Bat Control Information for Seattle Homeowners
Bats are iconic animals that have a long cultural association with a terror of the night. And there are serious problems bats can cause you which warrant bat removal. Yet the image we have of bats is far from the truth of what these small winged mammals really are. There is plenty of useful information to learn about if you are considering bat control. To start with, you should know is that bats are highly beneficial to us as night-flying insect control. In fact, one of the main insects in a bat’s diet is mosquitoes!
For example, a nursing female Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) may consume her body weight in insects each evening during the summer months. This is more important than many people realize. As it stands, in the daytime, birds regulate flying insect numbers by consuming large quantities of them. If we couldn’t count on bat control of bug populations at night, bugs would be even more prevalent and annoying.
Facts and Falsehoods Surrounding Bat Control
There are a few urban myths to dispel when it comes to talking about bat control. First of all, bats do not become entangled in peoples’ hair. If you hear a bat zip by your head, it most likely saved you from dealing with a mosquito bite. Second, less than one bat in 20,000 has Rabies Lyssavirus—more commonly known simply as rabies. Third, no species of bat that live in the state of Washington feed on blood. And contrary to popular belief, bats aren’t actually blind.
There are approximately 15 species of bats that call our state home, including the rare Townsend’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii). Head to tail, they can range from the 2.5” Canyon Bat (Parastrellus hesperus) to the 6” Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus). The Hoary Bat also has the widest wingspan of local species, at about 17”. The species most likely to be seen flying around closer to homes are the Little Brown bat, Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis), Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), Pallid Bat (Antrozous pallidus), and the California Myotis (Myotis californicus).
The Biology and Behavior of Bats
Bats have a wide-ranging diet for flying insects, including moths, beetles, termites, flies, and mosquitoes. When a bat is out hunting, it will usually hang from one location and wait for insects to fly nearby. Once close enough for easy capture, the bat will snatch the insect in midair, scooping it up into its mouth. Bats accomplish this feat with echolocation, which involves bouncing high-pitched sound waves off flying insects to track them, like sonar. Over the course of doing this, a bat will fly anywhere from one half to six miles in a night. This is important bat control information, as they don’t have to live in your immediate vicinity to become a nuisance.
Bats breed during late fall or sometimes early winter at their hibernation site before entering hibernation. Subsequently, they can hibernate alone or in groups, beginning in late September or October. Once they rouse from hibernation in the following spring, females use stored sperm to fertilize themselves. Following that, bat pups are born and raised in nursery colonies occupied only by breeding females and their young. From a bat control standpoint, this means populations bloom after the winter ends.
Your Options for Bat Control
Many Washington bats are currently being studied and may be recommended for protection under the Endangered Species Act. For current legal status, contact your local wildlife office. As it stands, all species of bats are classified as protected wildlife and cannot be hunted, trapped or killed. However, the Department of Fish and Wildlife makes exceptions for bats found in or immediately adjacent to a dwelling or other occupied building. In such cases, it is legal to remove these animals without a permit.
If you do find yourself in need of bat control, Eastside Exterminators offers professional, affordable wildlife removal services. To find out how our family can protect yours with our unique process, call 425-482-2101.