Sarasota and Bradenton's Most Highly Recommended Rodent and Wildlife Removal and Prevention Service!

IMPORTANT BAT REMOVAL INFORMATION

  • The first thing you need to know about bats is that they are protected and you cannot kill or capture them.
  •  April 15th to August 15th is considered bat maternity season and bats may not be handled by a homeowner or a professional unless they are inside your dwelling. 
  • There are special ways bats must be removed from homes. Doing this improperly can result in stiff fines.
  • Bat guano can be very dangerous to your health. It is also very acidic and damaging to buildings.

Our Sarasota - Bradenton clients ask us "aren't they just flying rats?" or they often assume they are some type of bird. The truth is, bats are mammals. There are more than 1,200 species of bats and they make up about one-fifth of all mammal species. They range from the world's smallest mammal, the tiny bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny, to giant flying foxes with six-foot wingspans. You will not find any vampire bats in Florida or the United States for that matter. Only three species of bats are actually vampires and they are all only found in Latin America. They really do feed on blood although they lap it like kittens rather than sucking it up as commonly thought with vampires.

Bats are a benefit to Florida residents by providing free pest control. Bats prey on large amounts of annoying night-flying insects such as mosquitoes and gnats. More than two-thirds of bat species hunt insects and they have an enormous appetite. A single little brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in a single hour. A pregnant or nursing female bat typically eats her entire body weight in insects each night. They also eat other insects that feed on commercial plants. Bats help to pollinate the ecosystem. A few of the commercial products that depend on bat pollinators for wild or cultivated varieties include: bananas, avocados, dates, figs, peaches, durian, cloves, cashews, carob and balsa wood.

Although bats can have advantages, they can be a danger to humans either from a bite or with their droppings. Bats can fit in holes or gaps less than one inch. The bat's ability to squeeze in extremely small areas requires the exclusion and removal process from a home to have an extremely high attention to detail. Compounding this difficulty is that bats are a protected species. Bats cannot be handled. Picking bats up and removing them is only permitted if they are inside a structure that is inhabited by humans. If the removal process is not done properly, it may result in death for the bats.

Bats have a “season” in which they cannot be handled. April 15th - August 15th is considered bat maternity season and bats many not be disturbed. Many people ignore them simply hoping they will go away but bats will continue to multiply and add to the obnoxious smell, high pitched squeaking noises, damage to your home and increased health risks.

Bats are particularly fond of making their home in the gable roof vents, chimney caps, soffit areas, behind vinyl siding, and under barrel tile roofs. The quicker the problem is dealt with, the less damage, cleanup, and removal costs are incurred. Bat guano is very acidic and damaging. Bat urine and guano will accumulate over time resulting in liquefied guano dripping off roofs, eating away at roofing underlayment, staining concrete, paint, roof tiles, pool surfaces, and more. If an attic is infested with bats, the guano may begin dripping through ceilings, ruin insulation, sheet rock, ceiling tiles, and in severe cases will cause the interior of the ceiling to collapse. Bat guano has an awful and unique smell making it easy to identify. You will probably never forget it once you know it. The smell of guano often gives many people an instant headache.

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Perched among the branches and needles of California's redwood forests are nestled wayfaring hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus). A migratory species capable of traveling hundreds of miles, hoary bats may wander throughout western North America before settling into California's north coast...to sleep.

While it's not unusual for some species of bat to migrate or other species to hibernate, it is unusual to find a species of bat that does both. Hoary bats are one of North America's largest bats at 5 inches in length and also one of the continent's most distinguished with its frosted fur for which it takes its name.

Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station have documented the first recorded evidence of hoary bats going into a state of torpor, or hibernation. Published earlier this month in Scientific Reports and just in time for National Bat Week, Oct. 24-31, "First Direct Evidence of Long-distance Seasonal Movements and Hibernation in a Migratory Bat" reports newly discovered behaviors in hoary bats.

