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Category: Bats

Don’t Play With the Bats!

Don't Play with BatsIt’s the time of year when we start thinking of Halloween and all that entails: trick or treating, witches, black cats, and of course, vampires that turn into bats. Actually, funny story – did you know that in Bram Stoker’s novel, the most famous (or is that infamous?) vampire, Dracula, is never seen turning into a bat? It’s hinted at, but he actually is more likely to turn into a wolf! How’s that for a monster mash?

We know in real life that bats aren’t evil bloodsuckers; they’re cute little nocturnal mammals. But that doesn’t mean they’re all loveable and fun to play with, either!

Bat Scratch Fever

…which some high school kids in Utah found out the hard way. More than 40 kids at two high schools in the Salt Lake City area had to be treated for rabies after a student was scratched by a bat.

Both schools are on the bats migratory path, about 20 miles apart. And while only one person at one school was positively scratched by a bat, the second school discovered a massive bat colony in the attic after getting reports that students were carrying the bats around.

Because rabies is not easily identified in bats by sight, every student who came into contact with the bats was forced to undergo 2-weeks of 5-shots, because once the symptoms appear in humans, it’s almost always fatal.

Don’t Be Afraid

The good news is, while there is always a chance of stumbling over a rabid bat, most bats generally keep to themselves, and, as you might imagine, mostly come out at night. In fact, in Utah, just as here in Florida, it’s illegal to disturb the bats because they are a protected species (as in, just this side of endangered). And except for the rare case of rabies, none of the 13 species found in Florida are interested in biting you.

In fact, their status is one of the reasons we’ve made bats our pest of the month for October. Luckily, October is in the ‘off-season’ for bat mating. That means we can do what we call exclusion. We safely relocate the bats from your home or business to happier locales.

If it were earlier in the year, we are not as able to assist. April 15 to August 15 is bat maternity season, and because of their protected status, even the highly-trained professionals on our Good News Pest Solutions team can’t touch them. So we recommend checking before it’s too late – in between searching for your annual receipts, for example – or giving us a call in September.

But Seriously…

If you do find one or more bats in your attic or office space in Bradenton or Port Charlotte, just call us. Don’t try to touch it or move it on your own. Even if they aren’t going to bite you, they’re not going to be thrilled at being poked at, and again, it is against the law. We’ll find the bat a safer place to live and you can focus on deciding which one of those fun size candy bars you’re going to give out!

Bat Maternity Season Is Coming!

Bat Maternity SeasonIn the recent trailer for The Justice League movie, Commissioner Gordon tells Batman, “It’s good to see you playing well with others again.”

According to the comics, Bruce Wayne chose to dress like a bat to strike fear into the hearts of villains, typically a “superstitious and cowardly lot.” And from Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, through present-day Halloween, we tend to focus mostly on the, well, scarier aspects of these flying rodents.

(One notable exception – Rosita, the bilingual muppet on Sesame Street was designed to resemble one of her native Mexico’s fruit bats, her full name being Rosita, La Monstrua de las Cuevas.)

There’s so much more about bats that makes them interesting: they breastfeed their young – called pups – they are great at pest control – by eating mosquitoes and other pesky insects, they save us billions of dollars in unneeded pesticides, not to mention saving us from the side effects of those toxic chemicals. And even the truly scary ones – vampire bats, don’t suck your blood and are only found in South America.  Only 1% of all bats carry rabies, and those that do die within hours.

There are 13 distinct bat species in Florida – where, by the way, bats are an endangered species. That means, just like Manatees, Red Pandas and Gopher Tortoises, you can’t intentionally kill or threaten them. Bats are some of the longest living mammals, especially for their size, and they all give birth at about the same time, from April 15 – August 15 every year. Imagine how busy those bat maternity wards must get!

Because of their endangered status, we have to be very careful not to kill or wound bats when we have to deal with them – not that we would anyway! As always, Good News Pest Solutions looks for the best, safest solution for our clients and the environment. That means we don’t hurt them, rather, we do what’s called bat exclusion.

Bats are very territorial and will always return to their ‘home roost,’ given the opportunity. So, we have to help them relocate. We determine entry points by observing the bats and inspecting for their guano (bat droppings). Once we’ve targeted their point of entry, we drape netting, so that the bats can leave to feed but cannot return. Within a week, the bats have infested and imprinted a new roosting site and the entry points can be sealed.

Because bat pups cannot fly until they’re older, we cannot do bat exclusion during their maternity season – that’s April 15 – August 15, remember? Otherwise, the baby bats die and nobody wants that.

So, if your home in Port Charlotte or Sarasota is infested with bats, well, either contact us now, or enjoy your role as a happy bat pup nursery until mid-August. Think of all the good you’ll be doing when those birds, er, bats, fly the coop, and start harvesting mosquitoes!

Whether you call now or in the fall, we’re always happy to help our flying pest control friends find a new home!

