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Monday, May 5, 2014

HELP! There Are Bats in the Attic

     Just imagine sitting comfortably in you kitchen on a spring evening reading while waiting for the oven to deliver your chocolate chip cookies. Your ears perk to the sound of your usually lazy kitty running down the stairs. Your natural response is to investigate what is going on. Now imagine you run to the doorway only to see your kitty running with a bat flying overhead. Shocking, yes. The wing span was huge. The speed at which it flew was scary. What would you do? First instinct, run for cover like the kitty. Yep. Straight to the door to a neighbor's house is where I went. After some talk and planning our strategy we re-entered the house. There were no signs of the bat. According to an internet search we should look in high places, behind pictures and in folds of curtains. On high alert we did this with no bat sightings. Now what? We stood around quietly looking around. Then we heard a sound. It was coming from the window blinds. But there was nothing on the blinds or in the window. The suggestion was made that maybe it was inside the header of the blinds. As huge as that thing was, there was no way it fit in there. Armed with a flashlight  and a ladder I approached. Even though terrified I climbed the ladder to the top and shinned the flashlight. I almost fell off the ladder. It was there, stuck under the inner mechanics of the blinds. We couldn't get it to fly out and leave the house. So we took the blinds down and put the entire thing on the front lawn. The bat crawled out. It was so small. It took off into the night. All I could do was wonder how something so small could look so huge in flight and yes I was happy it was outside. That was last year.
     The spring has arrived again. I was sitting on the couch reading when I heard a noise. It sounded like it was coming from the intake vent. I looked up only to my horror to see a bat emerging from the vent. I retreated the front door to my neighbor's home. We went back armed with a broom. The bat was well hidden or gone. We didn't find it. This prompted me to cal an exterminating company.
     Here is what I learned:

  • Unless the bat accidentally flew in through a window or door you have more than one.
  • This is the season when bats have their babies called pups. 
  • Their natural habitat is a cave which makes an attic a great place for them to roost.
  • They can enter openings in your roof as small as a quarter.
  • They carry rabies.
  • They leave droppings and urine in your attic which can be hazardous to your health.
  • You can hear them in the walls as they line up to leave at night.
  • Getting rid of bats is complicated.
  • In my state of Md. you must obtain permission from the state to remove the bats during the colonizing season, which is now, March 31- August 1. (Simple form printed from the web)
  • Bats should not be killed but removed unharmed.
  • Bats control the insect population that damage crops and spread disease.
  • One bat can eat more than 1,000 insects in one night.
  • Bats must be removed through a process referred to as exclusion.
  • If you use the exclusion process during the season when pups are born you risk having dead bats in your attic because the pups may not be able to fly yet so they will die because the mother can't reach the pup to care for it.
  • The bat population in our country is declining. 
     Now I finally understand why I can't have the bats exterminated. It made my skin crawl to think there was a colony of bats living in my attic having babies. I don't even know how long they have been there. My daughter kept complaining about noises in the wall keeping her awake at night. I had not a clue what to do about that.
     Now faced with the reality that they are living in the attic I called an exterminating company. He confirmed the bats were roosting there. After an inspection he was able to locate their doorway to my home. It was openings in the roof. I gladly signed the Nuisance Wildlife Control Agreement. Although there is a list of wildlife control cooperators in the county who will do it for free, I can't wait. I want it done yesterday.  The pest control company is coming tomorrow to exclude the bats. Check back for the update.
     I found this sight quite helpful.
 http://www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/Plants_Wildlife/bats/batsinhome.asp

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