Bats cause fear and headaches for Ontario homeowners

While the fans of the popular Twilight series seem to be growing in numbers, so too are the real-life bats roosting in roofs, attics, and walls throughout Ontario and Quebec.


And the problems for home­owners are no fantasy.

This summer’s hot and humid weather in Southern Ontario and Quebec provide the right conditions for bats to come into contact with people, and the consequences can be deadly.

"People have this amazing fascination with bats," noted Humane Wildlife Control presi­dent Bill Dowd.

"But the interest quickly turns to fear and misinforma­tion when peo­ple find a bat flying around their bedroom," he said.

Bats are the most common carriers of rabies, and health departments advise people to seek medical attention if they come into direct contact with a bat or are bitten or scratched. Especially when children are concerned, the health depart­ments will provide rabies shots in order to prevent the deadly disease from taking hold. Rab­ies is usually not detected until it is too late, so precaution and prevention are critical.

The size of the small creatures means that bat bites can often go undetected and they can become defensive if cornered, so homeowners are not advised to try and capture or remove the animals them­selves.

And because they can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime, bat colonies can easily thrive in a relatively warm and dry habitat like an attic, roof, or wall cavity. "We’ve found colonies in the hundreds and the homeowners had no idea," said Dowd.

Bats can cause significant property damage and other diseases

Droppings (guano) and dead bats can cause severe odour, damage and contami­nation of structures and heating and air conditioning systems.

Bats are common carriers of bed bugs, which multiply and look for other hosts, such as pets and people, when they roost in buildings. They are ex­tremely difficult to eradicate and bites can cause serious itching and welts.

If inhaled by humans, bat guano can cause an incurable respiratory disease called histo­plasmosis. The very young, very old and those with im­paired immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness.

Early detection and removal are keys to minimizing prob­lems.

Brown bats are very diffi­cult to detect and should be re­moved before temperatures get colder or they will go dormant for the winter and proper seal­ing will ensure they do not return.

Bats feed on a 24 to 48 hour cycle. Plugging a hole after they leave at night may seal half the colony in and cause building damage, disease, and human contact.

Humane Wildlife Control uses humane methods to re­move bats. Professional opera­tors guarantee their work – both the removal of the bat and making sure they don’t gain access – and do not kill the bats.