Mississauga Pest Control Services: Bats
Do you have a colony of bats in your attic?
Big Brown Bat
Even 1 bat flying around in your house is a strong indication of bats in the attic, however if it occurs a 2nd time then unfortunately you can guarantee there is a colony. Similar to nearly all wildlife situations, exclusion is the best approach for removing bats from your house. Another indication of batsis guano or bat droppings on the side of your house or on the ground very close to a wall. Bat droppings are often confused with mouse droppings but they differ in a few key ways. Firstly, mouse droppings will never occur in a cluster outside in the open close to the wall of your house and bat droppings are slightly larger and more irregular in appearance. Sometimes bats can be heard inside the walls scrabbling about or squeaking. You may see them flying out from a crack on or near the roof of your house at dusk. It is always important to remember that bats are a very important part of our natural environment and are protected. There are 8 species of bats in Ontario but only 2 of them live in buildings and houses. These 2 species are the little brown bat and the big brown bat and they look nearly identical.
What do we do?
Little Brown Bat
The most effective method of bat control is exclusion. A technician will come out to your house and go up on the roof. He will do a thorough inspection to determine the bats major points of entry and potential entry points and describe them to you.One way doors are installed overthe points of entry and then all other cracks large enough for a bat to squeeze through are sealed. The doors do not trap or harm the bats in any way. Bats exit through the doors and then they are locked out. They fly around the outside of the house looking for other cracks large enough to squeeze in. In the case of a large or more established colony it may also be necessary to clean up any droppings present in your attic. The technician will do an inspection of your attic and let you know the extent of the cleanupneeded. This is another service that Mississauga Pest Control Services can provide. There are certain brief periods during the year when babies may be present in your attic. These young bats cannot fly and never leave your attic. If we attach doors during that time of year the young bats will be left behind to die creating a very difficult removal situation. During these periods we recommend allowing time for the young bats to fly.
What should I do if I find a bat flying around in my house?
You can try to remove a bat from your house in 2 ways.
Close the door to the room the bat is flying around in to prevent him from flying out into the rest of your house, open a window,turn off the lights in the room and leave. Hopefully he will fly out the window and leave however this may not work in the winter where outside temperatures are very inhospitable.
- Watch the bat as he flies around. Don’t take your eyes off him.
- Close doors to the room the bat is in to prevent him from flying out into the rest of the house. Keep watching until the bat lands somewhere.
- At this point you can call a wildlife control professional (of course it always occurs at 3 am). You will need to keep a close eye on the bat until the wildlife professional arrivesor if you have heavy leather gloves you can try to put a plastic container over top of the bat and then slide a lid under it and snap it closed. Secure the lid with tape.
- If the bat was flying around areas where people have been sleeping you should call public health as soon as possible and take the bat into your local animal control office to be tested for rabies. If you are absolutely sure there is no chance of exposure then the bat may be released outside up in a tree. Bats have trouble taking off from the ground.
After flying around for a while a bat will grow tired and look for somewhere to land. The most common landing spot is on top of a curtain rod above a window however sometimes they will crawl into some small confined dark spot in an attempt to hide. At Mississauga Pest Control Services we have found bats in many different spots throughout a house including buried in a sock drawer and even underneath the covers of someone’s bed. It is important not to let the animal out of your sight.
Why is there a bat in my house and how did it get there?
Bats leave your attic at night to go looking for food. They feel air currents and follow them in order to find their way out at night. Sometimes warm air from your basement will create a draft as it rises inside the walls of your house and confuse a bat into crawling down inside the wall until he pops out in your unfinished furnace room or other partially finished area in your basement. The bat will then fly around in a panic trying to find a way out. Bats spend a lot of time in caves and so they have a natural instinct to fly up when they feel trapped. Usually they will end up upstairs.
