Spike in Bats Found in Homes in Mid-Michigan

Jon Southworth has spent most of his nights the past few weeks watching for bats to see how they're getting into a home or in this case, a local hotel. Southworth owns a nuisance control business and in the last month, he has received more calls about bats than ever before in his five years in the business.

"I had a house in Eaton Rapids that had between two and five-hundred bats in it, and that one pretty much cured me of the jumps and the heebie-jeebies," said Jon Southworth , owner of Trapper Man's Trapping and Nuisance Control.

But bats still give most of us the heebie jeebies. Southworth and other nuisance control professionals I spoke with say they've received as many as 10 panicked calls a day recently, from people who discover one of many of the critters in their home. but experts say a bat stuck in a home is probably as scared as you are.

"This is the time of the year when the bats that were born this year, the juveniles, are sort of striking off on their own, and have to either make it or not make it on their own. They don't necessarily know where they're supposed to be, so they're trying to hibernate," said Dan O'Brien, at the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health.

And the confused, young bats look for places to hibernate in homes. They only need a quarter of an inch to get in.

"Because of the difficult economic times we've had over the past few years that people haven't been able to keep on repairs on houses, so the bats are finding more ways to get into attics and or wall spaces," said O'Brien.

More opportunities to enter a home and a slowly growing bat population in the state of Michigan mean we can expect a similar spike in bats in homes time next year.

If you do find a bat in your home and attempt to take care of it on your own. The CDC recommends that you capture the bat rather than kill it or release it back outside. And always wear leather work gloves if you're trying to catch a bat. If you catch one give your local health department a call to see if they want you to bring it in to be tested for rabies. If the bat entered your home while you were asleep and you could have been bitten without knowing it, this is especially important. Their bites are very light and sometimes go unnoticed.

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