"It's commonly assumed that species that migrate do so to reach areas that allow them to continue feeding and remain somewhat active throughout the winter," said lead author Ted Weller, an ecologist with the Forest Service. "But our findings surprised even our own research team by showing that hoary bats spend much of the winter in hibernation."

In September 2014, Weller and his colleagues tagged several bats within Humboldt Redwoods State Park with GPS tracking devices and another group of bats with a device that monitored light levels, body temperatures and activity, which allowed them to understand how bats responded to varying weather conditions.

"While such tracking and monitoring technology has existed for a while, it hasn't been until somewhat recently that these units were made small enough to be affixed to animals of this size," Weller said.

A month later, two of the GPS-equipped bats were recaptured and their data downloaded. One of the bats met the expected behavior of "site fidelity," with its longest single-day trek being about 4 miles from the initial capture site. The second bat was surprising in that it had produced multiple single-day treks ranging from 30 to 45 miles. However, it was the third bat recaptured several months later that produced the most intriguing behavior.

For the month of October, Bat VHF5 flew more than 600 miles, making a loop into southern Oregon, then into interior California, then over to the Nevada-California border, and then back again into interior California.

"It's hard to determine what led to such a journey," Weller said. "Was he seeking favorable temperatures and humidity for roosting and foraging? Was he trying to intercept females to mate with as they migrated to their wintering grounds?"

The monitoring devices attached to the other group of bats also offered new insights into the species. Two bats from that group were recaptured in spring, with one of the bat's devices having captured 224 days of data. Based on lowered body temperatures and inactivity, that bat exhibited the signs of being in a torpor state from November 2014 through April 2015, including a 40-day stretch without flying.

Which again leads researchers to the question: Why would a species capable of migrating hibernate? The answer could lie within the bats' roosting habitat.

"Hoary bats roost outside in trees as opposed to inside caves," Weller said. "It's possible that hoary bats are evolved to hibernate, but would freeze if they did so in their northern summer territories."

The Redwoods, in particular, are ideal in that they offer an environment with lots of shelter, cool temperatures and plenty of moisture to reduce the risk of dehydration.

Similar to other migratory species, understanding seasonal movements and wintering habits are essential for conservation efforts. And because most bat research is confined to summer when bats are most active, these findings are especially useful.

"This research has provided us with a valuable look into the lives of hoary bats rarely before seen, and until now, never before documented to this extent," Weller said. "Knowing more about their lives outside of the summer months will help us better understand what steps might best promote their conservation."  Source: /www.sciencedaily.com  This is a Hoary bat. Photo Credit: Ana Davidson

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Everyone knows that bats use echolocation to get around. Every five-year-old knows that. Nowadays, we know that the ability isn’t unique to bats. Dolphins, whales, and even some birds and mice do it, too. But what we didn’t know until recently is just how sophisticated and powerful bat voices really are. Researchers are finding out that these unique creatures put their strange vocalizations to all kinds of amazing uses. The night is filled with the chirps and squeaks of these aerial hunters, and we are only just now unraveling their secrets. If you thought Flipper’s clicks and whistles were impressive, prepare to meet the true master of sound.

They Can’t Be Tricked

It was once thought that bats could only detect moving insects. In fact, some moths hold perfectly still when they hear a bat coming. Apparently, the common big-eared bat of South America didn’t get the memo. Research has revealed that they can detect sleeping dragonflies that are holding perfectly still. The big-eared bat “ensonifies” the target with a constant stream of sonar. Within three seconds, they can determine if the target in question is edible. This way, the bat can chow on sleeping insects that apparently can’t hear a bat screaming at them. Of course, scientists thought all of this was impossible at first. There should be no way that a bat’s echolocation is sensitive enough to determine different shapes. They say it like this: “Active perception of silent and motionless prey in dense understory vegetation by echolocation alone has long been regarded impossible.” But the common big-eared bat does it anyway. Just to rub it in science’s face, the common big-eared bat can also tell the difference between a real dragonfly and a fake one. Researchers tested the bats by putting out real dragonflies and test dummies shaped like insects which were made of paper and tin foil. Though all the bats were interested in the fakes, not one took a bite out of the imposters. These bats can not only determine the shape of an object with echolocation, but they can hear the difference in the material as well.

