Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Home Improvements > Battling Bats in Your Home

Battling Bats in Your Home

In This Article:

Page 1

In the Nick of Time

Bat-to-human transmission of rabies is extremely rare but not entirely unheard of. If you spend a lot of time working in attics or exploring caves where bats hang out, consider being immunized against rabies.

Around the House

Bat and bird problems are considered infestations. As such, they aren't covered by most homeowner's insurance policies. If defects in construction or products allowed the animals to enter your home, you could be protected under a new home or existing home warranty. Check with your builder or the policy issuer.

For the most part, bats are a good thing. They eat bugs — many of them of the noxious or pest variety — and their feces, or guano, makes wonderful fertilizer. However, there aren't too many people who would want to share their living quarters with these little creatures. And there are some good reasons for not doing so.

It is possible to contract diseases from bats. Rabies, of course, is the best known, but is actually a rare concern with bats, as very few carry the disease and they typically won't bite unless they're royally pissed off. That said, cats and dogs do risk infection if they pick up diseased bats, so it's a good idea to keep their rabies vaccinations up to date.

Histoplasmosis, a fungal disease that can be transmitted by inhaling the dust from dried bat manure (bird manure can contain the pathogens, too), is more of a concern, especially for people with immune disorders.

Bats — or, better put, the large amount of urine and feces they produce — can also cause odor problems and can damage wood. And young bats can drive you batty (sorry for the pun) as they will squeak without stopping if the females are away from the nest.

Bats are also secondary pest transmitters. Most bat colonies harbor bat bugs, an insect that is so similar to bedbugs it takes an expert to distinguish between the two. Where large bat colonies exist and then are forced to leave, the bat bugs will often invade the house, looking for a blood meal from the human occupants.

There are approximately 900 bat species in the world, with about 40 of them found in the United States and Canada. Most prefer natural roosts like hollow trees and cracks in rocks, but some species, especially in urban areas, will make their homes in attics, the areas behind shutters, and even downspouts. Because bats are loyal to their birthplaces, they'll return to the same roosting site year after year. Since they can live more than 10 years, this can be a real problem if allowed to continue.

Like most other pests, the best long-term solution for dealing with bats is keeping them out of your home and in the wild where they belong. With bats, however, it's about the only solution. Chemicals only work when they can be applied in small areas where their fumes can accumulate. Even then, their effect is temporary at best. As the fumes weaken, the bats will come back.

Other remedies, such as scattering mothballs where bats roost or installing ultrasonic devices, have not proven to be effective. It can take up to 5 pounds of mothballs to create a strong enough odor to keep bats from returning to their roost, and you have to keep on refreshing your supply for the best success. Ultrasonic devices may actually attract them.

Next: Page 2 >>

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks