The tropical climate and lush landscapes of Lake Mary, Florida make it an ideal habitat for diverse wildlife, including bats. While these nocturnal creatures play a vital role in the local ecosystem by controlling insect populations, having them take residence in your home can pose significant challenges. In this quick guide, we aim to provide Lake Mary homeowners with a definitive answer to the pressing question: “How do I get rid of bats in my home?” We will cover everything from identifying infestations and understanding potential hazards to adhering to Florida regulations and the importance of professional assistance.
Identifying a Bat Infestation: Signs to Watch For
To address a bat infestation, it’s vital to be able to identify the problem. Keep an eye out for these key indicators:
- Nocturnal Activity: Bats are creatures of the night, and one of the most telling signs of an infestation is their activity during dusk or dawn. If you notice bats flying around your property during these times, it could indicate their presence in your home.
- Unusual Sounds: Listen carefully for unusual sounds coming from your attic, walls, soffits, or vents. Bats can create scratching, squeaking, or rustling noises as they move around. If you hear these sounds, it’s worth investigating further.
- Guano Accumulation: Bats leave behind droppings, known as guano. Keep an eye out for small, dark piles of guano in areas like your attic, near entry points, or on the walls and ground outside your home.
- Urine Stains: Dark stains on your walls or ceilings might be caused by bat urine. These stains could be an indicator that bats are roosting in your home.
- Entry Points: Inspect your home’s exterior for potential entry points. Bats can squeeze through small openings, so look for gaps, cracks, or holes. Dark stains near entry points could be left behind by their oily fur.
- Strange Odors: If you detect a strong, unpleasant odor in certain areas of your home, it could be a sign of bat guano. Bat droppings emit a distinctive smell that can permeate your living space. Brazilian free-tailed bats, the most common bat found in man-made structures in Florida, have a specialized gland on the throat that produces a strong, musky odor that is also noticeable from both inside and outside of an occupied home.
Potential Dangers of Bats in Your Home
While bats play a vital role in controlling insect populations, sharing your living space with them poses certain risks:
- Health Concerns: One of the most pressing concerns is the potential transmission of diseases. Bats are the most common cause for rabies infections in humans, and while human infections are not common, rabies is virtually fatal once symptoms begin to appear. Since the virus is spread through saliva, direct physical contact with bats should be avoided. If a bat is found in a room where you’ve been sleeping or with a small child or someone unable to communicate, the county Health Department needs to be contacted. The bat can either be tested or post-exposure rabies prophylactics can be administered. Another health hazard lies in the form of histoplasmosis, a respiratory ailment caused by inhaling fungal spores found in bat droppings, or guano. While the risk for getting this ailment is low from guano that may be present around the exterior of the home, any enclosed space with an accumulation of guano present poses a significant risk and should be avoided until proper clean up and remediation can be performed.
- Structural Damage: Accumulated bat guano might seem innocuous, but over time, it can corrode insulation, wood, and even drywall. This not only compromises the integrity of your home but can also result in significant repair costs.
- Unpleasant Odors: Bat guano emits a strong odor, permeating your living environment and causing discomfort.
- Disturbances: Nocturnal activity and noise can disrupt sleep patterns and the daily routines of your family.
Florida Regulations: When and How to Remove Bats
In the state of Florida, bat removal is governed by regulations designed to protect and ensure humane treatment. Adhering to the guidelines set forth by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is crucial. Specific guidelines to follow include:
- Maternity Season: Bats, like many other creatures, have a special time for raising their young. In Florida, it is crucial to be aware of the maternity season, which lasts from April 16th to August 14th. During this period, it is strictly prohibited to remove bats from your home. Why? This is the time when young bats, called pups, are unable to fly. Removing bats during the maternity season separates pups from their mothers, resulting in the death of the pups and impacting bat populations. So if you discover bats in your home between April and August, you’ll have to wait to have them removed until it is safe to do so.
- Exclusion Techniques: The only legal way to remove bats outside of the maternity season is through the use of an exclusion device that allows the bats to exit without being able to re-enter. Also called bat valves, bat excluders, one-way valves, or one-way doors, they can be made of a variety of materials or shapes to fit the specific need of the building they are being installed on. No matter what they’re called or how they’re constructed, the process to use them is the same. The exclusion device is installed on the entry points the bats are using and then left up for a minimum period of 4 nights where the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Since bats generally won’t exit a structure in inclement weather, it’s advised to take this into account when performing removal.
The Need for Professional Assistance When Getting Rid of Bats in Your Home
Navigating the complexities of bat removal requires expert knowledge and specialized equipment. Attempting to handle the situation on your own can be risky and ineffective. Here’s why opting for professional assistance is your best choice:
- Safety First: Removing bats requires handling and precautions to minimize health risks. Professionals are trained to prioritize safety and minimize the chances of disease transmission.
- Compliance: Professionals are well-versed in Florida regulations and will ensure that all steps are taken in accordance with the law.
- Effective Strategies: Experienced experts employ effective and humane methods to ensure successful bat eviction while safeguarding their well-being.
- Thorough Evaluation: Professionals conduct thorough property assessments to identify entry points, roosting sites, and potential risks, allowing for a comprehensive removal process.
- Preventive Measures: Experts provide guidance on sealing openings and implementing preventive measures to prevent future infestations, ensuring a lasting solution.
Conclusion: A Harmonious Solution for Removing Bats From Your Lake Mary Home
When it comes to addressing bat infestations in your Lake Mary home, finding the right balance between coexisting with nature and safeguarding your living space is essential. By learning how to identify signs of an infestation, understanding the associated risks, and following Florida’s regulations, you can ensure a safe and effective removal process. Remember, between April 16th and August 14th bats cannot be removed, but your home can still be inspected and evaluated. Professional assistance is the key to achieving a harmonious solution that prioritizes both your well-being and the welfare of these unique creatures.
For expert bat removal in the Orlando area, contact Wildout Animal and Pest Removal. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing humane and effective solutions to bat infestations in accordance with Florida regulations. Your home deserves the best care, and we’re here to help.
Wildout Animal and Pest Removal