Bats have long been legends in their own time. From Batman to Count Dracula, bats have been featured in stories and lore spanning centuries. While they might be fun to read about and interesting to see flapping around at sunset, having bats in your attic (or in the belfry, if you happen to live in a building with a bell tower!) is no laughing matter. Bats can be hard to detect, because they are small and nocturnal, so by the time you realize you have a bat infestation, it's important to act quickly. Lest you be tempted to let them continue to shelter in your attic, here are some reasons why it's not a good idea.
Although bats can carry several diseases that are harmful or fatal to humans, rabies is the most feared, and for good reason: If a mammal, including a human, acquires rabies, death is almost sure to occur. This is why it's so important to have your pets vaccinated and to stay away from wild animals.
While it's not common for bats to carry rabies, it's not worth the risk of allowing them to roost in your attic. If you notice a bat or any other wild animal acting strangely, call your local animal control to investigate. Do not approach or try to help the animal, and keep your pets and children far away.
Guano is the term for bat droppings. As you can imagine, an infestation of bats in your attic could lead to immense piles of guano, which is disgusting in its own right.
Aside from the esthetics, however, guano can cause a disease called histoplasmosis. This is a lung infection that can be caused by the fungal spores that accumulate in bat droppings. In addition, pests such as cockroaches are attracted to guano, so your bat infestation could quickly turn into a bat and cockroach infestation. The only surefire way to stop the accumulation of guano is to rid your attic of bats.
Once the bats are removed and the attic has been repaired so as to inhibit them from returning, a lengthy (and potential expensive) decontamination process is necessary to remove the guano without stirring up the fungal spores that can cause illness. Do not try to do this on your own; call in a professional clean-up specialist or get advice from an environmental agency to avoid getting sick.
If piles of bat droppings were not bad enough, bat urine can actually weaken the wood and drywall of your attic. As you can probably imagine, this would not only smell terrible, but could also cause major structural damage. Damp wood can lead to mold, as well.
After your bat infestation is taken care of, you might need a clean-up specialist or a home improvement contractor to come in and replace the damaged wood and drywall. Chances are good that if you have bat urine in the attic, you also have dangerous guano, so this is best left to the pros.
How Can You Remove Bats to Avoid These Problems?
As you can see, a bat infestation can lead to a big headache if it's not taken care of quickly. If you think that you might have bats roosting anywhere in your home, call a pest removal company to assess the situation. In some cases, they will want to come at night, when the bats are more likely to be active.
If bats are found, these professionals from places like Accurate Termite & Pest Control can let you know your options for having them removed. In most areas, it's illegal to try to trap or kill bats, so usually an exclusion method is used to encourage these flying mammals to leave and then block them from coming back.