More Than A Winged Nuisance: Little-Known Health Hazards From Home Bat Infestations

Whether they have decided to roost in your chimney, under your shingles or in a backyard shed, bats are a major nuisance for homeowners. Colonizing species of bats search for dark and quiet places to call their home. It's important to contact a bat removal professional to have them removed promptly, but it's not only because they're loud, smell awful and can cause property damage. Bats nesting in your home can lead to health hazards between the fact that toxic fungus readily grows in their droppings and that they are common carriers of the deadly rabies virus.

Histoplasmosis: A Potentially Fatal Respiratory Disease

A certain strain of fungus, histoplasma capsulatum, thrives in bat droppings. Commonly referred to as guano, the nitrogen-rich substrate provides a perfect environment for this fungus to grow and spread. Airborne fungal spores can cause histoplasmosis in humans, which causes respiratory and gastrointestinal distress with symptoms similar to the flu. Alarmingly, histoplasmosis can be fatal in people with compromised immune systems such as children and the elderly. Typically, cases of histoplasmosis occur while people are cleaning and disinfecting the colony after the bats have been removed as disturbing the droppings will cause the spores to disperse into the air and circulate around your home. It's necessary to wear proper protection equipment if you are cleaning guano yourself; a HEPA filtration mask is adequate protection.

Rabies: Bats Are The Most Common Source Of Human Infection

Many people don't know that bats are the most common source of rabies infections in humans. A colony of bats inside your home can be a dangerous source of infection; while healthy bats will leave you alone, rabies causes infected animals to behave erratically and cause them to enter into your home. Rabies can be spread when the rabid bat's saliva gets into your eyes or your mouth; it can also infect you if the bat bites you. Once of the contributing factors to the high incidence of rabies caused by bat bites is the fact that they are often painless and very difficult to see. If you come into contact with a bat that is behaving strangely, you will need to attempt to trap it and bring it to an animal control facility for rabies testing. Rabies requires immediate medical attention, so it is best to be pro-active with your health in any suspected cases.

If you need bats removed from your home, it's important to hire a bat removal specialist that does not use poison or traps. In fact, in many areas it is illegal to trap and kill bats; they serve an important role in the ecosystem, consuming vast quantities of annoying insects every night for food. Instead, an experienced bat removal expert will install one-way funnels that allow bats to escape your home for their nightly hunting trips but not allow them to return to your home. They will naturally find another place to colonize, after which you can begin the cleaning process.