Bats Echolocate Plants

Lots of bats survive on fruits alone, but they still only go out at night. So how do they find a meal in the dark? Scientists figured they had to be homing in with their noses. That’s because it should be really hard to sort out individual shapes among the foliage with echolocation. Everything should theoretically be a blur. Sure, it’s possible that bats can find bugs on leaves, but no one thought these winged rodents could use sound to distinguish between plants (bats aren’t really rodents, by the way). Glossophagine bats can do just that; they can find their favorite plants using only sound. Scientists have no idea how they accomplish this feat. “The echoes created by plants are highly complex signals, combining together all the reflections from the many leaves that a plant contains.” In other words, it’s incredibly difficult. Then again, glossophagine bats don’t seem to have any problems. They can sort out where the flowers and fruit are located without any difficulty. Some plants even have leaves shaped like satellite dishes designed specifically to attract bats. Once again, bats prove that we still have a lot to learn about sound.

High Frequency

A bat’s ultrasonic chirps can get pretty high. Human hearing functions in a range from 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, which is pretty good. For reference, the best soprano singer can only reach a note of around 1.76 kilohertz. Most bats can chirp in a range of 12 to 160 kilohertz, which is comparable to dolphins. The clear-winged woolly bat makes the highest-pitched sound of any animal yet discovered. Their range starts at 235 kilohertz—significantly higher than humans can hear—and maxes out at 250 kilohertz. This little furry mammal can make sounds 120 times higher than the best singer in the world. Why do they need this powerful audio equipment? Researchers think these high frequencies “make the bats’ sonar beam very focused and short-ranged.” In the dense jungles where they live, this might give them the edge in locating insects among all the clutter of leaves and foliage. They can focus their sonic sight like no other bat.

Super Ears

The pointy ears of bats never get much attention. It’s always the sound itself that everyone is interested in, but never the receiving mechanism. Well, Virginia Tech’s engineering department finally checked out bat ears. At first, no one believed what they found. In one-tenth of a second (100 milliseconds), one of these bats can “alter his ear shape significantly in ways that would suit different acoustic sensing tasks.” How fast is that? It takes humans about three times longer to blink than it does for the horseshoe bat to change the shape of its ears to tune into specific echoes. Bat ears are super antennas. Not only can they wiggle their ears at blinding speeds, but they can “process overlapping echoes arriving just 2 millionths of a second apart and distinguish between objects that are just 0.3 millimeters apart.” For reference’s sake, 0.3 millimeters is about the width of a human hair. It’s no wonder the Navy studies bats. Their biological sonar equipment is far better than any technology we’ve come up with.

Bats Recognize Their Friends

Like us, bats have friends that they like to hang out with. Every day when the hundreds of bats in the colony get ready to bed down, they will roost with the same social group again and again. How do they find each other among the mob? They shout out to their friends, of course. Research has shown that bats can recognize the calls of individuals in their social group. Each bat has a “special vocalization that [carries] an individual acoustical signature.” This sounds an awful lot like saying bats have names. These unique individual vocalizations are thought to be greetings. Once friends meet up, they take turns smelling each other’s armpits—because nothing says BFFs like sniffing bat pits. Another way bats communicate their individuality is when they’re hunting for food. When multiple bats are hunting in the same area, they will emit a foraging call while homing in on prey. The purpose of this is to say, “Hey, this bug belongs to me.” Amazingly, these foraging calls are also unique to the individual, so when someone is shouting, “Mine!” the other bats in the area know who said it.

