Have you ever been outside on a humid summer night and wonder why you are being attacked by insects? During the evening hours you'll also see bats flying about as the kids are still playing outside after 8:30 at night because the sun doesn't completely set until 9:00. Just as we all enjoy the summer festivities, bats also enjoy the warmer weather and later hours. Those pesky insects are a bats buffet. Bats decrease the insect population by eating up to 1,200 mosquitoes within an hour. Think how many more pesky insects there would be without the help of bats.
Occasionally, bats might find their way into your home or nest on your property. The most specific area is in the attic of a home. They can enter the home by the smallest opening to the attic, 3/8 of an inch. Normally, bats nest within a pack instead of being alone. They don't ask for permission before moving in and they don't mind making a mess while they are there.
The urine and feces (guano) of the bat can be a big mess to clean up. Bat guano produces a lot of ammonia gas, which is poisonous, and can make you sick if you inhale it for an extended length of time. The more guano that continues to collect from the bats, the more gas is produced. When it comes to cleaning up the guano, there is a proper way to do it by leaving it to a licensed professional.
Did you know that there are laws in place when it comes to handling wildlife animals? Before thinking about taking care of some wildlife pest yourself, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Bats of Virginia
Of the 15 species of bat in Virginia, three are classified as endangered or threatened under state and federal law: gray, Indiana, and Virginia big-eared. An additional species, southeastern big-eared, is protected under state law. Other bat species native to Virginia include big brown, little brown, northern long-eared, eastern red and silver-haired. Uncommon species found in Virginia include the eastern small-footed and the southeastern.
For species that are not protected or endangered, it is permissible under state law to kill bats who are a nuisance to a homeowner. However, what qualifies as a nuisance is defined by state law as those "found committing or about to commit depredation upon ornamental or shade trees, agricultural crops, wildlife, livestock or other property or when concentrated in numbers and manners as to constitute a health hazard or other nuisance." The presence of bats alone does not constitute a nuisance. Poisoning of any animal on residential property aside from mice and rates is generally against the law. It is illegal to capture bats and release them somewhere other than your property.
Before attempting to remove bats from your home or property, be absolutely certain you are not dealing with threatened or endangered species. Harming or possessing an endangered or threatened specimen can result in stiff penalties. Felony violations of the federal Endangered Species Act involving an endangered species carry up to a year in prison and a fine of $50,000; those involving a threatened species carry up to six months imprisonment and a $25,000 fine. Violations of the Endangered Species Act are also punishable under Virginia state law and are classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,500. Contact a game official if you believe you are dealing with an endangered bat species in your home.
One species of bat in particular has the honor of being named the official State Bat of Virginia. The Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) was awarded the title in 2005. The species is on the endangered list. The bill was proposed by Virginia Delegate Jackie Stump and signed into law by Governor Mark Warner. Virginia is only one of three states to have designated a state bat. The Virginia big-eared bat resides in the caves of western Virginia.
Elite Wildlife Removal is a licensed professional wildlife removal company that will be more than happy to work with you regarding any of your wildlife needs. Give us a call at 804-867-7184 or 301-848-5048.