Active bats in July more likely to come into contact with people, transmit rabies, infection and bed bugs
Hamilton, ON — While most people wrongly fear bats because they get tangled in your hair or suck your blood, the truth is that bats can cause much more serious health concerns that local residents need to be made aware of. Buildings are increasingly becoming preferred breeding grounds for bats. They can fit through an opening the size of a dime and roost in a colony that can grow into the hundreds. Home and business owners need to be made aware that bats found in a living or work space are a serious health concern and is often a sign of more bats living in the attic, roof or walls. Rabid bats and human contact with bats is on the rise in Ontario.
Brown Bats Common in Ontario Can Carry Several Diseases
- A bat can produce several times its own weight in waste each month. Bat feces, if inhaled, can cause histoplasmosis, which is characterized by flu-like symptoms. The very young, very old and those with impaired immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness.
- Although most bats are not rabid, they are the most common species to carry rabies. Symptoms can take up to one year to appear, and if not treated before that, serious illness and death can result.
- Bed bugs are becoming a growing problem in urban areas in Ontario. Bats are common carriers of bed bugs, and when removed from a house or business, the bugs look for another host – such as pets and people. Bites can cause serious itching and welts.
- Local health departments warn people that come into contact with bats to seek medical attention and possibly receive rabies shots. Bat bites can often go undetected and their saliva can infect the eyes, mouth and open sores.
Difficult to Detect, Remove and Exclude Bats Without Professional Help
- Health departments do not recommend people remove bats themselves because of potential health risks.
- Brown bats are very difficult to detect in walls, attics and roofs. Humane Wildlife Control uses special tools and techniques to find bats and remove them.
- Simply plugging a hole in the eaves may not solve the problem. Bats feed on 24-48 hour cycles and half the colony may still be inside if you seal their exit points.
- There are numerous places in a building a bat can enter. Only proper sealing can ensure that they do not enter or return.
Many “Fly by Night” Operators Use Ineffective, Inhumane Tactics
- Homeowners and property managers should check to see if the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and has a good reputation.
- Good operators will guarantee their work – both the removal of the bat and making sure they don’t come back (exclusion).
- Humane Wildlife Control uses humane methods that reflect the specific behaviour and needs of bats. For example, we will not remove them during breeding season. Many unethical operators will kill the bats or remove mothers from their babies.
Corey Lewis, field operations manager with Humane Wildlife Control and former Environmentalist of the Year says, “Bat issues should be dealt with swiftly, and not allowed to spread throughout the home. Since bat colonies tend to double in size each year, it doesn’t take long for a few bats in the attic to become a major infestation of several hundred individuals.”