bats in housegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
just returned from helping my dad to move into his summer home- a log house. despite incredible efforts to bat-proof every nook and cranny there are bats coming in every evening. they poop everywhere including the kitchen counters. does anyone know of an electronic device or some other plan to make them leave the inside of the house alone? the main problem with finding every little crack is that it is a 3 story building with a ceiling peak of 20 feet. very hard to get to the tiptop. he is shooting them with a pellet gun and is very stressed out if he misses one. i am 3 hours away. thanks, lauren
-- (email@example.com), May 10, 2000
At LAST.....a topic that I am knowledgeable in!!!!! I know all about bats and their habits,etc..learned from some great first-hand experience that I would NOT recommend to anyone.First, tell Dad to chill out and forget trying to seal up cracks..that is not going to solve anything.Bats can fly at full speed into a crack that is one- eighth of an inch deep and four inches wide! Sounds as if your dad has a nice colony that has been roosting all Winter..soooooo he has to find where they are going OUT at dusk.Tell him to gather as many friends as he can..bring lawn chairs and set up around the entire perimeter of the cabin.BATS WILL NOT FLY INTO PEOPLE....See what time the sun sets in his area and plan the "bat-watch" to begin a full hour BEFORE sunset,and give up an hour after.Places to observe:Roof peaks,chimney flashing (a favorite place),window moldings,and roof corners.A bat colony will exit all together,en mass, with few stragglers.It is too early in the year to have babies (July and August).When you see where they are exiting,then you can have your choice of a remedy.My preference is to grab a ladder, hammer, nails, and a piece of heavy-duty plastic.Nail up the plastic by hammering the nails along the tops and two sides, leaving the bottom OPEN..Bats fly out, but cannot get back in.(Actually, they could, but they will not know how).This allows for any stragglers to exit without a problem. When the colony returns, it will have no way to get back in through that entrance and will spend the next few days trying to find another entrance.The next day, you can repair the crack and cross your fingers that they will not find another one.Also, tell Dad that when bats exit, they poop..always...so in the daytime, he can walk around the cabin and look for bat poop on the wood to perhaps get a good idea where they are coming and going before the bat watch.Bats in the house can be escorted out through any open window..they will follow an air current, so it helps to have only one window open & the bat will find it quickly. If that does not work, get some mouse sticky traps, tie one onto an old tennis racket and whack the bat...one small whack is fine, then humanely kill the bat..(careful here, in quite a few states it is illegal to kill bats)!!!!! Bat houses to "relocate" bats are costly and do NOT work.Unfortunately, once a bat colony has been established, bats like to return again and again, so Dad may want to seal the chimney for the Winter before he leaves this year..There are folks who will come and relocate an entire bat colony for you..they set up traps by identifying where the exit is..bats go into the traps and the person takes them away to an unpopulated area.A reputable "bat" person will not do this after June (because of the babies)...Good luck and let me know how Dad does !!!!!!
-- Lesley Chasko (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 10, 2000.
Sorry, Lauren. I've had bats in my house and I can't seem to get them out. We co-habitate now. Every once in a while, there's that funny sound at night, and I must escort one out. One time, my daughter found one sleeping upside down from the living room ceiling. Try as we might, in this old house, we can't seem to figure out their secrets. Best of luck to your Dad! (At least they eat the mosquitos)
-- Rachel (email@example.com), May 11, 2000.
I too can finally claim personal knowledge on this one! We've been living with bats for ten years. Lesley is right. You will never be able to seal all the cracks. The bats will ALWAYS return every year to see if the heat and cold have made new cracks. The can get in anywhere! They live in our house between the vinyl siding and the old wood siding underneath. They aren't actually inside, (we've only had one in ten years)so it is tolerable. As far as I can tell from my research, their droppings do not carry nasty diseases like birds. (If anyone knows differently for sure, please post!) Later in the season they get pretty loud and that's when we know it's time to seal the cracks again (about every three years). They hit pretty hard and it sounds like hail around 5 am. Everyone says it must be great and control your mosquitos. I wish they did, but they fly off to the river just down the road and feast there! Lesley described what you have to do exactly! She was absolutely right about them coming back. In our neighborhood the folks can remember the bats being here when they were children (some 90 years old). This is their natural homing ground. Every house in our neighborhood has them. Whenever someone new is appauled that we have them or anyone else...I just laugh. They have them too. They just don't know it yet! Best of luck to you. Oh, and in Kentucky it is illegal to kill bats...mostly by pesticide etc. I've never researched the statute. I have heard of special "rodent" treatments needed though.....(in extreme cases)
-- Jennifer (KY) (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 13, 2000.
