Since bats can eat their body weight in insects every night, they produce a significant amount of droppings, or guano. After successfully excluding bats from your home or building, you may be concerned about the mess they left behind. Is it safe to leave it there? Is it safe to sweep or vacuum up?
Guano, Histoplasmosis, and Our Service
Large accumulations of guano sometimes breeds a fungus called Histoplasmosis (see article, Is Bat Guano Dangerous?). This fungus can infect an eye or a lung, and in a serious case, you can lose your eye or lung to this infection. Here are some facts to keep in mind if you’ve had bats removed from your home or building:
- Scattered droppings are not dangerous. They can be swept or vacuumed up.
- Piles of guano more than an inch deep could contain Histoplasmosis.
- Histoplasmosis spores become air born when/if the piles are disturbed
If the accumulated guano is isolated in a wall, ceiling or seldom used attic – you may be fine leaving it alone. Over time, the guano will dry out, and the fungus will die – provided the bats do not return to keep adding moisture/new droppings and urine to the pile.
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When guano should be removed
There are several situations that call for guano clean up, or Histoplasmosis remediation. They include:
- Guano is located somewhere that people may disturb it.
- Remodel is planned in the area where guano is located.
- An odor persists after the bats have been excluded.
- People in the home or building are having respiratory problems.
- Commercial properties where liability is a concern.
What is involved?
Our technicians are trained to remove guano while minimizing the chances of spreading Histoplasmosis spores into the building. To protect the crew, we wear disposable clothing, eye protection and respirators with filters measuring one micron. The guano is double bagged and taken to an appropriate disposal facility. Finally fungicide is sprayed over the contaminated area to kill any lingering spores.
Guano removal is always best done after the bats are gone. Usually, we cannot even assess the situation or provide an estimate until the bats have left. Additionally, it is safer, and thus less expensive if the guano removal can be scheduled during the colder months of the year.
Our technicians focus on remediation. Unless other specific arrangements are made, we will remove all guano that is deep enough to cause a concern. Scattered droppings may still remain.
Finally, please note that guano clean up is an area commonly covered by home owner’s insurance policies. Please call your agent to see if you are covered.
By Michael Koski