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Knightdale woman stuck with bats for the summer

Posted June 17, 2011

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— Anne Buff has up to 50 bats living in a colony in a vent in the attic of her Knightdale home, but she can't get rid of them until the end of the summer.

A state law prohibits the removal of the bats in a colony during their mating season, specifically when baby bats are present. Pest control experts say if the adult bats were removed, the baby bats, who do not yet know how to fly, would end up starving to death.

Bat mating season typically runs from May until the end of July. 

Buff said the bats were found during the installation of an air conditioner. 

"The guy came down and said, 'Everything looks great except you have bats,'" Buff said. 

Bats make a home in Knightdale Bats make a home in Knightdale

In addition to being unwelcome house guests, they have also made a mess of Buff's backyard. 

"There's tons of droppings out there. Now, I know what they are, and I don't want the kids playing in the backyard," she said. 

Buff called Daniel Glover, who is certified as a wildlife damage control agent through the state Wildlife Resources Commission. Glover runs Trapper Dan's Wildlife and Pest company. 

"When we start getting into April, we'll start seeing bats actually move into structures throughout the Triangle," Glover said. 

Glover said he usually works about 300 bat calls a summer. 

The bats living in Buff's home are a species known as Little Brown Bats, which are commonly found in or near buildings, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

When the bats are mature enough to be removed from the homes, experts say they can be coaxed to fly out through a plastic tube. That exit is then sealed off so they can’t return.

Glover said homeowners can prevent bats in the first place by purchasing mesh screens to cover outside vents and other places where bats might enter, but the screens can cost hundreds of dollars.

Bats have often been associated with vampires in film and television projects, causing some people to fear them. But bats don't feed on blood. According to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, bats eat nocturnal insects including mosquitoes. A single bat can eat 21,000 insects annually.

There are two diseases carried by bats that could be transmitted to humans – histoplasmosis and rabies, according to the museum.
Histoplasmosis is transmitted by breathing fungal spores that are sometimes present in bat droppings. Rabies is most often transmitted through a bite. It can be fatal if not treated immediately. Rabies can be transmitted when infected saliva or nervous tissue comes in contact with open wounds or mucous membranes of the nose or mouth.

Fewer than 0.5 percent of bats contract rabies, according the museum.


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  • jessicabroderick Jun 20, 2011

    I am living with this exact same problem right now in Holly Springs. I too have small children and a deck and backyard that are full of bat droppings. What is wrong with this country and state that they provide protection for bats and not children????

  • flashyswife Jun 17, 2011

    This happened to me 2 years ago in my attic.
    I kept the light on in the attic and did not turn it off even in the daytime. They do not like light so it took about 3 days with the light on for them to leave.

  • BRB2 Jun 17, 2011

    Had bats in the attic last summer. Let them stay until the fall (when the little ones were grown)then put a few lights (cfl's)up there and left them on all day and night. Irritated them enough that they left for darker surroundings over a period of two weeks, then repaired the screens and cleaned up the mess.

    Even though we had NO mosquitoes last year, I turned the lights on this March to prevent their return.

  • computer trainer Jun 17, 2011

    Ms. M, I think that I would be talking to the person who did the work for me last year. Of course, they would have heard me screaming without me having to call them.

    RB, just because you have bats does NOT mean that you are cheap, lazy or stupid, thank you VERY much. We are none of those, but we had bats. We bought a house that we did not realize did NOT have mesh over the eaves. Please stop this putting people down.

  • computer trainer Jun 17, 2011

    You can also make that screen yourself for little money and put it up. Anyone with a little smarts can do that. How do I know? We had bats. You just put the screen up when they have all flown off and when they come back, they cannot get in.

  • mwiggs2 Jun 17, 2011

    Evidently the health of this homeowner takes a backseat to the health of the bats! Sometimes a little common sense should be used in cases such as these...

  • Mom2two Jun 17, 2011

    Lucky them! Free fertilizer and bug zapper!

  • Ms. M Jun 17, 2011

    Had bats last year and was told to wait and I did and then had my mesh replaced, liquid insulation for small crack and cleaned the mess up. I was very surprise to see them again hanging around on the landing of my attic stairs when I opened my door to go up and retrieve items. A few of them got out into the main house and after a bit of screaming and running around, I rounded them up in a net and released them out doors. I am sure they will find their way back. Sigh!

  • mfarmer1 Jun 17, 2011

    I think this is covered by wildlife control, i think wildlife control agents (I was one) are the only ones that can remove the bats (other than the home owner).

    "RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman" i don't think they meant the cost of the mesh, it is about $900 to hire someone to put the mesh on and remove the bats.

    normally what happens is you put poly on the outside of the house in this area, and the bats will fly out in the night, since the plastic is up the bats can't find there way back in the house. after a week the plastic is removed and mesh is put on, and clean up in the attic.

    there is a series of 4 shots that can be given to the tech that does the work to protect him from rabies.

  • westernwake1 Jun 17, 2011

    What if some feral cats just happen to take up residence in her attic.