I like bats and would like to have more around here. Since you probably can't legally pack them up and ship them to me (ahem!) I would like to know how to attract them to our woods. Bat experts? What do you say? Or would they more likely want to go to the barns or house? I keep thinking we will make bat houses and stick them up in the trees, but...
-- sheepish (email@example.com), May 13, 2000.
Sheepish, a bat box under an eave of an outbuilding will attract them if you have enough bugs around,or,a bat box (or two) nailed up in a tree that is close to a pond.For those who do not know, a bat box has an opening underneath and tiny little perches inside for them to hang on to..you can make a cheap one out of an old shutter with louver slats, then you do not need to insert perches because they can hang onto the sides of the slats...bats actually prefer to live in trees in some locales..they get under bark and are quite cozy.You might want to locate a bat person in your area who will bring you a bunch from somebody else's house that they have trapped.You may already have bats in your area and just don't notice them, so go ahead and hang a box somewhere..Bat droppings are cleaner (less diseases) than birds or other things,and contrary to popular belief, they carry less rabies than other mammals..nonetheless, they DO carry rabies, so I like them in my yard, but not in my house!!!!
-- Lesley Chasko (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 13, 2000.
We had bats in our attic crawl space when we first moved in here and didn't realize it for a few months. We moved in in January and they didn't start moving until April or May. They always came out the same end of the house and we counted 53 the first year. We kept commenting how cool it was that Virginia didn't have many insects and we could sit out on our deck with no bugs. Then we found out why we didn't have bugs. Since bats don't bother us, we didn't try to kick them out but we have noticed that the population has slowly dwindled over the last seven years. I think it is because the house had been empty when we moved in and just the noise of us living here has sent them on their way. My mother was paranoid that we were going to die from some awful disease and gave us ideas on how to get rid of them. We didn't try any of them but one that really sounded like it would work is to put bright spot lights up in the attic for a few days and leave them on 24 hours. The bats don't like the light and will move on to other quarters. Since we never tried it, I can't vouch for its effectiveness but it did sound like a good possiblity. Good luck.
-- Colleen (email@example.com), May 16, 2000.
dear bat helpers- i knew if my sister got a hold of this it would get way out of hand. she called a bat exterminator who will get rid of the bats for $4000. and i knew why she would do this- the poop. the threat is histoplasmosis. anybody have any info on this lung disease? i am hoping to get back up there to try some or all of the good, reasonable ideas you all have given me. my sister is a clean freak and a very good person. thanks, lauren
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 17, 2000.
Looks like there have been a lot of great answers. The one thing I can add about it is to not forget RABIES. Bats can and do carry rabies! Almost all the rabies cases(in humans) in north america are attributed to the bat strain. In these cases most people didn't even know they were bitten by a bat. In february 1995, the aunt of a 4-year old girl was awakened by the sounds of a bat in the room where the child was sleeping. The child did not wake up untill the bat was captured, killed and discarded. The girl reported no bite, and no evidence of a bite wound was found when she was examined. One month later the child became sick and died of rabies. The dead bat was recovered from the yard and tested- it had rabies! Remember, in situations in which a bat is physically present and you cannot reasonably rule out having been bitten, safely capture the bat for testing and seek medical attention immediately. In my state the State has mandated that any bat found inside of a "living area" be reported to the local animal control and that it be tested for rabies. Some great websites concerning bats and rabies are
www.batcon.org and www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies
didn't mean to be all doom and gloom but thought someone might like to know. thanks again steve
-- steve (email@example.com), May 17, 2000.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by inhalation of fungal spores from exposure to either bird or bat droppings..You have to inhale ALOT of fungal spores to catch this one,i.e. Raise birds and don't cleanout their cages every day, but put your face up to the droppings daily and inhale deeply..OR..go hang out (pardon the pun) in a bat cave where there are thousands of bats and heaps of droppings..again, breathe deeply and be sure to get ALL the spores in your lungs...The incidence of this disease is so low that despite 30 years of medical practice and lots of cave enthusiasts as patients,I have seen exactly ONE case of histoplasmosis and that was in a guy who was on Chemotherapy for leukemia so his resistance to anything was very low.Please tell your well-intentioned sister that the bat guy will collect his $4000 for doing the same things your Dad can do himself, but, hey, it's her money.....again, good luck...
-- lesley Chasko (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 17, 2000.