Bats in a School– Not a Great Start to the Fall Semester!
Bats in a school – it’s never good news for any parent, student, or teacher! Unfortunately, two schools in Shelby County, Kentucky, have been struggling with bat infestations in the last few weeks, resulting in a rocky start to the fall semester.
Bats were discovered in the attic of Wright Elementary School just weeks before school was due to re-open after Summer break. The school immediately contacted a pest control company. The North Central District Health Department began investigating the situation on August 7th. On August 8th, parents were notified that there were bats in the school. Bats in Kentucky are a protected species, and it’s illegal to disturb bats during mating season, which lasts up until August 15, so this delayed bat removal efforts, as the Pest Control company had to obtain special permission from the state authorities to start the bat exclusion before school started.
Finally, the situation came to a head last week when a bat was found in a classroom full of students. Following this, health officials advised Shelby County Public Schools (SCPS) to close Wright Elementary School. According to news reports, the Pest Control company has been “working to seal the roof and reroute the bats.” So far, the bats are still in the school but have relocated from the attic to the gym.
Why do bats in a school present a serious problem?
The main concern when facing bat infestations in schools is the health risks to staff and students, as contact with bats puts them at risk of contracting serious diseases such as rabies. Young children are especially vulnerable as they can be curious, want to touch the bats, and may not fully understand or remember instructions to avoid the animals. In addition, they may not tell parents or teachers if they have had contact with a bat.
How should bats in a school be removed?
As these situations demonstrate, school personnel should act quickly if bats are discovered on the premises. The only effective method of bat removal is exclusion, which involves these three steps:
- Identifying the entry/exit point(s) the bat colony is using
- Sealing all external gaps in the school building, except the entry/exit point. A thorough inspection and meticulous sealing work is vital for this to work. Technicians doing this work should have access to all parts of the school’s exterior – including high places, difficult to access- such as the roofline. (Get Bats Out technicians are trained and certified in rope access work for this purpose.)
- Install bat exclusion devices at the entry points. This should act as a one-way door, allowing the bats to exit the school building but preventing them from re-entering.
If any of these steps are missed or not carried out properly, the work will be pointless, and the bats will continue to enter and exit the school, or worse still, they may become trapped inside the school. When this happens, bats will work their way into the inside of the building to find another way out to eat and drink.
Stay alert to signs of bats during fall
A Mammologist, Professor Luke Dodd from Eastern Kentucky University, advised that as fall progresses, so does the likelihood that residents of Kentucky will see bats in their homes. He explained: “Here in Kentucky, with this being a fairly temperate kind of middle portion of the United States and North America, this is kind of a home that many bats seek out in the wintertime.”
Whether you’re in Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, New York, or anywhere else, as winter approaches across the states, it’s essential to stay alert to signs of bats in schools, homes, and other properties, as bats will be looking for suitable places to hibernate. If you suspect you have bats in a school, in your home, or on a commercial property, contact a bat removal company that is fully equipped to deal with bats in any size building. If you need advice or assistance with bat removal, we are here to help!
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