Spooky Bat Cookies

Spooky Bat CookiesAdmit it, you sometimes come to this site just to find something scary, especially this time of year. Well, you’re in luck! Our post this week is super scary… Scary goodness, that is!

Everybody loves a tasty cookie and these fun cookies will surely hit the spot. Give your little princesses and superheroes a real treat, or save these for the adults’ party! Either way these Spooky Bat Cookies are sure to please!

Spooky Bat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 24 round chewy caramels in milk chocolate (from 12-oz bag), unwrapped
  • (or substitute fun size candy bars for chocolatey-er bats)
  • 1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury™ Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)
  • 24 chocolate wafer cookies, broken in half
  • 12 black gumdrops, cut in half lengthwise
  • 48 red mini candy-coated chocolate candies
  • Optional – for Vampire bats, you’ll also need 48 candy corns

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Press 1 caramel (or chocolate) into center of each cookie dough round, and shape into a ball to cover caramel completely.
  3. Place balls approximately 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges and set.
  5. Immediately insert chocolate wafer halves into cookie at an angle for bat wings.
  6. Press gumdrops and red candies on cookie for eyes as shown.
  7. If making Vampire bats, press the candy corns in now, too.
  8. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

This recipe makes 24 fun little bat cookies for the whole family to enjoy! And Happy Halloween!

Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury.com!

The Ultimate Bat Cave

Bracken Bat CaveCalling all bat fans! We have the coolest bat cave to tell you about! And we promise you, Batman’s cave’s got nothing on this one!

You will find this surreal subterranean sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas—it’s called Bracken Cave, the summer home of the world’s largest bat colony. Millions, yes, millions, of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) live in the cave from March thru October!

But what’s probably even more incredible than their staggering numbers, is when these mighty little insect hunters emerge as a massive spinning spiral out of the cave at dusk for their nightly insect hunt. Animal behavior expert, Leonard Ireland, who researched the bats at Bracken Cave in the 1960s and 1970s, said the clouds of bats coming from the cave were up to “30 miles long and 20 miles wide.”  (Source: Wikipedia: Bracken Cave) Wow!

Can’t quite picture this marvel in your mind? No need…here’s a video!

Incredible, right? It is a sight to behold! This cave also holds the record for the largest known concentration of mammals in the world. These bats have visited the cave for many, many years, helping the local farmers by controlling the insect population. These hungry little bats devour several tons of insects per night, which according to research from 2006, saves cotton farmers in south central Texas about $740,000 a year. Way to go, bats!

And if bats happen to be “visiting” one of your structures, whether it’s residential or commercial, we can humanely and safely remove them right now as this is the prescribed time for bat exclusion work, August 15th through April 15th. Exceptions can be made during this time period if the bats’ presence is causing harm to individuals or  structures.

If you are looking for help to control the insect population around your home, we would be honored if you would consider us, Good News Pest Solutions! Good News Pest Solutions can solve your termite and pest control problems with industry leading Eco-Superior (Environmental, Pet and Family Friendly) methods and products, and our certified, professional staff can eliminate all of your pest problems.

Bats: The Pest Police!

Bats: The Pest PoliceIt’s Halloween time, and decorations of spiders, witches, and “all things scary ” have begun to appear on store shelves everywhere.

Unfortunately the bat gets included in this list—poor thing has quite the reputation! This unusual flying mammal is feared for either its “blood-sucking” habits or “carrier of rabies” status.

However, it’s easily forgotten that bats are one of our best pest police. Each night they take to the sky to feast on mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Move over, batman….bats are the true heroes!

We like the way Kathleen Smith, a Wildlife and Fisheries level three biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) puts it: “People don’t realize that bats play a pretty critical role in insect control.They control a major part of the pest population; that’s billions of dollars that the agriculture industry would otherwise have to spend on pesticides.”

Billions of dollars on pesticides? And pesticides that are probably not environmentally-friendly to boot!

Wow! Are you starting to think differently about bats now? Florida has 13 different species of this flying pest control, including:

  • The Evening Bat
  • The Northern Yellow Bat
  • The Mexican (sometimes also called the Brazilian)
  • The Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat
  • The Velvety Free-Tailed Bat
  • The Seminole Bat
  • The Tricolored Bat
  •  The Florida Bonneted Bat
  • Northern Yellow Bat
  • Hoary Bat
  • Big Brown Bat
  • Rafinesque’s Big-Eared bat
  • Bray Yyotis Bat

And please remember this: whatever type of bat you might stumble upon one evening, rest assured it has no interest in sucking your blood;  vampire bats are only found in Central and South America!  And….only 1 percent of bats carry rabies!

If you suspect you have bats in your home or building, give us a call. We would be happy to help you. We do not kill them! We safely relocate them. And for the record, April 15 – August 15 is their mating season and NO bat exclusion work should be done during that time, unless there is harm to individuals or the structure by their presence.

So  if you happen to see a bat decoration this Halloween season, let it serve as reminder of their usefulness to the environment…there’s nothing to be afraid of!

Source: News-press.com

 

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