Bats are a huge issue here in Indiana! We see them during routine inspections, when selling your home, and during insulation inspections! Bats are an integral part of our ecosystem and have a lot to offer us in the right settings. From their biology to what it looks like if you have them in your home, we will go over everything step by step!
Bats are such an amazing part of our ecosystem and have such an amazing life! There are many species here in Indiana. We have the more common found in homes: Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat, and the Indiana Bat. These are the major species we see when inspecting homes with bat issues as these bats have adapted well to living inside homes and businesses. While these are the species we see the most, there are a few other species here as well: Gray Bat, Northern Long-Eared bat, Tri-Colored Bat, and the Eastern Small-Footed Bat along with our migratory species: Eastern Red Bat, Evening Bat, Hoary Bat, and the Silver-Haired bat! All these species are of special concern or are considered State Endangered Species. This means that the colonies are dwindling and how they are removed from homes can be closely monitored and do have some requirements to protect the species.
Bats are from the order Chiroptera which translates to Hand-Wing! These animals are the only mammals that can maintain true and sustained flying! All bat species we see here in Indiana are insectivores, which means they only eat insects and can eat half their body weight in one evening! Bats are the only mammals who do delayed mating, which means they breed in the fall, but don't fertilize the egg til the spring. This helps protect the species in extreme conditions. They usually carry one "pup" per season, but can carry up to two. This is good for your home as they don't breed quickly, but isn't as good for their numbers! During the spring, the bred females create colonies to whelp their pups. During the months of May-August, these pups are being born and are completely relient on mom for nutrients and stay in the nest while the mother gets food. These are considered blackout months for wildlife operators as the exclusion system we use prevents the mothers from returning to the young and can cause massive death. Once the young are old enough to leave the nest, they then separate and create new colonies. From the months of December to March, most bats hibernate to preserve energy. You may still see or hear them during this time when winters like this year happen (major temperature increase then decrease over and over again).
So you think you have bats in your home? Some of the first signs most people have are hearing chirping or scratching in their attic or walls, especially sounding like they are moving downward. Another sign is droppings in the attic, which can also be old evidence. When you find these signs, be very cautious moving forward because, although helpful and amazing creatures, can carry some very dangerous diseases. If you do prefer to do some work yourself, make sure you order the following!
Tyvex Suit – This protects your skin and clothing from histoplasmosis which can be found in their guano (poop).
Mask – This also protects from histoplasmosis and protects your vitals (lungs)
Gloves – This protects you from the potential of rabies and direct exposure to histoplasmosis.
Eye protection- as bats usually hang from the ceiling, having things drop on you while working means eyewear is essential!
Once you have all these things, you can safely attempt any exclusion or cleaning services after researching the proper procedure through the DNR website https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/8450.htm.
If you call Phoenix for help, the following occurs:
1. An appointment will be made to get an in-person inspection and measurements. This is important to find out the extent of the damage and if insulation needs to be sanitized or replaced as well.
2. A quote will be sent via email within 24 hours. This will detail all work that’s recommended and can be changed per the clients wishes.
3. Once the quote is agreed upon, the exclusion process will start. The exclusion system will be installed and left up for a minimum of one week. Once the technician is satisfied all bats are out of the building, the exclusion system will be taken down and the entrances will be sealed.
4. Insulation replacement or sanitization will be performed at this time if the need to do so arose.
I hope this helped educate you, the reader, more on this beautiful species and our efforts to try to help their populations rebound and grow!
Thank you to these sites: