Cornwall is going batty this summer – and it has nothing to do with the latest Batman Hollywood blockbuster.
Instead, Cornwall and much of eastern Ontario is dealing with an upsurge in the number of residents complaining abou home invasions courtesy of the little brown bat.
An unusually warm summer, combined with the normal July-August flight training of young bats means more of the winged creatures are accidentally finding themselves inside your home.
Dr. Brian Hickey, a research scientist at the St. Lawrence River Institute and Cornwall’s very own Batman, said in an interview the bats are relatively harmless, despite their false reputation for flying into hair and carrying disease.
“This time of year we typically get an increase because the young are just learning to fly,” said Hickey, adding bats also try to find warm areas to roost and spend the day sleeping. “But this year, because it has been so hot, they are likely findng places that are too warm. So they move to a cooler area.”
All of which leads to confused flight patterns and an increase in bat calls to animal and pest removal companies.
One Ottawa-area firm is doing as many as 20 bat jobs a day. And this is the earliest some in the business have seen the bat problem rear its ugly head.
Hickey said July and August are typically batty months.
He added 80 per cent of homeowners who have bats living in their attics or walls don’t know about their furry little tenants, since bats sleep all day and make little noise.
“The’yre usually pretty quiet,” said Hickey, adding it’s only the large bat colonies that begin to create huge amounts of noise.
He also wanted to dispell some of the myths associated with bats.
While bats have been known to carry rabies, Hickey said the likelihood of being bitten by a bat, let alone one carrying rabies, is quite low since bats want just as little to do with you, as you with them.
Bats have also been linked to other serious health problems, including histoplasmosis which comes from spores on bat droppings, which manifests itself with flu-like symptoms.
Hickey suggested if the droppings are contained to an area like an attic or inside a wall, it is unlikely a person would develop the disease, unless they were disturbing the area – like when a large colony of bats is being removed from a home by an exterminator.
He said histoplasmosis can also be created in pigeon droppings “and pigeons don’t instill fear and panic in people.”
If a bat is found in your home, or you suspect your attic could be home to some unwated radar-guided guests, Hickey suggests giving him a call.
He can provide some advice about how to best deal with the problem. But he also suggests humane removal of the bats by a professional. Hickey can be reached at 613-936-6620.
- Bats would rather eat mosquitoes than go in your hair or suck your blood.
- A bat can eat half to its full weight in bugs, every single night.
- If you’re bitten, immediately wash the bite with soap and warm water, or hand sanitizer. See your doctor or go to the nearest hospital for treatment.
- In Ontario, rabid bats accounted for 24 cases in 2011.
- From 2001-05, 314 bats were confirmed with rabies.