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Animal Hazards : Bats

Bats

Bats are not rodents. They are mammals in a group of their own, and they are the only true flying mammals. Around 40 different species of bats live in the United States, but there are three species that are of the most concern with respect to pest management.

  • A third of bats species feed on fruit or nectar, about one percent feed on small animals such as mice, fish, or frogs, but at least two thirds of the species eat almost exclusively insects, including those in the United States. Since bats do not compete with other mammals for food or shelter. For these reasons, bats should not be needlessly destroyed.
  • Big Brown Bat, the Little Brown Bat, and the Mexican Free-tailed Bat are all often referred to as "house bats" due to their common desire to nest or roost within structures. All three species are widespread and found throughout most of the states. Because they are so mobile many species of bats can be found across wide areas. For example, there are around 18 different kinds along the eastern states and around 25 kinds in California. Many of them will migrate to warmer climates in the winter, where they can continue to find active insects to feed on, while some other species remain in the cold climate and hibernate, possibly in caves or hollow trees, or, unfortunately, within our homes and office buildings. All species are nocturnal, and are actively feeding only at night, so all day long they are holed up in their chosen dens. Movement into a new place may be most common in the spring or the fall, when they are choosing sites either for raising their young or for spending the winter.
  • Baby bats are usually born in mid to late spring, and into the early summer, and generally are capable of flying within a month. This is an important consideration in bat control, for you need to ensure you are not closing off all the access points into the building when you may be trapping the young bats inside. This could lead to problems as the bats then die within the building, leading to odor and fly problems that cause you even a greater headache. Similarly, you do not want to suddenly just block all the entry / exit points and not allow bats out. Ideally you identify all the openings they are using for passage into and out of the building, create a one-way door over these openings, and then permanently close it once you are confident all the bats have exited.

::Health Risks

  • Bats are one of the most common carriers of rabies, a serious viral disease that results in death if untreated. Rabid bats rarely attack humans or other animals, but bats found lying on the ground may be rabid. They can spread rabies in their saliva from a bite or even from inhalation of their saliva as they cough or sneeze.
  • Where bats inhabit structures in large numbers over a long period of time, they create an ever-growing accumulation of feces and urine, and most vertebrate experts would agree that this layer presents an excellent growth medium for bacteria and viruses. As it dries and becomes airborne it is hazardous to those who breathe the dust.
  • As a precaution against exposure to disease, never handle live bats, dead or alive. If you are bitten by a possibly rabid animal, you must immediately consult a doctor for a series of injections; there is no cure once symptoms emerge.

::Other Risks

  • By accident, an individual bat may enter a home through open doors, chimneys or windows unprotected by screens. When a colony of bats occupies a building, the accumulation of droppings and the odor of bat urine are objectionable.
  • Bat droppings are the size of mouse droppings, crumble easily, usually are shiny black, irregular in shape and contain insect fragments; they accumulate below the walls and rafters where bats roost. The presence of large accumulations of excrement just plain old smells bad.
  • Bat squeaks and the rustling noise they make as they enter or leave the roosts may also be bothersome to the building's occupants.

::Removal & Treatment

  • At this time there are no poisons registered for use against bats, so killing them in this manner is not allowed. That is probably just as well, for if the bats were poisoned and died within the walls of the structure there could be an immense odor problem.
  • Removal procedures are performed only once the bat settles down, then using protective gear, they are carefully captured and placed in a jar, then released again outdoors. To remove Bat roosts in such areas as walls or floor partitions, special technique must be performed using specially approved Bat repellant. The only permanent method of preventing these roosts is to bat-proof the building by locating and blocking all entrances through which bats gain access.

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Top 5 Calls

1. Bats
2. Bees
3. Snakes
4. Rats
5. Squirrels

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