Alabama is home to thirteen species of bats. Two species,
Indiana bats and Gray bats are listed as endangered. Indiana bats have recovered their population levels to a healthy number, but Grey bats have not been so lucky. Both remain under federal protection.
Fear and misinformation have caused humans to persecute these gentle creatures almost to the brink of extinction. Bats do not attack people. They eat insects like wasps, bees, ants, mosquitoes, cucumber beetles and moths. Only three species of bats eat blood, and they live only in South and Central America.
Bats can carry rabies, but not more so than other animals like foxes, coyotes, or raccoons. In the last forty years, there are only 10 cases of humans getting rabies from bats in Canada and the U.S. combined. Alabama bats serve us well by consuming up to 1,200 insects an hour as they hunt for prey above the canopy on a warm summer evening.
While most people generally think of bats living in caves, in the summer time bats actually roost behind bark, in Spanish moss, in tree's, and in man made structures such as buildings, barns, and bridges. A bat may mistakenly enter your home through an open door, chimney or window. If this happens, open the doors and windows and give the bat a chance to escape. Do not attempt to pick up a bat. It is best to call a pest control professional for removal. It is unlikely that the bat carries rabies, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Bats occupying a building as a colony can become a noisy, smelly problem. Bat droppings are the size of mouse droppings, crumble easily, and are shiny black. Droppings accumulate below the walls and rafters where bats roost. Bat squeaks and the rustling noise they make as they enter or leave the roosts may also be bothersome. Using moth balls or lights and fans in the attic to get rid of bats is not likely to work. Poisoning or fumigating the bats while they are in your attic is not recommended either. The smell of decomposing bat flesh will undoubtedly prove to be more offensive than the sound or sight of live bats.
If bats have taken up residence in your home, the problem is with your house, not with the bats. The video link on this page will explain the process in full detail. In general, you must find out how the bats are entering and leaving the structure, install a one-way valve for their exit, and then seal all other means of egress. There is no short cut, but the tips in the video may save you time and money if you follow the advice carefully. If all else fails, call in a pest management service to help.