When it comes to removing bats from your attic, one of the worst parts is probably cleaning up bat guano. Our Maryland bat removal technicians have done this on numerous occasions and know all about this unpleasant process. If you are getting rid of bats, be sure to hire a wildlife control company that also takes care of the attic cleanup. Otherwise, here are some steps and precautions you would need to take, as well as a general overview of what you are up against.
What is Bat Guano?
Guano is the formal name for bat droppings, as well as the excrement of a few bird species. If bats are roosting in your attic, they will be using it as a bathroom as well. Flying requires a lot of energy, so bats eat large numbers of insects. A single bat can relieve itself 20-30 times a day and produce several times its own weight in guano in just one week. Now imagine if you have 20-50 bats in your attic—that’s a lot of guano! Summer is when bats are most active and when their droppings start accumulating fast. An Interesting Fact: bats don’t poop upside down. Although they prefer to hang upside down, bats quickly switch to an upright position and briefly hang on their wings and thumbs to relieve themselves.
Damage Caused by Bat Guano
Some Maryland bat species may keep using your attic as their year-round roost. And the longer it takes you to detect the problem, the bigger the pile of guano you’ll have to clean up later. Bat droppings is what makes sharing your home with bats undesirable and sometimes even dangerous. Bats are beneficial to have around and play an important role in the ecosystem, but their droppings can lead to a variety of problems and health risks, including but not limited to:
- Guano in the walls can make an entire house smell bad.
- Bats infected with histoplasmosis may transfer this fungal infection to humans through guano.
- Guano may attract other pests such as cockroaches.
- Bat droppings are corrosive and may damage drywall, wood, metal and your attic insulation.
- Excessive amounts of guano can cause the ceiling to collapse.
Before You Clean
Before cleaning bat guano, make sure that all bats are gone from the attic. At Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control, we remove bats through bat exclusion, which is a harmless, yet effective method. If there are bats left in the attic, cleaning their mess won’t only be counterproductive, but may also expose you to the risk of rabies. Among other precautions, you need to get proper gear and cleaning supplies. We recommend:
- A disposable full-body biohazard suit
- A face mask with a HEPA air filter
- Rubber gloves and plastic shoe covers
- Eye protection
- Plenty of light sources (a head light can be handy)
- A powerful disinfectant
- A commercial vacuum cleaner
- An enzyme-based cleaner
Removing Bat Droppings
If you are dealing with large amounts of bat droppings, we recommend hiring a professional to remove them. Piles of bat guano in a stuffy, confined place such as an attic can harbor dangerous histoplasmosis spores that may become airborne when disturbed. Plus, large piles can simply be heavy and require significant physical strength to haul out of the attic. Now, for smaller attic cleanup jobs, follow these steps:
- Vacuum up any loose droppings.
- Remove and dispose of any urine-soaked insulation.
- Scrub and disinfect surfaces that came in contact with guano.
- For compacted piles, spray them with an enzyme cleaner before touching, then put in a plastic bag.
- Check your local regulations about whether it’s permitted to place bat droppings into regular trash.
- Remove and dispose of your disposable protective gear; remove the respirator last.
But to save yourself the trouble (and to get rid of the bats at the same time), you are always welcome to give our bat removal specialists a call or contact us online. We are based in Edgewater, MD and serve Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania and parts of Washington, DC.