Sunday, January 5, 2014
Batman Comes to Bradenton!
We've been watching the Nuisance Wildlife Removal truck visit our street regularly for the past two months, and we were wondering why…Well, now we know…BATS have come to the neighborhood--well, they've always been around due to the insects and other tasty bat (insect) food around all the ponds here and in the trees, but they are getting up into the tile roofs in the neighborhood to roost. First, the truck came to a house a few doors down the street, then another house and another, coming closer and closer.…At least three houses on our street alone had bat problems.
Bats can fit into openings less than one inch! Bats are protected, so you can't trap them and kill them. During the bat maternity season, April 15 to August 15, bats cannot be handled at all. However, the quicker they are managed, the less damage they can cause. Bat guano (bat poop) is very acidic and can eat through roof underlayment as it starts to accumulate, and also stain and damage painted surfaces. It also smells really strong and it's an awful smell. The guano carries spores for the disease histoplasmosis, a disease that affects people's lungs. The guano is very toxic to humans.
Eldy goes out to get the paper every morning, and we were starting to heave a sigh of relief that they had moved on out of the neighborhood, when SWOOSH! SWOOSH! SWOOSH! A cloud of bats surrounded his head and they were flying all over the place, over 50-100 of them! SLAP! against the tile roof on the garage. SLAP! Another one flew and hit the garage roof. They were trying their darndest to get into small openings at the edges of the tile. They came flying in like jets coming into an aircraft carrier. They almost seemed to take turns working their way in. We found out later, that they poop just as they come in for their landing. We watched in shock. We couldn't believe how many were flying around. We saw three or four manage to squeeze into a narrow opening and disappear into the tile. CRAP! Time to call Nuisance Wildlife Removal…This was the company that had done the work for three previous houses on the block.
They came out and proceeded to show us where the bats were getting in. Bats go for the highest point on the roof at the peak to start. They said we had jumped on this and caught it early. They estimated about 50-80 bats had already taken up residence in the tiles of the roof and had been there for a month or two. They could tell this by the amount of bat guano droppings on the roof tiles, our garage, and driveway. It's tiny stuff. Sparky thought it was just insect residue. It looks like specks on the garage door. The colony will continue to grow and continue to deposit bat crap all over the place inside where they are unless we have something done. Both the young man and the lady assistant manager of the company said they could hear the bats as soon as they walked up the driveway. "Can you hear that?" she asked. Eldy, who is much harder of hearing than Sparky, said no. And Sparky was reluctant to admit, she couldn't hear the bats, either. It's a very high pitched sound. (The first frequency to go in elder hearing, don't you know….) Sigh…When the guy walked around on the roof, the bats really kicked up the complaining, she said. We still couldn't hear it.
The company first seals off all possible entries except for the one that appears to be getting the most use, they can tell which one by the amount of visual bat guano, like black and grey stains on the tiled roof and soffit area. They use a black Scotch Brite type scouring pad material in big sheets cut into wedge sections, then jam them up and under the roof tiles at the roof edges. Then they use a type of mesh netting hung with metal clips clip it over the one remaining opening.
They told us different stories about people who ignore the problem and try to take care of it on their own, like pressure washing under the tiles to try and wash the bats out, which is illegal. One house where the homeowner refuses to properly eliminate the problem has over 300 bats in the roof! Within a few months, the acidic bat poop will eat through the underlayment of the roof and that homeowner's problems have only just begun.
Nuisance Wildlife, a local company, guarantees their work for a year, and the professionalism and knowledge that they possess and demonstrated to combat the bat problem along with their reasonable fee was a winner for us, so we hired them!
So here we are….It was almost a full day's job….The installer is placing the "Scotch Brite" pad wedges under the side roof tiles….After sealing all the other openings, covering the roof vents and placing the screen at the front opening, he was done. He'll be back in a week or so to take down the screening and we should be ok.
Here's hoping the bats move on! Sorry, neighbors, you might be next! Up and coming, a visit from Eldy's sister and brother-in-law, and they want to do everything we've posted in our blog! But they will only be here a week…so we'll see what we can jam in…..Until later…..