3 Health Reasons to Bat-Proof Your Anne Arundel Home

3 Health Reasons to Bat-Proof Your Anne Arundel Home

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, has hundreds of waterways running through populated communities like Annapolis, Pasadena and Severna Park. Most of the insect species that bats prefer to feed on need a body of water to reproduce and survive. With a plentiful food source, the only other environmental factor a bat needs to survive is a safe place to roost. Naturally, bats roost in tree cavities, caves and rock cliffs. However, over time bats have learned that man-made structures such as attics, walls, and chimneys offer great protection from harsh weather and predators. Bats are great to have around in your community as free pest control. But when bats are roosting in your attic they can cause damage to your home and put your health at risk.

Bats and Rabies

Bats are known to roost in secluded areas of man-made structures, including attics and walls of residential homes. They usually don’t enter your living space in order to avoid encounters with humans or other animal that may harm them. Most bats that find their way into the living space (bedroom, living room, kitchen, etc.) are usually juveniles that are confused or lost. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 10% of all bats found in the living space of a home test positive for rabies.

How Bats Transfer Rabies

Rabies can be deadly if not taken seriously and treated immediately. There was a fairly recent case when a woman got bitten by a bat and subsequently died of rabies. She was woken up at night by a flying bat, and when she found the bat hanging on the curtains, she opened the window and shook the bat off. A few months later the woman became ill and went to a local hospital with symptoms of heart disease. She was sent to see a cardiologist who then realized she did not have a heart problem but she did, in fact, have rabies. Unfortunately, it was too late for the treatment. Bats have very small sharp teeth, and in most bat bite cases the bite appears as two small needle-like scratches or punctures. In most cases, a bite from a bat reportedly feels like two needle-like jabs. However, several people that have died from rabies didn’t even know they had been bitten by a bat and were most likely bitten while they were sleeping. During the autopsy, a bat bite was found on some and no bite at all was found on others, even though they tested positive for the strain of rabies carried by bats. Most of the people who were bitten by a bat while sleeping and didn’t feel the bite were elderly, young children or people who took sleep aids and were most likely in a deep sleep when the bite happened. While camping in his parents’ back yard, this teenage boy was bitten by a Big Brown Bat on the arm. The image of the bat bite in the photo above has been magnified, so that you can clearly see the puncture wounds from the bat’s teeth. This woman was bitten by a Big Brown Bat on her finger when she captured and removed the bat from her living room. Note how the bite is barely visible.

The Anne Arundel County Health Department urges anyone who has had contact with a bat to seek medical attention immediately. If a young child has picked a sick or injured bat off the ground, that child should be taken to a local emergency room. If you are woken in the night by a bat flying around in your bedroom, it is assumed that you have had potential exposure to rabies and you should get medical attention. In any case, if a human has been bitten or is suspected of having contact with a bat, the bat must be contained and then you should call the Anne Arundel County Animal Control and Health Department so the bat can be tested for rabies.

Bats Carry Bat Bugs and Bedbugs

Bedbugs and bat bugs are so similar in appearance, even Anne Arundel County’s best pest control professionals and exterminators would need a magnifying glass to be able to tell them apart. Thousands of years ago when mankind and bats shared caves together, the bat bug and bedbug were the same species. However, as mankind left the caves, the bugs that went with the humans evolved into bedbugs feeding on humans and other mammals. The bugs that stayed behind evolved to feed on bats and became the bat bug. Bat bugs will also feed on humans and other mammals if bats are absent, but they predominately feed on bats and most often leave with the bats. If a bat or a colony of bats roosts in a home that is infested with bedbugs, it is very possible for the bed bugs to feed on bats as well. Bedbugs will also hitch a ride on a bat to spread between households. The control methods for bedbugs and bat bugs are very different. Bedbug control requires all infested areas to be treated at the same time. If any bed bugs or their eggs remain in the home, then the infestation will start all over again. Bat bugs are controlled by having an Anne Arundel County bat removal company properly evict the bats that are roosting in your home. After the bats are gone, any remaining bat bugs usually die off in the attic or walls. However, immediately after the bats are evicted, existing bat bugs may migrate through the home in search of a new host to feed on. The homeowner in this video pulled a shutter off of the exterior wall and discovered that bats were roosting behind it. The dark pile on the step is bat droppings (guano) with hundreds of bat bugs crawling through it and all over the wall.

