On Your Side: Thousands of bats invade Columbia County attic
By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, June 11, 2008

EVANS -- A few bats in an attic is not all that uncommon, but how about 10,000? That's just what one Columbia County family is dealing with today.

Bats are fantastic creatures to have around your home. They'll eat up tons of mosquitoes and other bugs. It's when they aren't around the home anymore, but actually in the home that the problems start.

Around dusk every night, the scene around one Evans house is pretty normal...until the thousands of bats who share the home start leaving the attic, heading out to feed. It's enough to give any homeowner the shivers. In more than 7 minutes of exclusive video to News 12, there are more bats than we could count flying out from under the roof and heading off to find a meal.

And those thousands of bats create thousands of dollars worth of damage that Big Bear Trapping Service's Jason Rehr has to fix, in addition to getting the bats out.

"As you can see here, this is all bat feces," he said while pointing to one area. "All of this has to come out," he continued, pointing to a large piece of insulation.

Jason took us on a tour of the attic. He has to wear a respirator because bat droppings are so toxic. The bats are in another part of the attic now because they've been sealed off from of this part, but the smell is still overpowering.
And it's apparent that after getting the bats all out of the house, everything up here and a number of ceilings more will have to be removed.

"It's going to be Extreme Home Makeover Bat Edition," he said.

Because of the toxic bat droppings and the damage they cause, everything has to move fast. Jason will seal up the house and put a couple of one-way doors so the bats can get out, but they can't get back in.

And this is a message for you too, because if you think you have bats like these inside your home, it's better to act now and not wait.

"You've got the feces, the odor, the urine, the urine soaking through the drywall. Then we're talking black mold. And then you're opening a whole can of problems," he said.

This house is in the Pheasant Run neighborhood in Evans just off of Washington Road. The Department of Natural Resources is recommending anyone in that subdivision call a professional like Big Bear Trapping Service or someone else to check their house to get it sealed up. Those 10,000 bats are coming out and they have to go somewhere.


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