Bat removal is one of our most-needed services, especially during the warmer months when bats in and around Atlanta are most active. That's when it becomes a real challenge to keep up with the demand for bat removal. But we also get some bat-control calls during the cooler months, especially during mild winters.
A lot of people are afraid of bats. That's kind of a shame because bats are very interesting, overwhelmingly beneficial animals who play an important role in our natural ecosystem. For example, if you hate our Atlanta mosquitoes, then you should thank bats that there aren't even more of them, because mosquitoes are a delicacy for bats. The bats of Georgia collectively eat millions of mosquitoes every night.
In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a single bat can consume between 600 and 1000 insects every single night. Think about that for a while. Just the thought of that many more mosquitoes makes you want to start scratching. And because mosquitoes are much bigger disease vectors than bats are, bats actually help keep us healthy by dramatically reducing the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.
Let's take a few moments to talk about bats before we talk about how and why to control them.
Well, technically not a class, but an order. Bats are neither rodents nor birds. They're the sole members of the taxonomic order Chiroptera, which means "winged hand." A bat's front leg can be compared to a very short arm to which a very large hand with very long fingers is attached. The fingers have membranes extending between them, and when the bat stretches out its fingers, those membranes form wings.
In other words, a bat's wings are actually its hands, with webbing stretched between the fingers. They are the only animals in the world who have wings built like that.
Bats are unique among mammals because they can take off and gain altitude from a resting position, maintain sustained flight, and perform complex maneuvers while in flight. No other mammal can do that. Flying squirrels really can't "fly" so much as they can glide, nor can they gain altitude or perform complex maneuvers.
There are at least 16 species of bats that we know of in Georgia. Two of them, the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus), account for almost all of the bat control work performed by Georgia bat control companies. The rest usually don't colonize homes or other human-occupied buildings.
Like bats in general, both of these bats are protected under both federal and state wildlife laws. That's why there's no such thing as a "bat exterminator." Anyone who controls bats in a way that deliberately kills them or causes them harm is committing a crime. Bats are controlled by exclusion, or what a lot of folks call "bat-proofing." That means waiting until the bats leave the house or building -- which they do pretty much every night anyway -- and then sealing them out.
Bat exclusion is very detailed work that requires specialized knowledge of bat biology and behavior, the ability to use a wide range of tools, and specialized materials and equipment. That's why very few do-it-yourself bat-proofing jobs are successful. The same is true for most bat exclusion work done by handymen, roofers, and carpenters. Very few people other than animal control specialists have the knowledge, experience, and tools needed to permanently seal bats out of a home or other building.
The problem with bats is that as helpful as they are, like all animals, they do carry their share of diseases. When bats get into homes, lofts, church steeples, or other buildings used by humans or domestic animals, they create a health hazard. Bat guano (poop) contains germs and fungi that can cause serious diseases, and bats can have ectoparasites like fleas, ticks, mites, and bat bugs. Some of these arthropods can transmit diseases.
Bats also have a fairly high incidence of rabies, although not as high as some people think. According the the CDC, it's somewhere around 6 percent, on average, among bats that were turned in to be tested. The percentage of rabid bats in wild populations may actually be lower.
Nonetheless, even at 6 percent, that means that the average bat colony in a house includes at least some infected bats. Given that we're talking about an incurable and particularly gruesome disease, even a small number of rabies-infected bats in an attic is something to be concerned about.
What is comes down to is that as much as we love bats, we don't want them living in our homes, schools, houses of worship, or other human-occupied buildings.
When we do a bat-removal and bat-proofing job, we make sure to clean up after the bats. They're not the tidiest critters. We clean up and haul away the guano, and if needed, we can also replace the contaminated insulation. This is especially important if you have a heating or air-conditioning unit in the attic. You don't want to be blowing all those germs and fungus spores from the bat guano throughout your home. (Please note that guano removal and insulation replacement, if needed, are quoted separately from bat removal and exclusion.)
In a nutshell, bat control is not an easy job. It requires a lot of skill, experience, and specialized equipment. But no worries. At Rid-A-Critter, we have all of those things. We can handle any bat-removal and bat-exclusion job, whether it's at a home, church, school, or industrial building. We can take care of the entire job, from obtaining the permits, to hauling away the guano. And we stand behind our work with the best warranty in the business.
If you have a problem with bats and are located anywhere within Metro Atlanta, please contact us for an inspection and estimate. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.
Here are a few randomly-selected pictures of some of the thousands of bat control and bat-proofing jobs we've done in and around Atlanta. And here's a video that Jason took of a young bat he found in a house in Atlanta, and another bat video that Jeff took at a house in Atlanta.
Bats temporarily sealed out of a house
Bat entry gap in Marietta
Bats in Atlanta roosting behind the shutters
Bat guano and stains on a gable vent in Atlanta
Bats sealed out of an attic in Marietta, Georgia
Bat hole in a window frame in Sandy Springs
Bat entry hole into a house in Atlanta
New bat colony in the attic of a house in Atlanta
Bat entry gap in McDonough
Bat entry gap into an attic in Atlanta
How a bat problem in Atlanta began
Bat control job at a commercial building
How bats got into a house in Grayson
Bat stains on a gable vent in Stockbridge
Bat entry gap in a house in Kennesaw
Bats in attic vent at an Atlanta bat removal job
Bat guano in a loft
Bat entry behind the frieze board in Atlanta
Bat guano in the attic of a house in Fairburn
Bat entry point into a house in Stone Mountain
Bat entry gap into an Atlanta home
How bats got into a house in Tucker
How bats got into this house in Atlanta
Bat entry point into a house in Atlanta
How bats got into a house in Monroe
Bat entry hole in a house in Johns Creek
Bat entry gap into a house in Berkeley Lake
Pile of guano at an Atlanta bat removal job
Droppings and rub marks are signs of a bat problem
Guano and filth at Marietta bat removal job
Bats sealed out of an attic in Peachtree City
How bats got into an Atlanta home