“HOLY BUG INFESTATION, BATMAN!”

Did you know bats carry blood sucking bat bugs?

Bot on Roof
Every year we receive calls from homeowners who allow bats to co-exist in their houses many years because they like bats and feel the bats really are not causing a problem as far as they  can see.

Western Bat Specialists likes bats as well – and we are always happy to see people becoming more and more informed about how absolutely beneficial these little creatures are.  However, it is not beneficial to have bats colonizing in the attic and walls of your home.  Besides the matter of odor, and the growing deposits of guano and urine, bats carry an “ectoparasite” (a parasite that lives on the outside of the body, such as skin and hair) – the blood sucking bat bug.

Upon seeing the bat bug,  (approximately 2/8″ – 3/8″ in size) many people think it is a bed bug.  In fact, it is a close relative, and is indistinguishable to the naked eye.  Bat bugs feed on bats, and travel to new locations by clinging to their “bat mobile” as it flies about.  If the opportunity exists, it will also feed on humans.  It can survive more than a year without a meal!  When it feeds, it punctures the skin and will feed on the host for up to 15 minutes.  Hmm… this is not a bug that you really want setting up a nursery in your home!

We have received calls from folks plagued with bat bugs and they can be hard to eliminate.  They can move into mattresses, bedding, and bed frames – just like bed bugs.  They live in cracks and crevices, even drapery folds!  As with everything, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Let us exclude and bat-proof your home professionally and humanely – sooner rather than later.

Call us today!

For more information on Bat Bugs Click Here

Bat Guano – Will It Make You Sick?

Bat Guano
Not likely!  You can relax.  A bigger issue is why you have reoccurring bat guano (see picture of bat guano) on your porch.  It might be time to call Batman to see if bats are gaining access into your home.

Histoplasmosis (caused by spores in infected soil, bird or bat guano has also been called “Cavers Disease” and “Spelunker’s Lung” because it would sometimes occur after long exposure to bat guano that had been stirred up by cave explorers.  It can be a very serious disease, although most people infected with these spores will never display symptoms.  It is a disease that usually affects the lungs, and often used to be misdiagnosed as tuberculosis.  It is not limited to just the lungs however, and is very serious (or fatal) when it travels to other organs.  Symptoms can include coughing, fever and general flu like symptoms.

The people who are at the highest risk of infection are those who inhale a large number of spores by working with heavily infected soil, cleaning  poultry pens, working in bat infested buildings, frequenting caves and farmers.  People with compromised immune systems are also at high risk for contracting Histoplasmosis.

In our office, we have heard of families contracting Histoplasmosis from having large deposits of guano in the ceiling of their home.  We have not heard of it being contracted from small amounts of guano being swept away.  However, if you were to develop symptoms of the disease, you should always contact your doctor.

If you have bats living in your structure, you may need a bat “clean out”, or bat remediation.  We are bat specialists in removing guano from buildings and homes, and you will see us using our protective gear and face masks as necessary.

Bats and White-Nose Syndrome

white-nose-syndrome

Bat with white nose syndrome

White-Nose Syndrome is a mysterious fungal disease that has been killing bats hibernating in caves in the Northeastern United States at an alarming rate.  The mortality rate is over 90% in affected colonies.  Affected bats can look like they are starting to mold, with white rings of fungus around the nose, and also on the wings and ears.  The disease is alarming, and spreading at a rapid rate.

Although White-Nose Syndrome is under study, it is thought that it kills bats by wakening them during hibernation.  A hibernating bat awakens only about every 10 – 20 days normally and naturally, during which time they drink, urinate, mate and perhaps change location.  A bat with White-Nose Syndrome awakens every three – four days.  These awakenings use a lot of energy, and a bat that is awakened too much will use all it’s body reserves, and starve to death before winter is over.

Five species are currently being affected, one of these, the Indiana Bat, was already on the endangered list.

This disease is not currently in California or Nevada, but it is having a huge effect in other states on the population of two of California’s most common species, the little brown (in particular) and the big brown. We love our bats and want them to thrive. That is why we do our utmost to care for them, and practice only safe exclusion methods.  If you have bats, consider putting up bat houses for them. (We will discuss bat houses in another blog) If they are in your house, use someone that is a bat professional and has expert knowledge of bats (read about our bat removal experts) and their habits to exclude them. Protect our ecology!

Do All Bats Have Rabies?

Many people are concerned about contracting rabies from bats.  Like many wild animals, bats can and do contract rabies; however, it has been estimated that only about ½ of 1% actually do. Around the world, the vast majority of human rabies cases come from contact with a rabid dog. Here in America, with so many of our dogs vaccinated against rabies, the majority of human cases do come from contact with rabid wildlife. Fortunately human rabies cases are quite rare in the U.S, since rabies is nearly 100% fatal. Once symptoms manifest, it is too late to save someone. Rabies can be easily prevented by taking the rabies vaccine immediately after exposure. You cannot get rabies from guano (bat feces) or bat urine, but some callers have expressed concern about histoplasmosis.

If you have been bit by a bat (which is rare), be sure to go to the nearest hospital for treatment.  Bats by nature are very calm and gentle, so if they do exhibit aggressive behavior such as biting, there is a good chance that the bat has contracted rabies and you do need to seek treatment immediately.

A Bat Bite?

Did it Bite?

If there is any chance that a bat or any wild animal may have bitten someone in your household, you should contact your public health agency.  If you have a bat in your house and are unsure if it has bitten someone, it should be captured if possible, and your public health agency should be called.  If you are confident that it hasn’t had any human contact, it can be released to the outdoors.  It is extremely rare that bats will bite a person.  If bats are displaying aggressive behavior, such as biting, they may have rabies.  Bat Bite

A Sick Bat?

Be aware that bats are not necessarily sick because they hang on your front porch.  Bats like to do this and that can be normal behavior.  It’s normal for them to live under shingles and in attics and to fly around your porch light.  A bat on your front lawn, in daytime however, may be sick.  NEVER touch a wild animal!  And if your cat or dog has had contact, call your veterinarian, even if your pet has had its vaccinations.  Let your vet guide you in what needs to be done.

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