When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind. They are neither rodents nor birds. They will not suck your blood. The best protection we can offer these unique mammals is to learn more about their habits and recognize the value of living safely with them.
Bats do a lot of good things that help humans. Bats play key roles in ecosystems around the globe, from rain forests to deserts. During the summer months, bats are out doing what they do best--eating insects. During the winter, they either migrate to other areas or hibernate. Bats living in our neighborhood are a benefit because they help keep insect populations under control. Bats living in our homes can be a nuisance, however. In addition to the nuisance, bats can also transmit rabies.
A home which has been a roosting place for bat colonies in the past can be sealed and screened to prevent their return next spring. If bats are present, do not touch or disturb them. Do not seal bats inside your home. Bats can best be excluded when the weather warms and they become active. Exclusion should not be performed when young bats are present in the spring or early summer. The safest time to exclude bats living in the home is in the fall after the young have learned to fly and the entire colony can leave. You may wish to hire a bat exclusion specialist for this job.
Guano and dead bats can be picked up using a square point shovel or similar tool, double bagged in heavy plastic bags, and disposed of in the trash can. Avoid stirring up dust; sweeping or vacuuming should be avoided if possible. Wear a good quality particulate mask, protective eyewear, long sleeve clothing, and rubber gloves to minimize exposure to molds, bacteria or viruses which might be present in the debris. Dust control and disinfection can be accomplished using a chlorine bleach solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water) or a commercially available household disinfectant. Thoroughly launder clothes worn during the cleanup. A shower is also advisable after the job is over.
More Useful Information and Links on Bats:
A public health guide with information regarding Bats and Rabies.
Informational flyers--Learn what you should know about bats.
If you find a bat in your home--DON'T LET THE BAT OUT