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Bat Control Blog - A Bat Expert's Journal

This weblog chronicles some of the adventures I have had while operating my wildlife removal company in Orlando, FL - Click any of the photos for a larger image and more information.

09.09.2008 - Big Brown Bat Photograph
This is a detail photograph of a Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). The Big Brown is a common bat involved in nuisance wildlife removal, because like the Little Brown Bat, it's a colonizing mammal that likes to live in buildings.  It looks fairly similar to the Little Brown Bat, except it's ...bigger.  It has a wingspan of maybe 10 inches and it weighs 5/8 oz, which while small, is quite a bit larger than your average colonizing bat. I don't deal with Big Brown Bats here in Florida.  I deal with the Freetails and the Evening Bats.  The Big Brown is more common up north.  This photo ...click for more

07.15.2008 - Male Bat Roosting in Tree
Whenever I remove bats from a home or building, I inform the person with the problem that their bats are all female bats, known as a maternity colony. When bats gather in a large group, it's for the purpose of forming a safe haven to give birth to and raise young bats. The exact time of birth and weaning depends on species and latitude, but in North America, it's always in the summer. Female bats only give birth once per year, and again depending on species, often to only one pup. After I tell the person this, I hear the inevitable follow-up, "where do the males go?"...click for more

03.13.2008 - Flying Bat Photograph
Here is my best photograph of a bat in flight. I took this picture inside a customer's home. A bat had gotten inside the house, and was flying around and around. She hid in the kitchen as this bat circled the living room. I could have quickly netted the bat, but I wanted to try to capture a good photo first. Bats tend to fly in repeated patterns. Even when they are outside and about the re-enter their home (your home, I should say), they swoop repeatedly in a patterned loop. This bat was doing the same thing. Thus, I knew exactly where and when the bat would zoom by. On ...click for more

10.23.2007 - Bat Extermination
Today I went to a commercial building, a large department store, with thousands of healthy bats flying in and out. Months earlier, the store had hired their normal pest control company to take care of the bat problem, and they sprayed the bats and the area with bug poison. I found about ten bat carcasses outside. Some of the old/frail had died. The vast majority lived, and the problem persisted, and so they decided to hire me to take care of the bats correctly. Let me get it right out to anyone who found this post in a search for a means of bat extermination - AN ATTEMPT ...click for more

08.14.2007 - How Do I Get the Bats Out?
Everyone always wants to know how I go about getting bats out of an attic. Well it's a trade secret, so bugger off! What I mean to say is, I trained for two straight years on bat removal projects, and the variables in any particular job mean that there's no one way to tell a person how to do it. Basically, if you're a do-it-yourself type person, this isn't necessarily a do-it-yourself type project. Go ahead and rewire your house - you don't need an electrician. Go ahead and cut down that tree - you don't need an arborist. Clogged arteries? Go to Sears and buy the triple bypass kit ...click for more

04.04.2007 - Bats Out in the Daytime?
What are these crazy bats doing outside of the tile roof during broad daylight? Don't they know that the sun will turn them to dust? What could drive them out of their home and into the cursed light of Earth's yellow sun? Could it be the result of... bat repellant? I know, I know, repellant is actually spelled "repellEnt". But a lot of internet users don't know that, and amazingly, more than a few find my glorious wildlife blog by misspelling. Spelling is overated. Okay then, I'll answer the question: no, these bats were not chased out by any kind of magic bat repellent or deter ...click for more

02.22.2007 - Do Bats Carry Rabies?
Bats do carry rabies, as can most any mammal. Bats are of considerable importance, because they are common rabies vector species in North America. That is, most of the documented cases of rabies transmission in the United States over the past 50 years or so are due to infection by bat. The number of cases is not high - I don't have the exact statistics, but I've read that there's about one death in the U.S. per year due to rabies transmission from bats. This is much higher than from raccoons, skunks, or even dogs. The most likely reasons for this are ...click for more

01.14.2007 - Bat Control in Orlando, FL
I took this photo at a bat control project in Orlando Florida, where I live and work. It was a typical case of over 1000 Brazilian (Mexican) Free-Tail bats living in the attic of a building. I had to install steel screens along all of the gaps around the perimeter of the structure. This case was a bit unusual in that the bats were willing to fly in and out of such large gaps. They usually prefer to fly in through tiny gaps, often no more than a half-inch wide. I believe that the reason for this is, and I've never read any corroborating evidence to support this theory, but I believe the reason ...click for more

