Bats: Helpful Or Harmful?◀ Back To Blog
August 2, 2014
For a lot of people, there is something about bats that just kind of makes their skin crawl. You probably wouldn’t envision a bat as being a shy, gentle and intelligent creature but they are. They have an average lifespan of 25-40 years and they generally have 1 pup per year. The number of bats in the United States is declining at a pretty rapid rate thanks mostly to White Nose Syndrome.
A lot of the uneasy feelings people have about this flying mammal come from myths. In fact, many people go through their life without ever seeing a bat. Bats are nocturnal so they tend to come out at night, while most of us are sleeping. While many have been taught to believe bats are blind, a lot of them aren’t. In fact, many species of bats can see as well as we can. While we often think of bats as swooping towards people they are actually capable of traveling at very high rates of speed using a sonar-like system to navigate through the dark. Their sonar can tell them how close they are to something, how fast that object is moving and the size it is. You may have even heard horror stories about bats swooping down and getting entangled in hair when in actuality, they don’t do that either. If you ever do see a bat (which is rare), and it swoops down towards you, it’s not trying to get you, it’s likely trying to get the bugs around you.
Bats can actually be very beneficial to your home and the environment as a whole. Bats can pollinate flowers and also distribute seeds. There are even some seeds that wouldn’t be spread at all if it wasn’t for bats. They can also be great for pest control. A lot of species of bats eat bugs, some even eat other small mammals, keeping the pest population under control.
While there are a lot of myths out there about bats, the truth is that no one wants them in their home, no matter what. Most of the time bats live in caves and tree cavities, they do occasionally make it inside of buildings. Not only can they make a lot of noise but they leave behind a lot of droppings. These droppings (even outside) can cause a pretty nasty stink that can attract bugs.
Bats can also transmit some pretty serious diseases. Rabies is a pretty common disease found in bats. Bats can also transmit histoplasmosis and can carry parasites. The good news is, bats (even if they are rabid) rarely bite, and the diseases that could be transmitted rarely are unless you try to handle a bat or its droppings on your own. It is important that you never touch a bat, whether it is dead or alive. If you think you have bats inside your home, you should contact a pest control professional immediately so they can take care of it for you, keeping your risk of exposure to a minimum.
There are some things you can try around you home to make it tougher for bats to get inside. First, do an inspection of your home and make sure any holes, cracks or crevices are filled. Make sure you check areas high off the ground as well. Installing a chimney cap with wire mesh can keep bats from getting in through the furnace vents or the chimney. You can also swap out regular outside light bulbs from yellow lights that attract less bugs, in turn attracting less bats. You should also try to keep your windows and doors closed after dark. If you need help with the home inspection or sealing off cracks and holes, you can contact a pest control professional.