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What Is White-Nose Syndrome?

What Is White-Nose Syndrome?Bats play an important role in our ecosystem; they not only eat crop-damaging insects, but they also support cave communities and improve pollination through seed dispersal. However, there is a rapidly spreading epidemic that is threatening bats across the United States. Since first being identified in 2006, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has been reported in 33 states from Maine to California and has killed millions of North American bats.

Causes of White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) which grows in dark, cold, and damp places such as caves. The disease attacks the bare skin and wings of bats while they’re hibernating. It gets its name from the fungal growth’s white, fuzzy appearance that forms around the mammals’ mouths.

Effects of White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome kills bats by waking them from hibernation and causing them to act erratically. The heightened activity of WNS-diseased bats causes them to burn stored fat that their bodies need to survive the winter months. Aside from a powdery nose, signs of WNS in bats include flying outside in the daytime during winter.

Species Affected With White-Nose Syndrome

While several types of bat have been affected by WNS, the disease has been particularly decimating to following species:

  • Little brown bat
  • Northern long-eared bat
  • Tricolored bat

At the other end of the spectrum, species such as the gray bat and Virginia big-eared bat may be immune to the effects of WNS. Both species have been found with Pd but haven’t exhibited any signs of white-nose syndrome.

White-Nose Syndrome Risks to Humans

To date, there have been no reported human illnesses attributed to white-nose syndrome. However, while WNS is not currently a danger to man, bats are known to carry a host of other diseases that they can spread through bites, waste, or direct contact. Common diseases spread by bats include:

White-Nose Syndrome Treatment

With no known cure, white-nose symptom is becoming an epidemic to our nation’s bat population. Luckily, scientists are working on a vaccine to protect these important and largely endangered mammals. While their contributions to the environment are welcomed, the presence of bats in suburban areas and residential homes can be quite the opposite.

Bat Removal Experts

If you notice signs of bats living in your home or on your property, do not attempt to remove them on your own—the risk of disease or personal harm is too great. Instead, contact the bat removal experts at Critter Control® of Tampa. Our expert technicians are fully equipped and trained to permanently rid your property of a bat infestation. To get a free estimate or for more information regarding our services, please call us today at 813-948-0870.

Can I Remove Bats from My Commercial Building?

Can I Remove Bats from My Commercial Building?Summer isn’t just the season for Florida fun; it’s also the season for serious wildlife protection. A bat infestation, like any other wildlife issue, can not only be a burden on your commercial building, but they are a little bit trickier to deal with during bat maternity season. Running from April 15 to August 15, bat maternity season is the time of year in which Florida law prohibits bat exclusions from both residential and commercial buildings.

It might seem like an unfair burden to place on business owners, but the laws of bat maternity season are essential to regulating the Florida environment and conserving the surrounding ecosystem. You can’t have bats removed from your building until the season ends, but there are some steps you can take to deter them from nesting or safely exclude them once the season passes.

What Is Bat Maternity Season?

Although intrusive bats might be bad news for your commercial building, they play an important role in the local ecosystem. There are 13 native Florida bat species, including the nearly endangered Florida bonneted bat, that regulate the overwhelming amount of Florida insects by feeding on bugs like mosquitos and flies.

The laws of bat maternity season protect bats by prohibiting exclusion practices. Excluding a female bat from her roost would inhibit her from providing food to her newborn pup, which puts the bat population at even more risk. These laws also prevent business and commercial building owners from taking pest control into their own hands, which can be potentially dangerous and unsafe for both the pests and people involved.

How Can I Keep Bats from Entering?

Bat maternity season is almost over. But, if you want to start taking early steps to build a better future for your building and nearby wildlife, here are some bat prevention tips.

  • Installing bat houses or other enclosed nesting sites
  • Conserving natural sites for bats to roost and raise their young
  • Respecting and following the laws of bat maternity season
  • Sealing all entryways, gaps, or holes in your commercial building
  • Having your commercial building inspected by wildlife professionals

Commercial Wildlife Experts of Tampa

If you see, hear, or suspect any bat activity in your commercial building, call the wildlife experts at Critter Control® of Tampa. Our pest technicians can’t install any bat exclusion systems until bat maternity season passes, but we can still inspect your property and create an effective plan for removal. And, once the season ends, our team of wildlife experts can safely remove nesting bats and their newborn pups. For more information or to schedule your complimentary consultation for bat maternity season, call us today at 813-948-0870. 

Why You Should Let a Professional Handle Your Bat Problem

Why You Should Let a Professional Handle Your Bat ProblemBats play a crucial role in our ecosystem. By regulating insect populations at night, they save our crops from destructive infestations. While bats are more than welcome to stay outside of our homes, a bat infestation on the inside can do significant damage. You may think that you can remove the bats yourself; however, it is always a safer option to contact professional help. Below are just a couple of reasons why you should let a professional handle your bat problem.

