We have a storage room where we keep our pool supplies, floats, yard tools, and fishing gear. Saturday morning I walked in and noticed a small pile of droppings in the middle of the floor. My first thought was that a rodent had gotten in and left us these presents. I thought it was strange that they were only in the center of the room since rodents tend to stay close to walls and other construction features. Upon closer examination I could see that the droppings contained various pieces of insects and I thought, “Oh, these look like…” I looked up and there she was, the cutest little brown bat attached to the rafter (which actually is the floor joist for the porch above the storage room).
I ran inside and excitedly said to my wife, “Come look you’ve got to see, there’s a bat in the storage room!” She came down and said the same thing I thought, “Aww, it’s so cute!” Then she asked, “What are you going to do with it?” I explained that I would have to find out where it got in and then once it left that night to feed I would seal it up so it couldn’t get back in. She took pictures and posted them on facebook which started multiple conversations about bats. Some people asked, “Why not just leave it since they eat lots of insects?” This is true, bats do consume lots of insects (especially mosquitoes) and we have seen many of them flying around at night. A bat can consume up to one third of its weight in insects in one night, including nearly 3,000 mosquitoes. I, for one, welcome their presence. However, having one residing in your home is a different story. Bats can bring a variety of ectoparasites such as fleas, lice, and bat bugs. They can also carry a number of diseases, most notably rabies. Having a bat living in our storage room wouldn’t bother me so much except that we have kids going in there bare-footed to retrieve pool toys and it wouldn’t be good for them to be walking through piles of guano. Bats and their roosts are protected by a number of wildlife laws because they help reduce insect populations and pollinate plants. The government does recognize that bats can occasionally be a nuisance when they enter structures and recommends bat-proofing or exclusion rather than killing them. However, some states will only let you exclude bats during certain times of the year. If you have a bat problem check with your local wildlife department on what rules and regulations they have in place for bat exclusion. If you hire a pest control company to do the work, make sure they are licensed for wildlife removal.
We named our little bat “Beatrice”. After inspecting the storage room I found two possible entry points. That night, once Beatrice left, I sealed off the area that I thought was the most obvious. I chose the wrong one because the next day she was back in the bat cave (what we now call the storage room). On the second night I opened the door to the bat cave and shined a light where Beatrice had been sleeping and all was clear. So I walked in only to be dive bombed by Beatrice who was flying around in circles. After letting out a girlish scream I ran out and waited for her to leave. Once she was gone I sealed the other entryway and bid farewell to Beatrice the little brown bat. Perhaps my next project will be to build a bat house for any other bats looking for a place to spend a few nights.
If you have bats or other wildlife that needs to be removed from your home, call 1-800-Terminix to see if they offer wildlife removal in your area. If not, they may be able to recommend a reputable company to help you out.