When you think of bats, does your mind go first to Dracula or one of our favorite comic book characters, Batman? Maybe thoughts of bats in caves, castles, and darkness all intermingle and make you nervous about the creatures. Wherever you are in thinking about bats, there is no denying that they play a massive role in ecological systems. Bats consume enormous -mounts of bugs and other pests in our environment at night, protecting crops, humans, and other animals from insect overpopulation problems.
Bats help by dropping seeds as they eat fruit and they also provide valuable fertilizer to their surrounding plants and trees. These animals may look frightening to some, but they provide quite a bit to our environment that we simply can’t replace; however, there is a problem for the bats. A disease that is called white-nose syndrome is killing millions of bats. It is a fungal infection, and it is spreading. There is a project that is traveling across thirty-one states and ten Canadian provinces to track bat activity and numbers.
The researchers using this information want to better understand the bats and see what is threatening them. The North American Bat Monitoring Program finds these bats by using acoustic surveys. This means that they detect the high-pitched frequencies emitted by bats as the fly through the dark eating bugs. Within North America there are about 150 species of bats. Of those, there are forty-seven in the United States. Some of these migrate more than 500 miles, and others hibernate in caves or abandoned mines. There is limited information on all of them.
Once upon a time, acoustic monitoring involved carrying equipment on a vehicle. Currently, a device can be hooked up to an iPhone. Scientists are perfecting the software that identifies the bat species making the sounds. Researchers can use low-tech methods as well, as in counting hibernating bats in the winter. During other seasons, the researchers count maternity colonies, and in five years, researchers should have enough information to spot trends. Susan Loeb, a research ecologist with the United States Forest Service in Clemson, South Carolina, says that “In the last ten, twenty years, we’re getting better and better technology that allows us to learn about bats…
We know that many bat populations are declining, but we don’t know the magnitude of that decline”. Bats are thought to be a key in protecting the health of forests from insects. Brazilian free-tailed bat colonies in Texas often number more than a million individuals, and the experts say that those bats consume more than eight tons of insects in a single night! Besides the white-nose syndrome, wind farms cause damage to the populations as well. In fact, hundreds of thousands of bats die annually in collisions with spinning blades. Susan Loeb says, “We still don’t know why [bats collide with the blades]… Why can’t they detect them? And how do we deter them?” Loeb also believes that if people will improve their opinions of bats, then there will be an increase in drive to protect these important animals. She says that, “the public perception of bats is changing as people learn how important they are and how fascinating they are”.
Do you have bats in your attic? Call 770-479-1598 to have Canton Termite and Pest Control send a professional to humanely remove these bats and place them in a safe area.
We here at Canton Termite and Pest Control believe that supporting our ecosystem is important, and that each animal serves a role in its environment. Our job, simply put, is making sure that their job in the environment can be best performed outside of your homes and without harm to your family and friends! If you have issues with bats or other potential pests, then call today at 770-479-1598. We provide service throughout zip codes of 30115, 30114, 30183, and 30107 and around these areas. Have a blessed day! Below is more information on our sources and where you can find out more information about bats.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors provides the following information:
“Indications of a household bat infestation:
the accumulation of guano. Bat guano resembles rodent droppings but can be distinguished in several ways: guano tends to cluster as it piles up beneath the exit of the bats? roost; guano often has a shiny, speckled appearance due to the ingestion of insect wings; and guano can be easily crushed into smaller fragments, while rodent droppings will not.
Of course, it is not safe to touch any animal droppings with unprotected hands; milky white urine stains on windows; stains around entry holes, such as cracks and crevices; mouse-like droppings under eaves and overhangs; stains and odors caused by urine and guano; noises such as squeaking, scratching and crawling in attics and walls shortly before dusk and dawn; and large pile of bat guano grease and dirt. Bats often leave smears of grease and dirt from their coats on the entry point to their roost.
Bats and Disease:
Due to their high mobility and social behavior, bats are often hosts for diseases, such as rabies. Rabies is perhaps the most serious disease transmitted by bats in North America. Most of the human rabies cases in the United States have been caused by the rabies virus from bats. Awareness of the facts about bats and rabies can help homeowners protect themselves, their families, and their pets.
Indications that a bat has rabies:
The bat is in an unusual place, such as a bedroom or in the lawn. Healthy bats do not rest on the ground.
The bat is approachable. Healthy bats are scared of humans and will flee long before they can be approached.
The bat is active during the day.
The bat appears unable to fly.
For these reasons, rabid bats are often most likely to come into contact with humans.
This respiratory disease, caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, is transmitted through the inhalation of fungal spores found in bat guano and bird droppings. Although generally not fatal, histoplasmosis can cause flu-like symptoms. For individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with AIDS, histoplasmosis can be fatal.”
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