“Lions and tigers, and bears, oh my!” may be the well-known ditty Dorothy uttered in The Wizard of Oz, but if she had stepped into the Wicked Witch of the East’s castle, she might have added another wildlife creature that was prevalent there as well as in our own state and ’hood: bats.
New York is home to nine species, some of which are protected so killing is not permitted unless the bat has been identified, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).
According to bat-removal specialist Neil Tregger of Hudson Valley Wildlife Solutions, spring is the time to make sure your home is sealed so bats can’t enter, especially if you’ve had bat problems before. Bats, like other mammals, tend to return to favorite habitats to roost and care for their babies.
Though many bats favor trees, they can find their way into older homes, new homes in previously forested areas, and houses of any age with holes, cracks, and crevices. What’s more, they love hiding behind shutters and under porch roofs. The females tend to live together in large colonies, while the adult males live on their own, according to the New York State of Department of Health (NYSDOH).
To find a qualified, licensed pest control expert, you can go to the consumer site of the National Pest Management Association website and type in your zip code. Many large companies like Craig Thomas Pest Control handle removal of bats along with more everyday pests. Or you can go directly to a nuisance wildlife specialist such as Tregger, who founded the Troy-based Hudson Valley Wildlife Solutions with Matt Osinskie. The duo hold college degrees in Wildlife Management from SUNY Cobleskill.
That company offers emergency 24-hour house calls, which can be costly, but are worthwhile for peace of mind. After the professionals locate the bat in a room or attic, they will capture and release it. If it makes its way into into a wall, it may die or try to escape, possibly through its entry point. They seal any holes, look for signs of where the bat lived based on its black guano droppings, and build one-way doors for the bat to leave without being able to return.
For continued prevention, they will monitor care for a year — or several — for several thousand dollars more. Your job is to be on the lookout so they never consider your home their home.