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BAT infestations can lead to litigation after a sale. $40K-$60K in two cases.

By
Home Inspector with Key Termite and Pest Control, Inc.

Bat infestations can lead to expensive removal and cleanup costs and will not be reported in a typical Wood Destroying Organisms Inspection Report. A "WDO" report is commonly used for disclosure in a California real estate transaction, but does not include reporting of non wood destroying pests. Many property owners may have seen bats flying around in their homes at dusk, but have no idea that a bat colony has taken up residence in their home. Bats will be more common around areas that support a large number of flying insects which they feed on. Properties around lakes, rivers, creeks or other bodies of water are more likely to see bat infestations. However, bats will be found wherever they can find a food supply and shelter.

In the expensive removal and cleanup cases we are aware of, the colonies had most likely been active for many years, but the owners never realized the extent of the problem. A few bats would probably not be a big problem, but a bat colony in the hundreds can create a huge problem

bats in the attic

Whether you find them creepy or even fascinating, the mess the leave behind creates a contamination problem. The cleanup costs become very expensive as guano cleanup and replacement of urine saturated structural elements such as wall framing, drywall, insulation, and associated services in the walls and attic spaces becomes very expensive very fast.

bat guano

Here is an example of the amount of guano a colony can deposit over time. All of the urine stained framing you see in the background would need to be replaced to eliminate the odor and contamination. These cleanup efforts after a sale have run in excess of $40-$60 thousand dollars in two cases we are aware of. For more information on bat control, go to http://icwdm.org/handbook/mammals/bats.asp and scroll down to the "damage and damage identification" section for more information.

(No that is not me in the photo. I pulled this image off of the Internet as an example of the amount of contamination that can collect. Yes I think that this was pretty unsafe for whoever that is to have been involved in such a cleanup without a jumpsuit, gloves, eye and respiratory protection)

Remember, a "termite report" will not disclose rats, mice, birds, bats, many other pests or even wood peckers.

For more information on our services from Key Termite and Pest Control, go to http://keytermite.com  or if you have a question send to mark@keytermite.com .

James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Mark, Interesting blog. Is that you squatting next to that pile of guano with out a mask?  That stuff contains many pathogens. You should not even enter an attic like that without proper protection.

Nov 24, 2008 11:15 PM
Anonymous
Mark Maxwell

No, definitely not me. Just a picture I found showing how much guano can accumlate. A HEPA filter mask or better is recommended. Thanks for the observation.

Nov 28, 2008 10:54 AM
#2
Christine McInerney
Great Life RE - Knoxville, TN
The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale

Oh boy- I just saw over 26 bats emerge from my attic this evening- I am calling someone tomorrow and am sick over the cost of cleanup/removal- I hope I don't have as many as these pictures.  I am about 3 miles from the lake/creek I have no idea where they are getting their water supply from.

Jul 14, 2009 02:40 PM
Mark Maxwell
Key Termite and Pest Control, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA

Wow, 26 bats! That is quite a few, but not unusual, and definitely a problem. I hope the affected areas are accessible for cleanup. Expensive cleanup costs occur when the guano and urine extend into inaccessible wall voids or other such spaces. In those cases, demolition is needed to eliminate the contamination. Drywall, insulation and wood framing are very porous. When they absorb urine and moisture from the guano, these contaminated items must be replaced.

Jul 17, 2009 01:14 AM