Bats Are a Protected Species

Under Florida state law, bats are declared a protected species, meaning it is illegal to kill or harm them. Seeking professional help avoids making a mistake that could cost you both financially and legally. Due to how critical they are to our environment, bats should never be trapped or killed. Experts can go to your home and remove the bats in a safe and humane way. Our professionals can also bat-proof your property and provide restoration and repair services for any bat damages that have occurred.

They Are Dangerous

Simply put, bats are dangerous. They carry with them many infectious diseases and illnesses such as rabies, salmonella, Leptospirosis, lice, and more. One single bite or the festering of their guano can spread disease into your blood stream and make you extremely sick.

Bats are also known to be aggressive if disturbed or if they feel threatened. If you are not completely sure how to handle a bat problem on your own, you are liable to get injured. Our professionals have the proper equipment, tools, and training to remove bats safely, without causing any further damage to your property.

Seek Our Professional Help

If bats have taken over your home, it’s essential to seek expert advice. At Critter Control® of Tampa, we offer a wide range of wildlife removal services to ensure your critter problem is taken care of effectively and humanely from start to finish. Our team has the necessary knowledge needed to safely exclude the bats from your home, locate and repair any entry points, and clean up the mess they left behind. For a free estimate, call us today at 813-948-0870.

The Effects of Bat Guano on Your Commercial Building

The Effects of Bat Guano on Your Commercial BuildingWhile it’s true our Tampa ecosystem depends on bats to regulate the insect population, they are never something you want to see in your commercial building. Not only are they a nuisance, but they also carry with them potential dangers that put all those in the building at risk. In fact, bats themselves aren’t a serious threat – they are relatively harmless creatures. You should worry more about the damage caused by their guano.

What is Bat Guano?

Guano is the specific term for bat excrement, and it has been historically significant for its fertilization properties and its use in explosives. It collects under the main roosting area of bats, forming large dusty piles. When these guano piles are disturbed, the dust particles can permeate the air in the surrounding area. However desirable bat guano is for some industries, it is dangerous to have in your building, for several reasons.

  • Mess

    Bat guano leaves an awful mess. If you have an infestation or a colony of bats living in your building, the guano piles can cause a disruption to your operations. Animal excrement in general should always be cleaned up as soon as possible, and guano in particular. The urine and dusty excrement piles can pose health hazards and make those in the building feel unsafe.

  • Destruction

    Though bats themselves aren’t dangerous to people, they can be to buildings. Their guano can corrode and eat through drywall, which can be quite costly to have fixed. Once it seeps into the ceiling, walls, or any other structures, serious renovations might be needed.

  • Smell

    The awful smell produced by bat droppings and urine can be a nuisance too. No workers or customers want to be in a building rank with the odor of excrement – this is an extremely undesirable work environment.

Contact Our Experts

Due to the hazardous nature of bat guano deposits, we never recommend attempting to clean up after bats on your own. Our bat experts here at Critter Control® of Tampa have over thirty years of experience in bat removal and cleanup in surrounding Tampa area businesses. Our professionals will execute the best procedures to remove and dispose of all guano, ensuring the safety of you and your coworkers/employees. If you have any questions about bats and bat guano, or if you would like to schedule your free consultation, please call us at 813-948-0870 today.

Do Chimney Caps Keep Bats Away?

Do Chimney Caps Keep Bats Away?The sound of fluttering wings in the early morning hours, tiny claws scratching the insides of your walls or attic, and high-pitched screeching voices throughout your home or business are evident signs of a bat infestation. Bats play a crucial role in our local Tampa ecosystem by constantly regulating the insect populations. Unfortunately, these bats seek shelter during the daytime, often in the chimneys of both residences and businesses.

What is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is placed on the top exterior of the chimney. Its’ designed primarily to prevent destruction on the inside of your chimney from harsh weather, such as heavy snow and torrential rain. They also prevent uncontrolled fire sparks from escaping the chimney and landing on the roof, which can be extremely dangerous.

Chimney Caps and Bats

While chimney caps may help deter critters like raccoons, birds, and squirrels from entering your home or business, they are less likely to prevent bats from seeking shelter in your chimney. Store-bought caps come in different shapes and sizes; however, most are not small enough to keep bats out. Florida has thirteen different species of bats, some with tiny, flexible bodies, able to maneuver themselves through even the smallest of holes.

Bat Nuisance

Bats can make a significant amount of noise throughout the night and into the morning, causing you and your family to lose sleep. They are extremely messy, leaving urine and droppings, more commonly called guano, around your home or business. Guano produces a terrible ammonia smell as it decomposes. Their droppings frequently become a breeding ground for diseases and insects such as fleas, ticks, and cockroaches.

