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Taking Care of Bats

In March in Austin, Texas, approximately 1 million, mostly pregnant free-tailed bats congregate under the Congress Avenue Bridge in order to give birth and raise their young.  When October hits, they migrate back to Mexico.  During the summer time, visitors to Austin get an eyeful of the bats as they emerge from their hiding places at sunset in search of food.  Many line up to watch the approximately hour-long show and in fact – bat enthusiasts travel from across the world to see this spectacle.

If you’re a shopkeeper in Austin, knowing that the bats are coming back to roost is a great thing.  If you’re a homeowner and have bats roosting in your house or garage, you probably just want them GONE! Bats can carry diseases, including rabies and other fungal respiratory diseases, so the reality is that they are a health hazard if they are making their home in your house.

Some signs of bats in the house include:

*Bat guano, which has a shiny appearance and may be found in a pile outside the bat exit.  Although it looks similar to rodent droppings, you may be able to see insects in the excrement when it’s bat guano.

*Lots of noises from the attic, usually around sunset as the bats wake to find their food.  These noises can be described as scratching, fluttering or crawling sounds.

*You may see a bat or a cluster of bats roosting up high in the attic or you may see flying away from your house at night.

Getting rid of bats is not easy.  Unfortunately, just killing bats in the summer month may mean that the dependent babies, who are now left behind, will die of starvation and you could have rotting carcasses left in your home.  In addition, bats can re-enter the home through a very small opening, such as a half inch of space, so bat removal must be accompanied with a thorough house inspection and sealing of all openings, no matter how small.  And realistically, any house sealing should occur after the bats have already been coaxed out during the evening hours, otherwise all you are doing is sealing the bats inside.

One further consideration is the removal of the bat guano that has already built up. Because guano can carry the fungal respiratory infection, bat removal may also include a guano clean-up crew or special instructions on how to protect yourself while you clean.

25 Apr

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