without light. The bats were buzzing my entire body and began to land on me. I sat as still as possible and tried not to panic. After about ten minutes they calmed down and I slowly made my way out. I have learned not to enter attics until the bats are completely gone. Im not batman.
Lesson to folks, always bring extra batteries when going into batty situations
Bats are very misunderstood mammals and many people fear them for no reason. Most myths and stories about bats are completely unfounded and false. Bats serve a great purpose in nature by controlling insect and mosquito populations. Bats are the most beneficial form of natural pest control.
Many Iowans have had encounters with bats in the home or living area and that is when bats are a nuisance. If bats have established colonies in attics or wall voids it can create a huge problem for home owners. Odors and dead bats make hot days even worse.
The only way to get rid of bats in homes is to do a full blown house inspection and figure out where the bats are getting in. Many times this is easier said than done. Bats are like tiny flying mice so they can get in spaces and cracks up to a ¼ inch. Sealing every crack and crevice is necessary while installing vents that the bats can fly out of. After about a week, the vents can be removed and the openings sealed. Then the attic clean up begin.
According to an article I found at pantagraph.com, there is a mysterious disease killing bats in Kentucky. They were listed as gray bats, which in the past have been listed as endangered, but have been making a comeback. They can live up to 30 years and have a wingspan of 10-11 inches.
So far 2 rabid bats were found with the disease, but what seems to be a bigger problem is “white-nose syndrome”. It’s called this due to the fungus found on the noses of sick or dead bats. This has spread to four states, and has killed tens of thousands of bats. So far there doesn’t seem to be an explanation for the sicknesses, and researchers are scrambling to find answers.
I have not heard of this disease happening anywhere around Iowa, but it would be devastating to have a bat-less society. They eat their weight in mosquitoes every night, and are great for the ecosystem. To read the full article, click here.