Bats: What’s Guano?

February 16, 2015By

If you only go by the movies, you probably aren’t too fond of bats because you’re afraid they’ll attack you. The truth, however, is that most bats want to keep their distance and those that consume blood live no farther north than Mexico. That being said, they’re still a pest and represent a threat it is important for you to know about.

bat

Guano?

Guano is nothing more than bat droppings. Obviously, like any animal, they will leave this behind wherever they stay. This is actually one of the primary methods used to find out where these pests are living within or around your home. Unfortunately, bat droppings are something you need to take very seriously.

Disease by Contaminated Materials

Being fecal matter, bat droppings can be understandably unpleasant to handle. However, they can actually be fairly dangerous too. Alone, they’re no more dangerous than any other kind of animal’s droppings. Therein lies one of the main problems with bats as pests, though: they don’t show up alone.

If bats are living in your attic, for example, they can easily cover the floor of it and even the walls with guano. It won’t take long for this natural fertilizer to become a great place for fungus to grow. If you try cleaning away the guano on your own, you run the risk (a high one, at that) of disturbing the fungus which will then release spores into the air.

Should you inhale the spores from this fungus, you can contract histoplasmosis. This infection is caused by the spores of fungus that often grows in bat droppings (bird droppings are also a common home for it).

Histoplasmosis may never develop symptoms. Unfortunately, for those susceptible to it—mainly infants and people with poor immune systems—the symptoms include things like fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, chest discomfort and dry coughs.

In chronic cases, people can experience severe weight loss and even a cough accompanied by blood. Histoplasmosis can get so bad it closely resembles tuberculosis.

The problem doesn’t just exist in your attic either. It’s actually far more common for people to get it from outdoor areas that bats commonly fly over. Farmers and landscapers are most likely to catch the disease. Histoplasmosis most often afflicts people in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.

Excessive Weight

As we mentioned above, where there’s one bat, there’s usually hundreds. This can mean a lot of guano produced in a fairly short period of time. Another problem that this leads to is simply extreme amounts of weight on your ceiling structures.

If we again consider your attic—a room no bat would be able to refuse—it was only made to hold so much weight. All that guano can add up quickly and soon become a real threat to the structural integrity of your house.

Identifying Bat Guano

Bat droppings look a lot like those of a mouse. However, they tend to occur in large piles. As bats defecate just before they re-enter your home and then directly below where they sleep, you may find these piles around your house and in your attic. Due to how many insects they eat, bat droppings will also be speckled and shiny from all the wings.

To find out whether the guano is old or not, lay newspaper over it and check back in a day or so to see if more has been deposited.

Do Not Remove Guano on Your Own

Hopefully the above has made it clear that you don’t want guano around. That doesn’t mean taking care of the problem yourself though. For one, it’s not worth risking histoplasmosis. Secondly, you want to treat the area with something potent like muriatic acid. Of course, you also want an exterminator to address the bat problem.

While guano may not strike you as much to worry about, it’s actually a huge problem you need a professional to address. Call (800) 391-2565 and the experts at Fischer Environmental can remove the droppings and the bats, and help prevent a future infestation.

 

Sources:

http://icwdm.org/wildlife/bat/batguano.asp

http://www.batconservation.org/guano-toxic-or-dangerous

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/histoplasmosis/basics/definition/con-20026585

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