Infectious Lung Disease

Histoplasmosis is a lung disease found in humans that is caused by breathing in airborne fungal spores. The fungal spores form in bat guano (droppings) and bird droppings when they are in soil or have decayed over a long period of time. The fungal spores attach to dust particles and become airborne, especially when disturbed. People who do bat guano or bird dropping cleanup work should always wear proper protection to avoid histoplasmosis. In the past Ten years, Mid-Atlantic Wildlife Control has encountered 3 customers who died from histoplasmosis due to living too long with bat guano in the attic and walls of their homes. Two were in Maryland and one was in Southern Pennsylvania. If bats are roosting in your attic or walls, it’s important to have bats evicted from your home as soon as possible to avoid costly bat guano cleanup, attic insulation replacement and possible health risk. If you suspect that you may have bats roosting in you Anne Arundel County home, sit outside in the evening (be sure to have someone watching on all sides of the home at the same time) to see if any bats are coming out around your roof line. If you see bats coming out of your home, contact your Anne Arundel County bat control company at 443-417-3137 to inspect your home and review the bat eviction process with you.

Why You Should Have Bats Removed From Your Glen Burnie Home

Why You Should Have Bats Removed From Your Glen Burnie Home

Bats are great to have around your community because they are nature’s pest control. However, if you have bats living in the attic or walls, then your health can be at risk. Many people are OK with bats roosting in the attic until they smell the bat urine and feces that’s accumulating in the attic or until a bat gets into the living space possibly exposing you and your family to rabies. When bats roost in attics and wall cavities, they sometimes find their way into the main living area of a home. Some bats get into the living space of the home through gaps as small as 3/8 of an inch around the attic access panel or door. They also enter gaps around air conditioning ventilation duct work in attics. If bats get into the wall cavities in the attic, they may accidentally find their way down to the basement through the walls. If the basement has an unfinished ceiling or walls, then the bats can get out into the living space of the home.

The Rabies Risk

During the first week of June 2015, our Anne Arundel County bat removal professionals were overwhelmed with calls from Glen Burnie, Maryland homeowners who were woken in the night by bats flying around in their homes. Many residents had to get rabies shot as a precaution because they opened a window and released the bats. Other home owners who received our assistance avoided the rabies shot because our technicians were able to capture the bats and they were tested for rabies by The Anne Arundel County Health Department. To learn more about bats and rabies visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Airborne Fungal Spores

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in fungus spores found in bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne. Soil, insulation, and other materials that are often contaminated with bat droppings also can contain histoplasmosis. People who reside in a building or home that has a bat infestation, as well as farmers and landscapers are at a higher risk of contracting the disease. Most people with histoplasmosis never develop symptoms and aren’t aware they’re infected.  However, histoplasmosis can be serious and even deadly for some people including infants and people that already have lung or breathing problems.

Damage Caused by Bat Urine and Feces

Bat urine and feces (guano) can cause a lot of damage to a home. Bat urine and feces will stain just about any surface including sheet rock or plaster walls and ceilings. Attic and wall insulation becomes saturated with urine and feces which prohibits the insulation from insulating your home. As bat urine and feces accumulates in the attic or wall cavities you may start to smell an ammonia odor. Urine and feces staining may also be found at the entry/exit hole the bats are using to access the attic or walls. You will see a brownish stain occur as this urine and feces is washed down the exterior wall of the home or building. If you have bats living in your attic or walls, it is a good idea to contact the Anne Arundel County bat removal professionals to inspect your attic or home for accumulated bat droppings. If you have only had bats living in your attic or home for a short period of time, then you may only need a small area of the attic cleaned out. However, if bats have been living in your attic for a long period of time, then you may be in need of a total attic cleanout and re-insulation after the bat removal project is complete.

Bats Carry Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs

Bat bugs and bed bugs look so much alike that it’s impossible to tell the difference between the two without a magnifying glass. Bat bugs will mostly feed on bats. If the bats leave their roosting site, then the bat bugs usually go with the bats and any remaining bat bugs usually die off in the attic or wall cavities. However, bats can carry bed bugs as well. If bats are roosting in the attic or wall cavities of a home that is infested with bed bugs and then relocate to a new roosting site such as a neighbor’s attic, then, yes, there is a chance you may get bed bugs from the bats living in the attic.  Watch this video to learn more about bats carrying bed bugs and how bed bugs can infest your home. If you suspect that you may be sharing your Glen Burnie home with bats, let our Maryland Wildlife Control experts know right away! The sooner we can evict the bats, the less damage your home will incur. Give us a call or contact online to schedule an appointment!