Bats can be found in almost every habitat in Texas. You might be surprised to learn that bats live near humans without us even knowing it. Mexican free-tailed bats (AKA Brazilian free-tailed bats) are the most common bat found throughout Texas but Texas is home to 33 species. 11 of these bat species can live near humans and transmit rabies. Today A Five Star Termite & Pest Control explores bat behavior and offers tips to keep bats away from your loved ones.
How Do You Identify a Bat?
Bats are not rodents. They are flying mammals that do not chew to get into your home, but do have tiny, sharp teeth they use to grab food. Their only food source is insects. Bats are great for the environment as they can eat their body weight in mosquitoes and other flying insects. When a colony is large, consider the huge benefit they are to humans. They can literally eat millions of insects every year! Bats have fur that is dark brown and glossy on the back, with the upper parts slightly paler and grayish underneath. Their wing membranes are dark brown. They measure 3 ½ inches with a 10-inch wingspan, weighing ¼ oz and the females are usually larger than the males.
Typical Bat Behavior
Bats are nocturnal and use echolocation to navigate and gather food. Leaving at dusk to feed and returning to a dark secluded place just before daylight. They will roost in tree cavities and other crevices, like caves. They are most active in the warmer months and hibernate for the winter. When bats are found in homes they can pose a serious health risk. Their droppings contain fungi that can lead to lung disease and histoplasmosis. An accumulation of droppings needs to be taken care of by professionals. Bats can also carry rabies. It can be transmitted when the saliva or body tissue of an infected animal comes in contact with another animal or human. While they can carry rabies, it’s rare to have an encounter with a rabid bat. If you suspect you been in contact with a rabid bat, you will need medical attention immediately.
How Do You Keep Bats Away?
Most states protect bats and it’s illegal to poison or harm them, so it’s vital to secure your home against a bat infestation. Bat colonies can number from 40 to 20,000 bats and damage can be extensive if an infestation gets out of control. When outdoor colonies become over populated, they will move into homes. Exclusion is the only way to keep bats out in the long term. Homeowners should inspect the exterior of their homes at dusk to see where bats are coming and going. Areas that are common for bats to come and go are attic louvers and under fascia boards. Any cracks and crevices need to be sealed with caulk and steel wool because they can get into an opening as small as 3/8 of an inch. Openings to dark, secluded places need to be sealed off as well. Make sure that chimneys and vents are screened, and doors should also have sweeps installed for further prevention.
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Any active bat infestation needs to be taken care of by a licensed wildlife pest professional because do-it-yourself bat control will not work. Contact A Five Star Termite & Pest Control for all your pest control needs!