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A Local Homeowners Faces A Batty Dilemma

By Staff | Nov 24, 2009

HUGHESVILLE – It can happen so easily and so quietly and years can go by before a problem is ever noticed claims Charles Krise from Advanced Wildlife Pest Control LLC in Williamsport.

A homeowner in the Hughesville Muncy area was overwhelmed to discover that a colony of bats had taken over her attic to the point of seeking professional help to remove the potential life hazard of infested bat droppings accumulating in the crawl space attic.

“The size of the colony was extensive and long term with three feet of droppings,” explained Krise who had to call in another company for assistance. “I don’t do cleanouts of this magnitude,” he said. His company is licensed with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to remove wildlife and pests from residential structures. The colony has been here at least ten years or a lot longer.

It took four days to disinfect and clean up the area with the help of Wildlife Pest Control from Bangor, Pennsylvania. The companies were able to work together to remove the old insulation, disinfect all structures and seal up the cracks and vents where the bats were entering through the roof line. This home is well maintained and all stone. One would never think there would be a problem.

“This can happen so easily to homeowners and they wouldn’t even know it,” said Tegwyn Hughes, an inspector for Wildlife Pest Control. If an attic space is limited or the homeowner has very little access to it, and bats have an easy way to get in and out, then a colony can be established and live there for years, long after the homeowner is gone reported the inspection companies.

This East Lycoming homeowner finally called Krise first thing last week when she heard chirping sounds from walls and ceiling, and detected a bat flying in one of the upstairs rooms. This time of year the bats are beginning to hibernate and find a way inside. The first thing the inspectors had to do was close all ways for them to enter. “We do not kill the bats,” said Hughes. “We just keep them from coming back in, and we allow them to leave. This is called the ‘exclusion’ process. Then we go about cleaning up the house and preventing the problem from ever occurring again,” he added. Vents are screened and roof lines are locked down.

This is a fairly common problem for homeowners with limited attic space so caution should be used. Always check for unusual sounds and check attic spaces every spring and fall for detection of bat ghuana. This poses health threats if it goes undetected as allergens, mold and toxins can build and cause many illnesses. Diseases, rabies and histo-plasmosis (airborne mold) can spread and cause flu-like symptoms. In some extreme cases, tuberculosis or even death could result if untreated. “We must also be cautious of white nose syndrome, a new virus that kills bats in the Norhteast. Scientists are not sure if there is a human risk factor said Hughes.

“This time of year bats start to hibernate,” warn the inspectors, “and this particular house may still have some bats wintering over, so it is better we tackle the problem immediately,” said Hughes. Babies are born in June and working on disinfecting the home now will keep the colony from manifesting in the home. Advanced Wildlife Pest Control in Williamsport says they average about five to ten calls a week this time of year. “We are pretty busy between June and September averaging about fifty hours a week,” said Krise.

Covered from head to toe in protective safety gear they removed the old insulation and colony droppings from the affected areas in the attic before they began to disinfect and deodorize. Proper care is given to dispose the waste in carefully wrapped plastic that is taken to the landfill according to Krise. New insulation was added and HEPA certified equipment and filters were used.

It is recommended that homeowners check their attics often and know the difference between mouse droppings and bat droppings. Vacuum regularly.

The companies are also busy with squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, opossums and snakes. These critters get in underneath houses and the licensed pest control inspectors are often called to get them out.