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.

The bats that are on the outside trying to get in, can't, but the netting allows the bats that are inside to get out. We hope! The company also puts up more modern screens and covers on all roof vents, and uses special materials for sealing all entry ways where bats can get in except for one exit. They also use caulk sealant around some of the roof tiles to tidy up the closures that the bats could possibly get in. There were several entry holes that they showed us. The main one was at the peak of the garage roof right in the front. They leave up the special screening for a week to ten days at the lone point of exit, depending upon the daily temperatures, and the bats eventually all exit through that one opening. Then the company comes back out and seals up that last entry/exit. They guarantee their work for a year…Any sign of bats, and back out they come to take care of the problem. Sparky asked, "How do you know if the bats are all gone?" And they said, well you don't for sure, but this method seems to take care of the problem. We just have to watch for bat activity like them flying around and bat guano specks on the garage door and driveway.

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…..

11 comments:

  1. OH my what a struggle to combat the bats!

    I used to be a realtor, and one farm house we were showing had a strange odor... we had one guy poke his head up in the attic and no kidding, there was a MOUNTAIN of bat poop up there... about 5'-6' high and about 10 feet wide! we left.... FAST!

    (the house got condemned)
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    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
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  2. Yikes! That could be the start of an one of those home buying shows stories:(

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  3. It's true having them in your house is a problem. But having them in your neighborhood is great. Wonder what could be done to give them a home nearby but not in people's houses? I'd sure rather have bats than chemical sprays to keep the mosquitoes away.

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  4. You might want to put up some bat houses in the yard. That gives them a place to relocate to and they are great for keeping bugs down.

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  5. Yeah, bats can be helpful, but a pain too. Good you nipped it in the bud!

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  6. Thats great you got it under control when you did, here's hoping that they move out of you house, Maybe Bat houses would be a good idea.

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