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Though bats are essential to the ecosystem and helpful when they are outdoors, you do not want them inside your home. Outside, they easily consume 2,000-6,000 mosquito-sized bugs in one night. Inside, they bring bat bugs, which are similar to bed bugs and can bite humans, along with unwanted bat guano, or droppings.
The two most common bat species in our area are the Little Brown bat and the Big Brown bat. Many people who discover bats quietly living in their homes never actually come in close contact with these nocturnal creatures. Although bats look scary, they are typically not aggressive toward people. However, bats in attics or other areas of your home can pose health threats through rabies exposure, which is why you should never attempt to get rid of them on your own.
Bat guano can be dangerous in large quantities and arid conditions, potentially causing Histoplasmosis. This disease, spread by simply breathing in the fungal spores from bat guano, causes fevers, chest pains and coughs, and in very severe cases, the disease can spread to other organs. Children, senior citizens and people with weaker immune systems are most susceptible to the disease.
These nocturnal mammals do all of their feeding at night and sleep during the day, which can make it challenging to determine where they roost. Bats tend to hibernate or migrate in winter, so you will not see them when it is cold. They reappear in our area in late March to early April, when they hunt for places to roost until they leave again in September.
Porch lights attract more than just bugs – they also attract bats. Sometimes bats choose to roost near these food sources, and may enter homes accidentally through open doors, chimneys or fireplaces. Many homeowners discover a bat problem when they find a bat indoors. If you have a bat problem, you might also hear strange sounds, like high-pitched squeaks and occasional scratching noises, coming from high inside the walls at night. Another sign of a bat problem is their guano, which has a strong, pungent odor and unique dark color.
A common misconception about bats is that they are blind. It is possible for bats inside your home to see their way to an exit, if the exit to the outdoors is in the same room. If you find a bat in your home, turn on the lights and open all doors and windows to the outdoors to encourage the bat to navigate to an exit. If you find multiple bats or if a bat does not find its way out within a few minutes, you have a problem and should call a professional.
Removing bats yourself or killing bats is unsafe and potentially illegal. Bats typically roost in high locations, and reaching them often requires dangerous work on tall ladders or with suspended ropes. Because bats can carry rabies, they must be handled with care during the removal process. Laws regarding bat removal differ between states and can be complex. For example, in Maryland there is a law against using bat exclusion techniques without prior approval from the state. Three federally protected species of bats can be found in our area: the gray bat, Indiana bat and Virginia big-eared bat.
Our wildlife experts know how to navigate the processes necessary to find and then remove the bats. Using smart, humane techniques we get the bats out of your house and take extra precautions to prevent injuries to people and the bats. To prevent future bat problems, we use exclusion strategies custom designed for your building and surroundings, and sanitize the area to remove all traces of bat guano.