Friday, May 11, 2007

Bats again, oh no!

Two years ago, in August, we discovered a maternal colony of bats in the attic and I took this picture.

I was worried (because bats get rabies and have cooties in their guano) and delighted (because bats are excellent, interesting creatures which consume mosquitos). I'd never managed to get them to live in the bat house my dad gave me - but they love that space behind the louvered vent...

They came back last year. However, when I started running the whole house fan, well, they didn't like that, so they left.

I was relieved (not to have so many bats and so much guano in my attic) and disappointed (because I let all those little mothers go homeless).

Well, they're back. I don't know what to do. There's a big pile of guano under the fan and evidently there's no safe way to dispose of it!

Also, I want to run my fan, it keeps the house cool. But I don't want to disturb the little mothers. They make cute little squeaking noises and creep slowly across the hardware cloth I put up to keep them from getting into the rest of the attic.

Check this out! Yikes!

Preventing Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lungs, can be contracted by exposure to areas where bat droppings have accumulated; a thorough cleaning of such sites is recommended to help prevent histo infection.

Cleanup of Bat Guano Accumulations

Trained personnel should remove any remaining guano using approved protective equipment, and using methods to prevent aerosolization of guano.

Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, Tyvek suit with elastic cuffs or seal the glove/sleeve interface with duct tape to protect personal clothing from contamination with infective organisms. Rubber boots or Tyvek shoe covers should be worn if workers will be walking on the bird droppings.

Once the work is complete, in an excrement free area, remove the protective clothing, and place them in plastic bags prior to removing respiratory protection. Treat disposable clothing believed to be contaminated with disease agents as an infectious waste. Contact Hazardous Waste Technician at Environmental Heath & Safety, for further information (extension 4356).

Nondisposable work clothing and respirators should be removed, placed in a plastic bag, and sealed. These items must be disinfected in the bag before final cleaning and reuse. Workers must not wear their own personal street clothing under the disposable coveralls.

Removal should entail wetting down material to be removed and possibly utilizing HEPA vacuums for removal.

Thoroughly clean visible and accessible area of the interior walls where bats were know to roost, or where guano was observed. Use an approved disinfectant.

If complete elimination and cleaning of inaccessible areas is not feasible, those areas should be isolated and enclosed to prevent future exposure to aerosolized particles.

Monitor those who may have been exposed to aerosol particles during this work for any adverse health effects. This includes those involved in the cleanup, and those may subsequently return to the area, such as employees or residents. Monitoring would include identifying any signs and symptoms consistent with histoplasmosis, such as malaise, fever, chest pain, dry or non-productive cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, joint and muscle pains, chills, and hoarseness.

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At 12:45 PM, Blogger Soulknitting said...

Hi, I love bats too. I've spent quite some time caving and there are lots of bats and bat poop. Can't cave without being around bat poop.

While I believe in taking precautions, I would sure wear a face mask, gloves and wear cloths to throw away when done cleaning up, I really don't know HOW much more cautious I would need to be. Lots of cavers are in lots of bat poop on a regular basis without harm. But on the other hand, it is always the smart thing to be extra cautious.

I believe I would check with both my county extension offices and also a university in your area -- in what departments deal with bats.

In Las Vegas, we have a HUGE bat colony at our main airport. That is all I know.

On another note, I would NOT like all that bat poop being in a place where air is being sucked into my house by a circulating fan.

I had to fence off my air conditioning unit and do a huge clean up because of pigeons, MANY pigeons, sleeping under and around the AC unit. THAT was also very gross. Face masks, gloves, throw away cloths and a shop vac. YUCK.

I love Mexican Brown bats. So cute. Good luck and be safe in your endeavour.

Hmmmm, bat people at Carlsbad Caverns may have helpful info on how to deal with the bat poop too.


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