Few creatures generate as much fear in people as bats. Their translucent, leathery wings and little faces frighten us; their swooping and screeching causes panic. They are popularly believed to be carriers of disease, and since time immemorial they have been associated with vampires in popular culture. Even looking at pictures or videos of hundreds of bats roosting in a cave can give us the shivers. It can be particularly alarming to a homeowner when bats take up residence in the home. The presence of bats in the same house with us is not something we are willing to tolerate; frequently people will panic if they see a bat in their home or even suspect they might be in the attic, walls or ceiling.
Fortunately, there is no need to panic! Creature Control’s expert bat technicians are at your disposal. Read on to learn about bats, or contact us directly at 1-800-441-1519 or click here to email us.
Removing Bats from Your Home
If you have bats in your home, its good to learn a little bit about their biology and habits. Not only will this help calm your unease about them, but it will assist you in understanding how bat eviction works.
Bats account for nearly 18% of all mammals in the world and are the only species of mammal that can truly fly. While there are over 1,080 species of bats worldwide, only eight are native to Michigan. The little brown bat and the evening bat are the most common species in the state. These bats form maternity colonies in buildings and homes, which they choose for their warmth, dryness, security and darkness; if you’re “lucky” enough, you might even experience a colony of big brown bats in your attic!
Other species of bats found throughout Michigan forests (but not in attics or buildings) are the silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, hoary bat, Indiana bat, and tri-colored bat. There are no “blood sucking” bats in Michigan and, contrary to popular belief, bats do not “swoop” at people and try to land in their hair. They may dive erratically and sometimes appear to be swooping at you; really they are only trying to get the small insects that are flying around you.
All bats found in Michigan are insectivores that feed off flying insects. Bats are the largest predator of night flying insects. Though most people are afraid of bats, they are very beneficial to the ecosystem. By eating a tremendous number of crop damaging moths (whose larva are crop-eating worms) the bats save farmers an incredible amount of crop damage and reduce need for excessive pesticide applications. In some localized regions of agricultural communities its estimated that bats save farmers over $1.5 million a year in pesticide applications; this of course means the bats reduce the amount of pesticide that is introduced to the environment. They also serve as a natural check on the growth of the mosquito population, something we should all be grateful for. Bats are present throughout Michigan, both in rural areas such as Gregory, Fenton and Dexter, as well as more heavily urbanized cities such as Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing and Oakland County. Consequently, bat removal in Michigan is a common request.
How do I know if I have a bat problem?
Despite the benefits bats give to the ecosystem as a whole, they become a problem when they take up roosting in an attic, soffit vent or barn. How can you tell if you have a bat problem in your home?
The most common sign that you have a bat infestation is a constant scratching sound coming from your attic. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at night or during the day, though usually at night. Note that this is distinct from gnawing, which may be a squirrel or other rodent.
Sometimes a pungent, ammonia-smell may be a sign of a bat infestation (the odor from large amounts of bat droppings), but as the odor only accumulates gradually, it may not be noticed by many homeowners and is not necessarily present in all infestations.
How not to handle your bat problem
An unfortunate misconception many people hold about bats is that they are migratory and will eventually leave an attic or barn where they have begun roosting. This is untrue; bats are not a migratory species and they will not go away if left alone. When bats take up residence in your home, they are looking primarily for somewhere stable and safe to raise their young and roost; in other words, they are looking to find a permanent home, not a vacation property! Bats may take up temporary roosts outdoors between feedings, but they will always return to your home once they have established it as their roosting site. The colony will only get larger until it is removed.
Some online companies are selling ultrasonic pest-control devices that purport to deter bats and other pests by emitting a pulse of sound at a very high frequency that the bats do not like. These devices, which can be very costly, are now generally known to be ineffective and the claims about their efficacy fraudulent. The Federal Trade Commission has even issued a statement warning retailers and consumers that many of the claims made about these ultrasonic devices are “false and deceptive advertising” and not supported by any scientific evidence. Do not waste your money and time on them.
Many homeowners attempt to mitigate their bat problems by erecting what are known as “bat houses,” wooden structures meant to divert bats from the home by providing them with an alternative roosting location. However, since your home is most likely going to be warmer and dryer in the winter than the bat house, nearby bats will still prefer your attic. Bat houses are not a means of eviction; once bats decide to roost in your home, they will not abandon their roost;for a bat house. Bat houses are good to have once the bats are evicted, but are no substitute for eviction.
