Humane bat removal and exclusion in the Metro Atlanta area is one of our most-needed wildlife control services, especially during the warmer months when bats are most active. That's when it becomes a real challenge to keep up with the demand. But we also get some bat-control calls during the cooler months, especially during mild winters.
Many 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 nature. For example, if you hate mosquitoes, then you should thank bats that there aren't even more of them. The Atlanta bats bat community 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 to form wings capable of true flight. They are the only animals in the world who have wings 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 can glide from a high point to a lower point with impressive accuracy, but they can't gain altitude nor perform complex maneuvers in flight.
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. We treat bat problems using a safe, humane, non-chemical approach called bat 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 CDC, it's somewhere around six 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 six 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-removal and bat-proofing jobs we've done in Metro 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.