Bats are common in Costa Rica, and they are nocturnal, so at night you may hear them scurrying around your casa.
Here are some bat facts that you may want to consider before calling an exterminator.
Bats are naturally helpful to humans, because they eat lots of mosquitoes and beetles, which means you need fewer pesticides to control insects around your house.
One small bat can eat up to 500 mosquito-sized insects in an hour, and some bat colonies have millions of bats, so you can imagine how they can help keep insects around your house to a minimum.
Bats are the only flying mammals, and like other mammals, mother bats feed their pups breastmilk, and they only give birth to one pup per year. The mothers fly with their babies hanging on their chests, simultaneously breastfeeding while in flight.
Bats are most often found near sources of water, such as ponds, lakes, and small streams.
The fruit and nectar-eating bats are important for dispersing seeds and pollinating flowers.
You need not worry about the myth of blood-sucking vampire bats because they do not drink human blood. They get blood from cows, sheep, and horses, by making a small cut in a sleeping animals skin. The vampire bats only need about 2 teaspoons of blood a day, and the animals rarely feel anything or wake up while the bat is feeding.
I have been conducting home inspections in Costa Rica since 1992 and I frequently find bat droppings on the exterior walls, window sills, and terraces of houses.
Some folks are looking for solutions to eliminate bats around their houses, because sometimes they scurry around in the ceilings at night and make it difficult to sleep.
They can get into the spaces between your roof and interior ceilings through open gaps under the corrugated roofing laminates that are common here, and once inside, they eat, sleep and leave their droppings.
There is a polyethylene product to fill the gaps under the corrugated roof laminates. The manufacturer is ProTecho, and the products are available at some local building suppliers.
Bat droppings can cause diseases and the odor attracts other intruders such as raccoons, pizotes and other mammals searching for food.
If you find a dead bat, 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, so avoid touching bat droppings with your bare hands.
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. The most common parasite associated with bats, that may cause problems inside your house is the bat bug, (related to the bedbug, 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, and 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.
If the bats have entered inside your roof or attic via gaps under your roof laminates, the best 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 have your corrugated metal roof laminates removed and install fiberglass insulation. When your roof laminates are re-installed, the insulation will fill the gaps so the bats cannot enter, and it reduces the noise from the rain hitting the metal laminates, as well as reduces ultraviolet radiation heat transfer into your ceilings.
The most friendly method to live around bats is to install a small house for them, away from bright lights, around 15 feet above the ground, in an area near your house that receives a lot of sunlight, so their house stays hot.
Furthermore, if you want to be really bat-friendly, plant night-blooming flowers that attract the insects that bats like to eat.
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.