Bats – in particular, the migratory Mexican Free-tailed Bat are a great benefit to our local, Texas hill country environment as they benefit our agricultural business and they consume huge amounts of insects.
Though, bats sometimes create an annoyance when they roost in structures in large numbers. Why do bats roost in buildings? Are they hazardous? What is the best way to handle bat pest problems?
Some bats move into buildings because they have lost their natural habitats in caves and trees. They may cause no problems; but when large colonies roost in facilities, they can cause noise, odors, and piles of feces. Like other wild animals, some bats contract rabies. Although only very small proportions are infected, any bat found on the ground is more likely to be sick or injured. Neither adults nor children should handle bats, or for that matter, any other wild animal. If there is any possibility that a student or school employee may have been bitten or had direct contact with a bat, the animal should be captured/collected and submitted to the local health department for rabies testing. The protocols explained further in this document describe handling procedures.
Bats that end up indoors by chance, often cannot find their way out. Trained, designated district personnel or our local animal control responders can safely capture these. Usually, a bat is captured by simply waiting until the bat lands on a wall or ceiling, then carefully placing a box, coffee can or net over it. Slide a piece of cardboard between the box (or can) and the wall (or ceiling) so the bat is contained. If the bat needs to be tested for rabies, animal control will be contacted. If no one had direct contact with the bat, it can be turned over to a wildlife-rescue organization in our area or simply released outside away from people and pets.
Bat colonies can roost in attics, under eaves, or in the walls of buildings. These bats can be safely evicted and CCISD will work collaboratively with local animal control, bat conservation organizations, and professionals especially trained to utilize safe, exclusionary techniques to permanently expel bats. It is not legal to use pesticides against bats, and poisons often result in sick bats that can end up on the ground where they are more likely to be found by children or pets. Bat “traps” are also inappropriate, since they usually result in overcrowding that kills or weakens bats and, again, increases the possibility of sick bats finding their way to places where they could have contact with people. Only proper bat exclusion techniques help to ensure the health and safety of people, while ridding buildings of nuisance bat colonies. Help protect both social and ecological health with proper bat exclusion methods.