Michigan Bats, Rabies and Disease
In most cases, effective bat removal is beyond the scope of what a homeowner can accomplish on his own and requires the service of professionals; attempts at bat removal can actually be dangerous for the untrained. Though fears about bats and rabies are often blown out of proportion, (for example, only two to four rabid bats are found in Kent County each year) it is true that bats can carry the disease and that it can be transmitted to humans; as recently as 2009 a Michigan man died of rabies contracted by an untreated bat bite (source). While it is believed only 1% of bats actually carry rabies, any bat you encounter should be presumed to be a potential carrier of rabies. For more information on rabies in Michigan’s bats, please see this informational sheet from the Michigan Rabies Working Group.
Furthermore, guano (bat feces) is very unsanitary and should not be approached or cleaned save by trained technicians wearing the appropriate protective gear. Besides its pungent odor, bat guano can contain the fungus spore Histoplasma capsulatum that can cause a disease known as histoplasmosis if the spores are inhaled. Bats may also carry mites, ticks, fleas and other unwanted pests. Bat removal also involves climbing into attics and up on rooftops, which can be dangerous to amateurs. If you suspect you have a bat infestation in your home, it is safest and most efficient to call the professionals at Creature Control to handle it.
Creature Control: Bat Removal in Michigan
Creature Control technicians will conduct an thorough inspection of your home to identify all points of entry, starting from the peak of the roof and combing over every seam and junction until he reaches ground level. Once points of entry are identified, bat exclusion valves will be attached to the entry points that will both get the bats out of your home and prevent them from returning. Our exclusion process combines a series of properly coordinated valve installations with repairs to points of entry in order to ensure a complete and permanent eviction. All repair work will be done with respect to the cosmetic appearance of your home.
The exclusion process is a detailed and delicate service that requires experience. Creature Control has performed successful bat exclusion work for residents, businesses, municipalities and churches all across southeast Michigan. Bat removal in Michigan is our specialty!
Things to be wary of when choosing a bat control professional
Bat removal and exclusion is a very delicate, time-sensitive process. For exclusion efforts to be successful, it is essential that the process is carried out with care and a maximum amount of professionalism. You should be wary of any wildlife control company that:
- Advertise flat rate services.
- Try to sell regular or yearly “maintenance plans” (wasn’t the bat exclusion done right the first time?)
- Lack a professional appearance.
- Provide estimates without physically entering onto the roof and/or inspecting the roof and soffit areas at eye level and in hand’s reach.
- Offer generic estimates and service plans that lack line-by-line specification and a detailed account of individual tasks performed during the process.
- National wildlife firms that only refer customers or sub-contract services and don’t provide the service them-selves.
What do I do if the bat is flying around my home?
- Attempt to close the bat into a confined space that has few objects in it for the bat to hide in or behind (bathroom, laundry room, or empty spare bedroom).
- Firmly stuff a towel along the base of the door to the room you have closed it into.
- Call Creature Control (1-800-441-1519) and get a Tech sent to the home to extract the bat.
- If you lose sight of the bat, shut every door in the home and be sure to close doors behind you while moving through the house. If and when the bat takes flight again, follow the instructions above.
Commercial Bat Eviction
Few things are more unnerving to your employees and disturbing to your customers than when they come into your place of business and are greeted with a bat flying around.
Creature Control has evicted bats from churches, factories, business offices, and much more. We are experts at both residential and commercial bat eviction. But there is more to choosing a wildlife controller than just getting the bats out; bat removal always requires the identification and sealing of entry points, and it often requires remediation of insulation or other areas damaged by bat guano and other professional repairs.
Sometimes, losses caused by bat damage can be the occasion of an insurance policy claim.
Creature Control is your one-stop-shop for all aspects of bat removal, from the inspection to the bat eviction, from the repairs and remediation to guiding your business through complicated insurance questions.
For more information on the life cycles and habits of bats, check out the wonderfully informative site hosted by Bat Conservation International, available here.
Creature Control is a Michigan based company, locally owned and operated. We service fourteen counties in Michigan, including the Ann Arbor, Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Grand Haven metro areas, as well as bat removal in Livingston County and bat removal in Oakland County. We also provide bat removal services to Kalamazoo, Hillsdale, Marshall, and Battle Creek. Contact Creature Control for any inquiries about bat removal in Michigan.