Bats are one of the most astonishing and misunderstood species native to Northern Illinois. They are the only mammals that achieve true flight, and those varieties found in Illinois subsist on a diet consisting entirely of insects. In fact, a bat can consume up to 3,000 insects in a single evening. Just imagine how crucial that is to controlling those insect species that carry disease and destroy crops! While having an abundant bat population all around us outside is desirable, having an abundant bat population in our homes, offices, stores, and houses of worship is not.
Hazards of Bats in a Living Space
While bats are extremely unlikely to instigate a confrontation with a human, they will defend themselves if they feel trapped, frightened, or endangered. Because bats are one of the most common carriers of rabies in Illinois, any time they are found living in a structure with people, it must be taken very seriously, and removing the colony should be top priority. If you ever encounter a bat indoors, contact a professional wildlife control company immediately for a bat inspection and emergency bat removal.
Maternity Roost Bat Inspection
Little Brown and Big Brown bats, the two species most common to Illinois, are mating right now, which means baby season is right around the corner. When female bats are pregnant and raising their young, they often congregate in large maternity roosts, which can result in a huge number of bats all in one place. Once the young are old enough to fly and hunt on their own, it’s safe to evict them their roost.
ABC Wildlife’s Maternity Roost Bat Removal
ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention recently had the opportunity to conduct a bat inspection for a church where we discovered, and then humanely excluded, a maternity roost consisting of nearly 100 bats from the bell tower. Talk about bats in the belfry! Watch the incredible video below to see where bats roost, what kind of signs ABC Wildlife looks for in a bat inspection, and how we’re able to achieve humane bat removal from structures and seal bats out permanently. If you have a bat problem, call one of our wildlife control experts at (847) 870-7175 today to schedule a bat inspection and bat removal.
Technician Ben: We’re doing a bat removal inspection on a church. They’ve had seven bats in the structure over the last three weeks. That’s a pretty big number of bats for getting into the living space of a structure.
Technician Andi: Now what we’re doing is examining the building to see where the bats are actually coming and going from.
Technician Ben: But we feel confident that this bell tower is our main suspect area.
Technician Branden: At this point, right now, we’ve identified that there’s a buildup of guano right below this point right above us here. So, essentially there’s a gap that exists right between the coping and the brick.
Technician Ben: When it comes to bats, you really have to be certain on where they’re entering and exiting.
Technician Branden: So what we’re going to be doing in a little bit, once the sun sets, is we’re going to be trying to identify if this is in fact the main entry point for the bats.
Technician Andi: The reason we’re doing this at night time is the structure’s so large we have to physically identify where the gaps are that the bats are coming in and out of. They are a protected species, so we don’t want to harm the bat whatsoever.
Technician Ben: They’re protected federally and by the state. You can’t just go and kill bats. You have to exclude them.
Technician Andi: So, we set up one-way doors just to make sure the bats can come out, but at the same time, they can’t come back in. I need to make sure I close off every single inch of the building to ensure they don’t return.
Technician Branden: All bats need to gain access into a structure is basically 3/8ths of an inch by 2 inches wide. Not a very large gap at all whatsoever.
Technician Andi: You guys hear that?
Technician Ben: There they go!
Technician Josh: …21, 22, 23, 24…
Technician Ben: From the sheer number of bats that we’ve seen coming out of here, I think we’re at 80-something at this point…
Technician Josh: 87.
Technician Ben: …87 bats…
Technician Josh: 88!
Technician Ben: …It’s definitely a maternity roost.
Technician Andi: So, we counted 94 bats coming out of the structure, so clearly there’s a problem.
Technician Ben: We’ll move forward with supplying a detailed report to our customer so they can fully understand what is going on in their structure, and how we propose to exclude them.
Technician Josh: This was a very successful bat removal inspection. That’s for sure.
On the following site visit…
Technician Ben: After some nighttime bat removal inspections, we determined that the roost is in the bell tower all the way at the very top. So what we’re here to do today is exclude the bats from the bell tower. So, by us sealing the outside and setting the one-way door, the bats will come out but not be able to return and get back in. That’s the main important reason why we have to check the entire structure and eliminate any potential gaps, because we don’t want to push them from one part of the building over to another part.
Technician Matt: So, we’ll go ahead and seal everything else off, set a one-way door here, which we know that they’re going to go back to naturally, and then that allows them to come out. They come back, they try to get back in, and everything else on the whole structure is absolutely sealed off so they can’t get back in. Sometimes we’ll see them actually roosting out on the walls for a day or two, but then they actually leave to go to another place.
Technician Ben: And then we’ll see about 100 bats come out of that excluder tonight.
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Karen Jesse is a wildlife writer and educator licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Public Health in urban wildlife management and structural pest control. She enjoys hiking, telling people how cool skunks are, and opera.
Big Brown Bat photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission