I have been conducting home inspections in Costa Rica since 1993 and I frequently encounter evidence of bats. Some folks are looking for solutions to eliminate the bats, because they scurry around in the ceilings at night and make it difficult to sleep.
I have found evidence of bats inside and outside of homes on walls, floors and terraces.
Additionally, the open gaps under the corrugated roofing laminates that are commonly installed here, make it easy for insects and bats to enter inside the roof cavity and attic, and once inside, they eat, sleep and excrete their droppings.
Their droppings can cause diseases and the odor attracts more intruders such as raccoons, pizotes and other mammals searching for food.
Bats are common intruders in Costa Rica, and they are nocturnal, so at night you may hear them scurrying around above your ceilings. Once inside, they are difficult to eradicate and if they die inside your dwelling, the odor is not pleasant. If a dead bat is found in your home, do not touch it with your bare hands, because bats are associated with a few diseases that affect people, such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Rabies is dangerous, but only about 5% of bats carry the rabies virus.
The most serious health risk is from a disease organism that grows in the nutrient-rich accumulations of bat droppings, called histoplasmosis, which is caused by a fungus and transmitted to humans by airborne fungus spores.
The incidence of histoplasmosis being transmitted from bat droppings to humans is not high, but fresh bat droppings can contain the fungus.
Furthermore, the accumulation of bat droppings can harbor parasites that may invade your dwelling. Although these parasites can bite and irritate, they are unlikely to transmit diseases to humans. Some parasites that may cause problems inside dwellings include the bat bug, (related to the bedbug, soft ticks and biting lice.)
There are several methods to prevent bats from entering inside your home, without killing them. I have seen houses where owners have installed pieces of shiny objects like aluminum foil to deter the bats. There are electronic devices available that emit sounds that bats do not like. You can also use some natural fragrances such as: cinnamon, peppermint, green tea, eucalyptus, or menthol to discourage bats from hanging around your house. The scents irritate the bats and they will go elsewhere.
If the bats have entered inside your roof or attic via gaps under roof, fascias or soffit laminates, the only method that I know that works for sure is to close the gaps where they enter. If you would like to prevent the bats from entering as well as gain acoustic and thermal protection, you can remove the roof laminates and install fiberglass insulation. The insulation plugs up the gaps so the bats cannot enter and it reduces the noise from the rain hitting the metal laminates as well as reduces heat transfer into your ceilings.
Additionally, there is a new polyethylene product manufactured to fill the gaps under the various different profiles of roof laminates. The manufacturer is ProTecho, and the products are available at some building suppliers.
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country inspecting property and construction he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about construction in Costa Rica. If you want to eliminate bats around your dwellings, you can utilize some of the suggestions above, or contact this bat control specialist. Fumigadora Costa Rica.