Bats and rabies
Bat bite mark
The vast majority of the recent human rabies cases in Canada and the U.S. have been caused by rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help people protect themselves and their families. Unlike most other mammals in Ontario, bats live in large colonies. Living in such close contact to one another drastically increases the risk of transmission throughout the population. The second characteristic is their tendency to harbor in our attics and buildings bringing them into direct contact with people. Tens of thousands of people in North America are treated for rabies each year after having been bitten by an animal that may have rabies. Health dept. officials in Ontario recommend that anyone that wakes up with a bat flying around in their bedroom should undergo rabies treatment. Bats teeth are so tiny and sharp they can cause a painless bite that might not even wake you. If you find a bat flying around in your home or office it is a strong indication that you may have a colony living in your attic.
How can I tell if a bat has rabies?
Rabies can be confirmed only by laboratory testing. However, any bat that is active by day, is found in a place where bats are not usually seen (for example in a room in your home or on the lawn), or is unable to fly is far more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often the most easily approached. Therefore it is best never to handle any bat, always wear gloves and protective clothing around bats. Warn children to stay away from bats. Bats can also transmit rabies to pets. Protect your pets from this deadly disease by making sure your pet’s immunizations are up to date. Rabies is much more common in bats compared to other animals in Ontario.
Bats and insects
Little brown bats and big brown bats are a very valuable species to man. Both species are insectivores which mean they eat only insects. Bats feeding behaviour can slightly reduce mosquito populations however a single bat colony can significantly reduce the need for pesticides in a wide variety of crops at local agricultural operations. Corn is especially benefited with crop yields dramatically increasing as well as profitability. Bats are one of the only predators of nocturnal insects and significantly reduce populations of spotted cucumber beetles, leaf hoppers, frog hoppers and other species of insects that damage agricultural industries as well as spreading plant disease.
General information about big and little brown bats
Bats possess many fascinating characteristics that distinguish them from nearly all other mammals. They alone have the ability to fly; they navigate by echo location, are very long lived and have existed for nearly 50 million years.Bats are the most successful of all mammals. There are more bats in the world than any other mammal, and yet despite the fact that they are extremely common right here in southern Ontario, many people claim to have never seen one. Unfortunately the most common species in Ontario, the little brown bat has been stricken by a very serious fungal disease called White-Nose Syndrome which may actually cause the species to go extinct in at least the eastern half of North America. Over a million bats have died since 2006. This is the most serious mass extinction of a species ever recorded and scientist believe that little brown bats may be gone in less than 20 years.
Big brown bats
Big brown bats are nocturnal. They tend to have slightly smaller colonies than little brown bats with individual numbers rarely exceeding 150. They seem to be more common in urban areas than little brown bats that are more often in buildings in rural areas.They are quite small with a wing span of about 30cm and weigh about 15- 26 grams. Their fur is thick, brown and silky in appearance with black wing and ear membranes. They have tiny sharp teeth adapted for eating insects. Insects are caught using a highly developed sense of hearing called echolocation where bats make tiny clicking sound very rapidly and then interpret the echo from nearby insects to create a picture of what’s around them. Big Brown bats have a very light fragile skeleton which is why they hang upside down to sleep. They simply do not have the strength in their bones to stand up. Very small light animals like mice and tiny birds generally have much shorter than average life spans however bats are the exception to the rule and may live as long as 20 years in the wild. They are true hibernators spending a significant part of their life in deep sleep. Even during warmer months bats may lower their body temperature and enter a state known as torpor. Usually only females are found in colonies in buildings. They use the warmth in the attic to incubate their babies however they prefer temperatures below32 deg. C. Female colonies are sometimes quite far from feeding sites and females may fly long distances each night to feed. Males are uninvolved in rearing the pups and are fairly solitary during the summer. Big brown bats may fly to a nearby cave to hibernate during the winter but most will actually remain in the attics all winter and hibernate there. Females give birth to twins once each spring between May and June. The young are able to fly after about 4 weeks and will go out to forage with their mothers after that time.
Little brown bats
Little brown bats are very similar in appearance to big brown bats except that the pattern of hair on their faces is different and little brown bats have a smaller wing span of about 24cm. Little brown bats migrate long distances in the fall to hibernation sites deep in caves in Ohio and New York state where the temperature is very stable, just above freezing. A single “pup” is born each spring and is capable of foraging on its own within 4 weeks. Little brown bats may live 30 years.