Bats are commonly found in residential and commercial properties hiding in dark warm places, like attics and crawl spaces. Why do bats like to use our buildings and homes as their own? The most likely answer is the easy accessibility. Bats are so small; they do not need to chew their way into our properties, such as mice and squirrels. Bats can find access through the tiniest opening in our roofs, desks, garages, attics, and sheds. A temperature controlled environment with plenty of food resources surrounding them is an ideal bat paradise. Unfortunately, these particular spaces fit those criteria quite well.
The most noticeable structural damages to a home or building where a bat colony has been living is caused by their droppings. Bat colonies can range anywhere from a few bats to hundreds, depending on the space they are occupying. With that in mind, overtime, the accumulation of bat droppings can become extensive. Bat guano and urine are extremely potent and noticeable. In fact, most people realize they have a live-in bat colony when they begin to notice the negative effects of their droppings.
For example, the urine and guano odor will eventually seep through the walls and vents, causing a foul odor in the home. Also, the droppings can accumulate enough to begin saturating sheet rock and insulation, leading to costly repairs and replacement needs. The saturation of the droppings will begin to cause the area to slowly deteriorate, leading to structural instability and weakness. This can even lead to a ceiling collapse.
Not only can the actual structures of a home or building become damaged, the cargo inside can become damaged as well, meaning the people! There are health-related issued associated with bat infestations and exposure to their droppings. There is a respiratory illness called Histoplasmosis that is caused from spreading spores in bat guano. Also, rabies is another common scare associated with bats. Rabies is just as common in any wild animal, not just bats; however, it is always better to be certain and avoid contact at all costs.
Another health threat caused by bat infestations is bat mites. These are tiny insects similar to fleas. They are often confused with bed bugs because they have the same effect and look. If there is a situation where an exterminator has to come back several times to get rid of bed bugs, it is probably not bed bugs at all. Bat mites stick around, so long as there is a colony living nearby. Be sure to get the right information before treating these little nuisances.