11.12.2006 - Mummified Bat
Look at this fine looking fellow. It's a mummified bat. I've named him Gordon Marion Butler III for unspecified reasons. It was quite the delight to see this sight at night, when I shone my bright light just right, it looks like it might take flight and bite. Oh, Gordon, you zany mummified bat. If anything, this specimen proves one thing - no, not that bats, Gordon in particular, are handsome, but that they can really cling to stuff. I mean, if you expire and you're still hanging on for dear life, ur death, then you've got a good grip on things. Bats are downright sticky. I guess ...click for more

08.16.2006 - A Giant Colony of Bats in the Attic
Sometimes I see a case of wildlife gone wild so severe, that I wonder what the devil the homeowner was thinking. It's like the guy who sits down in the dentist's chair and has 16 cavities in the seven teeth he's got left. Why was it not addressed earlier? I encountered such a case today when I came upon a large colony of bats living in an attic. This is a colony composed entirely of Brazilian Free-Tail bats. I estimate the size of the group in the range of 1500-2000 members. The full photo apparently contains 91 individual members (according to my expert bat counter). ...click for more

05.22.2006 - Baby Bat - Evening Bat
This is a photo of a juvenile bat. The species is Evening Bat. The females usually give birth in mid-April, so this specimen is probably about five weeks old. I found it exactly as photographed here, lying on its back on the kitchen floor. I hadn't handled a baby bat before, as I do no bat work during the summer maternity season, when the young bats are unable to fly out of the house and therefore unable to fly out of my one-way bat exclusion nets or funnels. However, in this case the baby bat had wandered down from the attic, through the walls, and out into the house, click for more

05.21.2006 - Evening Bat Closeup
This is a close-up photo of an Evening Bat - Nycticeius humeralis. I found it in a home here in Florida. It had been living in the attic of the house with the rest of the colony, but a baby bat, possibly its own, got separated and crawled down the walls of the house, and out into a gap next to the oven vent, and into the kitchen of the home. The adult female bat chased after it, and ended up in the home as well. Once inside, it had no idea how to get out, and was stuck. I was called by the terrified homeowners and when I arrived, the bat was lying down, exhausted. ...click for more

04.04.2006 - Bat Droppings & Histoplasmosis
Do bat droppings carry the fungus that causes the lung disease histoplasmosis? They certainly can, but it's not as common as some bat removal companies might have their customers think. While it's often better to err on the side of caution when it comes to biohazards and human health, it's also important not to get carried away. Look at the before and after photo here. This is considered a very minor case of bat droppings - from a small colony of bats over a short period of time. This accumulation is very unlikely to harbor any fungal growth. The best of ...click for more

03.31.2006 - Bat Guano Cleanup in Attic
Today was the cleanup of bat droppings (guano) from the attic of a home. The cleanup is the final step after all of the bats are safely removed and all of the entry points through which the bats could enter the home are permanently sealed. This was a very simple cleanup case, and not at all bad contamination. First of all, the effected area was above a garage, so I didn't have to deal with any insulation removal. The droppings were all on the sheetrock. Furthermore, the colony was small, and hadn't been in the attic for long, so the droppings had not accumulated yet. It ...click for more

02.03.2006 - Bat Removal in St. Petersburg
I recently completed this large and difficult bat removal project in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is a 4-story condominium, with a very tall roof, and a barrel tile mansard roof lining the perimeter. The tiles featured, as many do, wide open gaps across the entire face of the mansard roof. Literally thousands of gaps, everywhere - at the top row of tiles, the bottom row, and around each and every tile. Bats need only about 3/8 inch of space to get in and out, so this building required a tremendous amount of work, as is usually the case with barrel tile roofs. Though the sealing is ...click for more

