Bats—in all their leathery-winged, fuzzy-faced glory—are staples of Halloween lore and decor, much like spiders. It’s easy to see why bats are associated with spooky, creepy Halloween tales, due to their almost ghoulish or goblin-like appearance, nocturnal habits, and one particular species even having a taste for mammal blood. Many people also (misguidedly) believe that all bats have rabies.
With all this in mind, you might wonder: are bats a pest? As experts in pest control, we have the answers you’re looking for, so read on to learn more.
Are Bats a Pest?
Despite their reputation, there’s no denying that bats play an important part in the food chain and in controlling the insect population. Most species of bats are insectivores and they’re not very picky eaters. Whether they’ve come across beetles, moths, mosquitoes, or any other flying sort of insect, even the smallest bats can eat up to one thousand bugs each hour of their night, with larger mother bats catching up to four times as much to feed their babies!
Although we can appreciate bats serving as mother nature’s mini pest control agents in the great outdoors, we consider bats pests when they’re hanging out in homes and business buildings where they don’t belong.
Obviously, most people don’t want their home to double as a bat cave at all. And there’s a good reason for it. Bats are considered pests for the serious health and safety risks they can cause pets and people who come into direct contact with them or the spaces they’ve occupied. These concerns include:
Like we mentioned, many people believe all bats harbor rabies or other diseases. Although less than one percent of bats have rabies—and most avoid any contact with humans at all—they can carry other diseases or ectoparasites, such as mites, ticks, chiggers, and fleas. In many cases, additional pest control is needed to get rid of these illness-causing ectoparasites after the bats themselves are removed from the home.
The best way to ensure you don’t get an illness or disease from a bat is by never trying to handle one yourself. If you have a bat problem in the home, call an exterminator or pest control agent who is equipped to safely remove the creature from the premises.
Also keep in mind that bats often live in colonies and fly in numbers, so you don’t want to skip calling on a professional for help. An expert will know to inspect for multiple bats and ensure none are trying to stick around.
Bat droppings, also known as bat guano or bat poop, are not only messy and smelly: They can be extremely toxic to breathe in the dust or fumes, which often carry a type of microscopic fungi that’s harmful to humans.
It is not recommended to try and clean up bat guano without protective gear and plenty of ventilation and careful measures should be taken for discarding the droppings, such as tightly sealing trash bags and disposing the contents in an outdoor trash receptacle.
An important step in cleaning dry guano is to spray water on it first to loosen it from surfaces. Once droppings themselves have been disposed of, sanitize surfaces with bleach.
Pest Control Experts You Can Trust
If you suspect bats are hanging out in your home, it’s time to call a pest control expert to investigate the situation thoroughly, get them off of your property, and implement long-lasting prevention.
Our team at Vulcan Termite & Pest Control has proudly served families in Alabama since 1965, and we would love to help you too! Call us at 205-663-4200 or contact us online today to learn more about our affordable, highly effective pest control solutions.