Telephone System

Colonies of disc-winged bats are nomads that stay on the move to avoid predators. They bed down in the curled-up leaves of heliconia and calathea plants, which can accommodate a handful of the small bats. How do these roaming furballs keep in contact with the rest of the colony if they’re spread out across a forest? They use the natural speaker system to signal their friends. The leaf funnels help amplify the calls of the bats inside increasing them by up to two decibels. The leaves also make them “highly directional.” Studies show that bats that were already in their leafy tent had a special call to help their friends home in on them. Bats on the outside called back, playing a game of Marco Polo, until they could locate their brethren. They typically had no problems finding the correct roost. The leaves work even better at turning up the volume of incoming calls, ramping them up by as much as 10 decibels. It’s like living inside of a megaphone.

Noisy Wings

Not all bats are vocal creatures. As a matter of fact, most Old World fruit bats don’t have the ability to create the same clicks and squeaks that most bats use for echolocation. That doesn’t mean they can’t get around at night, though. It was recently discovered that many kinds of fruit bats can navigate with clapping sounds they make with their wings. In fact, researchers were so astounded by this discovery that they went to great lengths to make sure these sounds weren’t coming from the bats mouths. They even went as far as “sealing the bats’ mouths and anesthetizing their tongues.” These bats got the Novocain-and-tape treatment just so scientists could be 100 percent sure they weren’t cheating by using their mouths. So, how are these bats using their wings to make noises that they use for echolocation? Believe it or not, no one has quite figured that out yet. Flying and clapping at the same time is a secret these clever mammals have yet to give up. It is, however, the first discovery of any animal using non-vocally produced sounds for navigation, and scientists are very excited about that.

Whisper Vision

Since bats find prey with echolocation, some of the prey animals, namely moths, have developed the ability to detect bat sonar. This illustrates the classic evolutionary battle between predator and prey. As a carnivore develops a weapon, its potential meal figures out a way to counter it. Many moths will drop to the ground and hold still when they hear a bat approaching. The Pallas’s long-tongued bat has figured out a way to beat the moth’s sensitive hearing. Researchers were surprised to find that these bats dined almost exclusively on moths that should be able to hear them coming. So how do they catch their meal? The Pallas’s long-tongued bat employs a quieter form of sonar that the moths can’t detect. Instead of echolocation, they have whisperlocation. They use the equivalent of bat stealth to swoop down on the unsuspecting moths. Research on another type of whispering bat called the barbastelle showed that its vocalizations were 100 times fainter than those of other bats.

Fastest Mouth Around

There are normal, run-of-the-mill muscles, and then there are super muscles. Rattlesnakes have extreme muscles in their tails that make the rattle work at super speeds. The toadfish’s swim bladder is the fastest muscle among vertebrates. When it comes to mammals, nothing is faster than the larynx of a bat. It can contract 200 times per second. That’s 100 times faster than you can blink. With every contraction, they can make a sound. Researchers wondered what the upper limit of bat sonar was. Since it only takes one millisecond for echoes to return to the bat, their calls would start to overlap at 400 echoes per second. Studies show they can hear up to 400 echoes per second, so it’s only the larynx slowing them down. In theory, there may be some bats out there that can break the existing record. No other known mammal has any muscle that moves this fast. The reason they can perform these astounding sonic feats is that their cells actually have more mitochondria (the batteries of the body) and calcium-shuttling proteins. This gives them more power and allows them to contract more often. Their muscles are literally supercharged.

Bats Go Fishing

Some bats hunt fish. This seems to defy all reason; echolocation doesn’t penetrate water. It just bounces off like hitting a wall. So, how do fishing bats catch fish at all? Their echolocation is so sensitive that it can detect the ripples on the surface that give away the fish underneath. The bat never actually sees the fish. Their echolocation never reaches the prey itself. They find fish beneath the surface by reading the troughs and peaks of the water with sound. That is an astounding trick. It turns out that some bats use the same technique for frogs. If a frog sitting in the water sees a bat, it will hold still. The ripples around it give it away. Another interesting fact about bats and water is that from birth, they are programmed to believe any acoustically smooth surface is water, and they’ll fly down to get a drink. Apparently, if one were to put a smooth plate in the jungle, young bats would dive into it face-first in an attempt to quench their thirst. So on one hand, bat sonar is so acute that they can read the surface of a lake like a book. On the other hand, juvenile bats can’t tell the difference between a serving platter and a puddle.