01.21.2006 - Photo of Bats in Flight
Do you like photos of bats in flight? Sure, we all do! They're hard to get, because bats fly at night, and cameras don't work as well at night. In fact, most people only get to see stray bats here and there, fluttering about vaguely in the dark dusky sky - or flashing around a street lamp. It's not often that folk get to see a swarm of bats. Thus, it can be hard to get photos of bats on the wing. Unless of course one is sitting on the roof of a condominium in which a thousand bats are going in and out. Then it's easy to photograph lots of bats. I like to look at the shots of the bats on the ...click for more

11.17.2005 - Bat Exclusion Project
Yet another normal bat exclusion project, though I did manage to capture this nifty photo. I don't always have a camera with me, and even when I do, I often get wrapped up in my work and forget to take photos. Also, as is the rule, the best photo opportunities will always come when I have no camera. But this time I did, and I had a large swarm of bats swirling around me, trying to get back into a hole that I've blocked off. Although there's only ...ten bats in this photo, it seemed as though a couple hundred were swirling around me. However, bats are very ...click for more

08.18.2005 - Bats in the House
Few events in my field seem to cause as much gut-fear as live bats flying around in the house. Only snakes and rats seem to do a better job of eliciting shrieks, fainting, and pant-soiling from unwary homeowners. Well first of all, calm down. The bats will not attack. These bats in the home don't want to be there any more than you want them there. Whereas rats often enter the home on purpose - because people tend to store food in the pantry, bats enter homes by mistake. Most people wonder how the bats got in. "Did I leave a window open?" they think. "No you didn't", I ...click for more

07.09.2005 - Mexican Free Tailed Bat
In this particular photo, we see a bat that I caught at a customer's home. One would normally never see me handling a bat in this manner. First of all, my bat exclusions are done with a minimum of stress put upon the animal. The bats are never physically touched - they are removed in a safe and gentle way. Secondly, bats are very fragile. The wings are actually analagous to hands, with a thin membrane stretched across the finger bones. As with any flying animal, the bones are thin and light, and anyone who handles a bat without the gentle touch of a dentist could break ...click for more

05.20.2005 - Does Bat Repellent Work?
Many people seek an inexpensive and easy cure for their problems. Why not? If a pill can cure obesity, it sure beats diet, exercise, and liposuction, right? Magic diet pills sell fairly well. So does wildlife repellent, bat repellent included. Sellers of both "guarantee" that their product will work, and offer countless testimonials. Or your money back! It's not unusual for me to arrive at a bat problem only to find that the homeowner has already attempted use of a magic bat removal product, oftentimes several. Shockingly, the very people who are gullible enough to buy ...click for more

04.18.2005 - A Bat Flying in the Attic
Here we have a photo of a bat flying in an attic. As you can see, the bat is flying away from me. It's not as exciting as a shot of a bat flying toward me, but as with most wildlife, this one would rather get away from the large sweaty hairless biped than approach it (note to ladies - I'm not always sweaty, but when in a Florida attic, it's unavoidable). This photo is actually quite rare, at least in Florida, for three reasons. First, it's usually hard to ever capture a photo of a bat on the wing, because they move so dang fast and erratically. Second, if I can capture a shot of a ...click for more

03.03.2005 - Bat Control Project
I took this photo working on an apartment complex that harbored a very large colony of Brazilian Free-Tailed Bats. The bats entered the apartments via very large gables, which had exposed fascia gaps. These gables were about 60' long, and three stories high. The bats were able to enter throughout the length of the gable, but most chose to enter and exit near the ends, where they had the most clearance. I used six exclusion nets on every gable. Most of the bats used the ends, where I took this shot from atop my ladder. Oftentimes when I'm working in a public setting ...click for more

10.31.2004 - Flying Bat Photo
WooOOOoooOOO!! Happy Halloween! I've come to suck your blood! I mean, I've come to professionally remove the colony of bats from your attic while everyone else has fun partying and trick-or-treating. This is my best photo of a bat in flight thus far. I took it on a normal bat exclusion job. When I block bats out of their home - and remember, I don't trap or kill them - they swirl around, trying to get back in. They eventually give up and go elsewhere, but not before I have a chance to get a snapshot of them flying about. Timing and focus are difficult for me ...click for more

