Why We Love Bats (And Hate them)

midlothian home inspection

Virginia State Bat

Did you know that a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour? Falling creek in Richmond is in my backyard so I wouldn’t mind a few bats. It’s a smorgasbord here. As much as I love bats, most people don’t want them in their home, but it isn’t uncommon for us to find bats roosting in the attics of unsuspecting homeowners.

Depending on the species, bats prefer to call caves or trees “home”, but as we invade and destroy more of their space, it is becoming more common to find them inside homes, culverts, or other buildings. They generally aren’t dangerous, and contrary to popular belief, it is rare for a bat to have rabies. The problem is guano. Guano is bat feces and it causes histoplasmosis-an infection that infects the respiratory system. Guano also smells and attracts cockroaches which is another problem all on its own.

midlothian home inspection

Pile of guano

If you find feces in your attic, you may be wondering if it is from mice or bats. It is actually very easy to identify. During my home inspections, I will grab a small pellet and place it on a hard surface. I then crush it. If it turns to powder with shiny insect parts in it, it is Guano. Guano is also usually in large piles where mice feces are usually more spread out.

Bats can fit into tiny cracks on the outside of your home. When a homeowner finds out they have a bat problem, they may attempt to seal up all the cracks they can find. THIS IS A MISTAKE. If a bat can not find its way out of the attic, it is more likely to fly into your living space. Killing bats is illegal so any poisons are out of the question. Despite what anyone tells you, moth balls and other similar methods have a zero percent effective rate. They don’t work. You will need to call a pest control company that specializes in bat exclusion.

Bat exclusion involves sealing up the cracks in the home, and installing one way devices. The bats will be able to fly out, but will not be able to fly back in. The process should also include clean up and vacuum of any guano which may include replacement of insulation, drywall, or other building materials. However, exclusion should not be done mid May to early August. Female bats give birth during this time and the baby flats can not fly. Permanently separating the mother and pups is inhumane. Aside from the inhumanity of it, baby pups may be difficult if not impossible to find. Consequently, when separated from their mom, they will die leaving you with a foul odor.

Bat exclusion and and clean up should be left to the professionals.