Source: http://listverse.com/

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Rodents hugely outnumber bats, but bats are more likely than rodents to carry viruses that can be transmitted between animals and humans, according to new research by Colorado State University disease ecologists.

"There's been a lot of speculation that bats might be special in some way as far as their potential to host zoonotic diseases," said Angela Luis, a postdoctoral fellow who conducted the research with Colleen Webb, a biology professor at Colorado State. Zoonotic are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. "We found that although there are twice as many rodent species as there are bat species, bats hosted more zoonotic viruses per species than rodents."

Luis and Webb scoured existing studies to produce their findings, which appear this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society-B Biological Sciences. The research was funded by Research and Policy for Infectious Disease Dynamics, or RAPIDD, through the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Bats carry SARS, Ebola, Nipah and Hendra viruses – all of which can be deadly to humans. The researchers found that bats were more likely to share viruses such as these between species and that viruses may pass more easily between different bat species that live in the same geographic range than between rodent species.

While humans should keep their distance from bats, the ecosystem benefits from healthy bat populations that eat insects and pollinate fruits, Luis said. Bats eat enough insects to account for as much as $3 billion worth of pesticide control annually in the United States.

"Even though this work shows that bats are special as far as hosting these nasty diseases, they're really important ecologically," Luis said. "We want to promote limiting bat and human contact, which will be beneficial for both bat conservation and human health."

Source: http://phys.org/

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They're not flying rodents, they're not blind and they have never been spotted swarming away from a blood-drained human corpse.

Despite their associations with witchcraft, Count Dracula and disease, Florida's 13 species of bat are highly valued creatures, consuming vast quantities of mosquitoes and agricultural pests as they fly unseen across the night sky. At this time of year, however, they need our help.

Maternity season for bats officially runs from April 16 to Aug. 14, when seasonal restrictions take effect against installing bat-exclusion barriers on houses and other buildings. During this time, female bats give birth and nurse their single pup. An exclusion device – which allows bats to leave but not re-enter – would allow the mother to go out and forage but prevent her from returning to care for her pup.

David Diaz, president of American Bat Removal of Wellington , said people are shocked when told they have to wait to get rid of problem bats, which can infest houses and deposit guano and urine around their new home.

"They always say, 'Do you mean to tell me that bats are more important than people?'" he said. "I have to explain to them they only give birth to one baby a year, and if you put up an exclusion net the baby's going to starve to death."

Several species live in South Florida, from the highly endangered Florida bonneted bat, which may be down to a few hundred individuals, to the abundant Brazilian free-tailed bat, which establishes colonies in houses and under bridges that can run into the thousands.

One reason bats make their homes in houses is that they have lost their natural habitat of trees and caves to urban development, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"They're associated with scary stuff," said Terry Doonan, mammal conservation coordinator for the commission. "But they're just little animals trying to make a living."

Diaz said he recently worked jobs ranging from 50 or 60 bats roosting in a pair of condo units on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens to about 1,000 living in a high-rise hotel in Orlando. The worst infestation he ever saw was in a foreclosed house in Sarasota.

"There were easily 4,000 to 5,000 bats," he said. "It was Halloween night when I was there and set up the enclosure net. It looked like a black cloud when they came out."

Most South Florida bats are small. The tricolored bat, named for its multicolored hairs, is just two inches long and weighs half an ounce, Doonan said.

Like pigeons, black rats and great white sharks, bats suffer from something of an image problem. But not only do they consume harmful insects, but they also sing.

Kirsten Bohn, research assistant professor at Florida International University, has recorded bat songs, not just the eerie cheeping you hear in the movies. They go very fast and occur at a high frequency, so for the human ear the songs may just seem like buzzing, but when she records them and slows them down, she can hear songs of complexity and organization.

"They're very social," she said. "They make all kinds of sounds. They actually sing like birds."