10.02.2004 - How To Trap a Bat
What's the best way to trap a bat? It depends on the situation. If the bat is stuck inside the home and you merely want to get it out, then it's a simple matter - if you know where it is. If the bat is lying still somewhere, then simply take a tupperware container, place it over the bat, and slide a piece of paper or cardboard or something thin underneath, and trap the bat in between the paper and tupperware. Then you can carry it outside and let it go. Please do not kill it. Also, it's usually a better idea not to pick up the bat, because it might be rabid. Most of ...click for more

08.21.2004 - Florida Bat Removal Project
I faced many challenges in this bat removal project. One of the most common problems in bat control lies in reaching the bats. Since they can fly and I cannot, they can easily reach places that I cannot easily reach. In this case, the bats chose to roost in the barrel tiles of this roof, in several areas, including the towers. In order to reach the towers, I had to bring ladders onto the flat roof portion. Interestingly, I had to navigate them up a spiral staircase. Once I got the ladders on the roof, I faced the second challenge - tiles. Tiles are always a pain. I basically have to ...click for more

04.15.2004 - Solve This Bat Problem
I took this photo at a bat project last night, in which a lawyer's building was filled with over a thousand bats. To my great surprise, the owners of the firm left the problem go for many years until they read a story about a lawsuit filed in Connecticut over contraction of histoplasmosis from bat droppings in a public building. Then they wanted to kill the bats, until they were informed that this could result in fines from the Florida Wildlife Commission. Finally, they decided to pay to have me remove the bats carefully and properly. Some say the lawyer's hearts grew three ...click for more

02.22.2004 - Bats in a Barrel Tile Roof
Here we have a Brazilian Free-Tail bat flying out of one of its favorite natural habitats - the Spanish-style, Barrel-tile, Makes-me-smile roof. But mostly it makes me frown, because it's a pain in the butt to get the bats out and seal every last tile. Down here in Florida, fancy multimillion dollar homes like this one have barrel clay tile roofs. The tiles look fancy, they deflect heat, they attract bats. Bats, especially these free-tail bats, just love to live in barrel tile roofs. I've read that the Brazilian (also known as the Mexican) Free-Tail can tolerate heat up to 140 degrees, but it must ...click for more

01.25.2004 - Does Bat Trapping Work?
No, bat trapping does not work. At least, it's not a good way to handle a bat problem. Trapping bats is like, I don't know, using a lighter to cook dinner. It's just a dumb way to do it. No wait, trapping bats is like using a Cuban Cigar to cook dinner - dumb and probably illegal. It's true that many, if not most, nuisance wildlife species are controlled via trapping. If you've got a raccoon in your attic, you've likely got to set traps to catch it and remove it from the property. However, bats shouldn't be trapped. Some uninformed companies practice bat trapping, and bat traps are ...click for more

10.25.2003 - Bat Removal In Miami
This is a fine close-up photo that I took of a Brazilian Free-Tailed bat that I removed while on a bat control project in Miami, FL. They are not nearly as cute as the other common Miami bat, the Evening Bat. Notice the simian brow ridge, the pig-like nose, and the bristling whiskers all about the paunchy face. Yet, the mother bats still take care of the young. Isn't nature a marvel! This particular bat was one of many that I removed from a Miami apartment complex. Most are removed without being touched, but this one accidentally made its way into the home, got in ...click for more

09.04.2003 - Big Bat Removal Project
This is my largest bat removal project so far - a large resort on Siesta Key, Sarasota. They had large colonies of bats living in these mansard style roofs. I, along with several other bat control companies throughout Florida, came to the property to give quotes for the project. The project presented many challenges. First of all, the bats were entering and exiting the mansard roofs through barrel tile. These tiles make a job much more difficult, because the entire surface of the roof, not just the roof lines, must be addressed. Barrel tiles leave gaps at every section where tile ...click for more

04.29.2003 - Bats in a Barrel Tile Roof
Here we see part of the process of the exclusion of a colony of bats living in a barrel tile roof. This is part of a shopping plaza in SW Florida (a town called North Port). I was called because thousands of bats had been going in and out of the roof, causing many problems. First of all, the bats were driving away customers - not only at dusk, when active, but also during the day, due to the noise and especially, the odor. Bats have a very strong odor - both from their droppings and urine, and from their own bodies. A large colony can give off quite a strong odor. In this case, ...click for more

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