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Critters Causing Chaos: How Bats Can Impact the Building Enclosure

Did you know that a half-inch space is all a bat needs to crawl into your roof? A space the size of a bottle cap is all it takes for them to begin causing havoc. The presence of bats in a building can affect the replacement process and add costly repairs in an existing building.

Some species of bats are endangered and protected, while others are just disruptive. It is important to consider how to resolve the problem of evicting them from the habitats they create in your structure, and to understand the laws in place to protect them, and what measures must be taken to relocate them.

Bats are an important part of our ecosystem. They consume a vast amount of insects including some that damage agricultural crops, they pollinate valuable plants, and their waste can be a rich natural fertilizer; however, bat guano in your building is not pleasant and can be environmentally hazardous.

One major issue bats can cause is staining in the area they enter and exit a facility. This is due to waste accumulation, and can ruin building insulation, sheet rock or particle board, cause an unbearable smell and in extreme cases may cause structural damage.

Tall structures are ideal locations for bats because higher elevations are less likely to receive maintenance. Facility owners seldom notice small cracks or gaps on the facades of higher buildings, but that half inch crack in a mortar joint 30 or 40 feet off the ground can become a highway for bats to enter a structure. Once they gain access to your space, getting them out is a costly and a time consuming endeavor and depending on the location, it can interfere with day-to-day operations.

Because some bat species are protected, a professional should be utilized in the removal process in order to relocate them to a safer area that does not cause harm to you or the environment. Usually this is done through a process called bat exclusion, which lets them fly out, but not back in. This process is performed at night when bats leave to find food. A professional will need to determine the proper enclosure required repairs to prevent them from coming back and assist in the preparation of a maintenance program.

Inspecting your building and knowing what to look for is a crucial step in maintenance and avoiding this problem. At a minimum, become aware of what natural habitats are present in your surroundings. This will help determine what kind of inspections are required. Some important points to consider are:

  • Training maintenance personnel on the warning signs of bats
  • Incorporating a systematic documentation process to know what to look for on a daily, weekly or monthly basis
  • Communicate any bat findings with professionals trained in the relocation process

Once bats or other critters find their way into your building, many issues can arise. Not only do you need to get them out, but the clean-up can be tedious. Next time you spot that small “insignificant opening” in your building, don’t ignore it, you never know what’s inside or what species wants to make it the entrance to their new home!

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