Seek Professional Help

Bats are an endangered species and are therefore protected under certain removal laws. Never use DIY pest control methods such as poison, relocation, or fumigants. Not only are they ineffective, but they are also illegal to use on bats.

At Critter Control® of Tampa, our professionals understand the risks associated with bat removal and have the expertise on how to safely, and legally, remove them from your chimney. If you think you have a bat infestation, please call us today at 813-948-0870 for your free consultation.

How to Clean Up Bat Guano

How to Clean Up Bat GuanoBats are greatly appreciated for keeping insect populations regulated. But when entering our homes, they can leave behind a not-so-appreciated gift: bat guano. Some gardeners love bat guano because it’s a great fertilizer with high levels of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. However, most people would rather remove bat excrement from their home right away, so we’ve broken that process down into six simple steps.

Step 1: Identify the Bat Guano

People often confuse mouse droppings with bat guano, but correctly identifying the excrement is crucial to understanding how to properly remove it. Mouse droppings are scattered and become hard when dry, while bat guano clusters in one area and crumbles when touched.

Step 2: Make Sure All Bats Are Removed

Bats can enter homes through loose shingles, gaps in brick walls, and openings in the attic. In order to ensure a safe cleaning environment, make sure all bats are removed and all entry points in your home are sealed.

Step 3: Wear Protective Gear

Contact with bat guano puts you at risk of being exposed to infections such as histoplasmosis. Symptoms include chest pain, rash, shortness of breath, and muscle ache. Take precautions by wearing eye protection, two pairs of gloves, and a HEPA air filter mask.

Step 4: Safely Remove the Bat Guano

Spray a 10% bleach-water solution onto the excrement before removal. This prevents the fecal matter from becoming airborne and entering your lungs during the cleaning.  Professionals have a special vacuum for safely and effectively removing bat guano. However, if you don’t have access to this tool, carefully scoop up the material with your gloved hands and seal it in a plastic bag. You should also continue to spray down the area during the removal process when necessary.

Step 5: Scrub All Surfaces with Enzyme Cleaner

Once all the guano is removed, use an enzyme-based cleaner to sanitize surfaces and ensure that no residue is left behind. Also, check if your home’s insulation is affected. If there isn’t much guano build-up, then you can simply spray the insulation with the cleaner. However, if insulation is covered with guano, then it must be removed and replaced as soon as possible.

Step 6: Fog the Entire Attic

Even after removing the guano and scrubbing surfaces, there is still a chance that residue remains. Consider using an electric atomizer that will fog the enzyme-based cleaner and fully sterilize the area.

We Can Clean It for You

Bat guano removal is a long and tedious process that should be handled by professionals. Here at Critter Control® of Tampa, we have the experience and resources needed to safely remove any bat excrement in your home. Rather than spending your time and money searching for the right equipment, you can contact us to seal entry ways and properly sterilize your home. To schedule a free inspection, give us a call at 813-948-0870.

Keeping Your Workplace Bat-Free

Keeping Your Workplace Bat-FreeDo you like mosquitoes? How about gnats? These bugs can be an annoyance, especially during the hotter months in Florida when they rapidly spawn. The best thing you can have around, then, are bats because they feed on such pesky bugs. But, that doesn’t mean that bats belong inside your workplace. That’s when they begin to cause you problems rather than solving some of them. Here are some preventative measures you can take to make sure the bats stay outside, where they can do their job and not interrupt yours.

  • Don’t leave doors or windows open for long periods of time.
  • Make sure there are no easy access points through vents, wiring, or plumbing.
  • Hire a professional bat control expert to identify access points and seal them.

Bats are not aggressive creatures, and will not chew their way into buildings like rodents. Instead, they will roost in quiet, secluded spots. As long as your building is sealed up, you won’t have to worry about bats getting inside and disturbing your business.

Commercial Bat Removal

Maybe it’s too late for you to put bat prevention methods into practice — the bats have already roosted in your place of business. Whatever you do, don’t take any drastic measures. It is illegal to remove bats during certain times of the year, and many species of bats are protected by Florida Law. You don’t want your business to be liable for breaking Florida wildlife laws. But, you can’t just let the bats stay. They can cause the following issues for your business:

  • Disrupt your workday
  • Scare off customers
  • Interfere with your workers
  • Damage your building with urine and guano

Critter Control® of Tampa can provide you with top class commercial bat removal services. Let us handle the bat exclusion so you don’t land your business in any legal issues. From start to finish, our removal experts will make sure to maintain safe conditions for all and will complete the job quickly to cause minimal disruption to your work day. To learn more about our commercial services or to schedule a free initial inspection, give us a call at 813-948-0870.

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