WHAT IS A BAT INSPECTION?
Bat Watch for Infestation Confirmation
To confirm that bats are actually roosting in or on a building, look for bats flying in and out of a site and/ or for signs of infestation. A bat watch can be conducted by two people (more may be necessary to observe large or complex sites) posted at opposite corners of a structure. An evening watch begins about 30 minutes before dark and a morning watch begins about 1 hour before dawn. Observations should continue for approximately 1 hour.
Such observations can indicate exit/ entry points and the number of bats. With practice, distinguishing some bat species may also be possible. For example, compared to the big brown bat, the little brown bat is noticeably smaller in size, and its flight has more rapid wing beats, and more rapid turning and darting.
It may be necessary to watch for more than one night to compensate for weather conditions, bats’ sensitivity to observers, noisy or inexperienced observers, and improper use of light. Observations can be enhanced with a standard flashlight, but be certain to keep the bright part of the beam as far as possible away from the exit hole being observed. Bright light will increase bats’ reluctance to exit and may result in an incomplete exit of the colony. A valuable observation aid is a powerful, rechargeable flashlight equipped with a plastic, red pop-off filter (similar to the Kodak Wratten 89B). Also, an electric headlamp, supplied with rechargeable batteries and fitted to a climbing or spelunking helmet, allows hands-off illumination outdoors as well as indoors when exploring roost locations. Bats are sensitive to light intensity and can visually discriminate shapes and patterns in extremely low light situations. They can only see in black and white; hence, the low-contrast illumination and soft shadows produced by red light has little effect on bats.
So What To Do? – Contact A Bat Removal Pro Professional
It is not unusual to find bats in homes or buildings, and the presence of bats usually does not result in a need for rabies postexposure prophylaxis. Most (97%) bats tested are negative for rabies. However, because many of the human rabies cases in the United States since 1990 appear to have acquired their disease from an unrecognized bat bite in a home situation, all reasonable steps should be taken to keep bats out of the home environment, especially sleeping quarters.
- not leaving unscreened doors open to the outside
- not leaving unscreened windows open to the outside
- making sure windows have screens, chimneys are capped, and electrical and plumbing openings are plugged
- sealing up all openings larger than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch square into the attic, basement, walls, or occupied areas of the house
- using materials such as expanding spray-on foam, caulk, wire mesh, wood that fits tightly, steel wool (around pipes that enter buildings), or polypropylene bird netting, to seal or cover gaps and holes
- hearing squeaking noises coming from attic, walls, or elsewhere
- inspecting attic space, rafters, porches, and walls for signs of roosting bats, including bat guano and crystallized urine, or bare scratched areas on beams
- walking around the outside of the house at dusk to see if bats are flying out of the house to feed, or before dawn to see if bats are flying into the house to roost
- killing or poisoning the bats is seldom a necessary or desirable solution
- openings should not be sealed while bats are inside–this may drive them into occupied areas or create a sanitary problem if the bats are trapped and die inside
- major home renovations and sealing should be done during the winter when bats have mostly left buildings
- the bats’ entry and exit points should be determined by observing the house at dusk or dawn as described above
- special netting can be used in a manner that allows bats to exit a house, but not re-enter
A Bat Removal Pro professional specializing in bat control should be consulted.