Source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

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(HealthDay News) — A newly identified SARS-like virus in bats appears to be able to jump to humans without mutation, new research suggests.

However, it’s not yet clear whether it would then be able to spread from person to person, the researchers said.

A worldwide outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003 was caused by a coronavirus that jumped from animals to humans. That outbreak resulted in 8,000 infections and nearly 800 deaths, the researchers noted.

“Studies have predicted the existence of nearly 5,000 coronaviruses in bat populations, and some of these have the potential to emerge as human pathogens,” senior study author Ralph Baric, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a university news release.

“So this is not a situation of ‘if’ there will be an outbreak of one of these coronaviruses, but rather when and how prepared we’ll be to address it,” Baric added.

Baric and his colleagues looked at how the SARS-like virus in Chinese horseshoe bats behaves. They found that it enters the bodies of bats and humans in the same way. The researchers also noted that this virus replicates as well as the SARS virus in primary human lung cells, the preferred target for infection.

There is no treatment for the newly discovered SARS-like virus, the researchers said.

The findings are important in light of ongoing debate over a U.S. government decision that considerably slows the development of vaccines or treatments for potentially dangerous coronaviruses, the researchers said.

Baric said “building resources, rather than limiting them, to both examine animal populations for new threats and develop therapeutics is key for limiting future outbreaks.”

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It’s illegal for Floridians to remove any bats roosting in their homes beginning April 15. Bats start having their pups this month, and the state says you cannot touch those roosts for the next four months. This practice is particularly important in the Southwest Florida region.

Removing a mother bat this time of year would likely mean her babies would starve to death in the roost. Amy Clifton is a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She said she especially does not want people touching roosts in Southwest Florida.

"You're in the territory of the Florida bonneted bat, which is a federally endangered species," said Clifton. "So that's what's particularly important in the Fort Myers area to follow those guidelines because there could be a fairly endangered bat inside some of these structures."

She said neighbors help enforce this policy because they tend to watch each other for signs of illegal activity. But she said people usually comply with their recommendations. Florida’s bat maternity season runs until August 14th.

Source: http://news.wgcu.org/

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HEALTH RISKS

Although the risk is small, the first major risk is rabies. If you suspect you have been bitten, get medical attention right away. If you are sleeping, and awake to find a bat on your skin (yes it happens) do not risk it. Have it looked at by a medical professional immediately as bites are not often felt. Bat guano carries the spores for Histoplasmosis, a disease mainly affecting the lungs of humans. The risk is much greater for those with immunity disorders, the elderly, and the very young. Bats also carry bat mites. They are often mistaken for bed bugs. Many other exterminators mistake these for bed bugs and will treat a building as such only to be called back over and over again as the presence of bats will allow new ones to take their place.

BAT FACTS

  • Bats are the only mammal that can fly
  • Because bats are small, secretive, and fly at night, people tend to think they are rare because of this. They are not.
  • Bats typically consume insects such as moths, beetles, gnats, crickets and mosquitoes.
  • The common saying “blind as a bat” is actually false. All bats can see and have very good eyesight.
  • To catch and locate prey, bats use acoustic orientation called echolocation. It is the same technique used by a dolphin to home in on fish. Bats emit a supersonic cry through their mouth or nose and locate their prey by the echoes reflected back.
  • Bats are dusk and dawn animals. They come out to feed and for water. They normally return within an hour and leave again just before dawn.
  • Bats do not attack humans. Bats swoop as they go to enter their roosting area and if a human happens to be in the way it may occur. It is not an intentional act.
  • Bats are very beneficial for the community. They help control night-flying insects. A single brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in an hour. Their guano is rich in nitrogen and is sold as fertilizer.
  • Bats are a federally protected animal with a “season” if you will much as certain fish or other select wildlife. The difference is you may not kill a bat as nearly 40% are on the endangered or threatened species list. If we lose our bat species we increase the demand for chemical pesticides, jeopardizing whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species and harming our economy.