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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

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Showing 9 comments
  • Denise Ann Fletcher
    Reply

    We have purchased a beautiful log cabin that definitely unbeknownst to us has a severe bat infestation…along with their friends…bat bugs. We have droppings falling through the cedar siding in the ceiling (the top level of the home is 2X6 construction covered with cedar siding…We have no attic access due to the design of the house having very high pitch ceilings. We are looking a the only option is to tear off the entire roof shingles and sheeting in order to expose the bat infested areas. Do you have any suggestions for companies in Saskatchewan, Canada that specialize in removing guano, sanitizing and extermination of bat bugs?
    We are extremely concerned with this situation and terribly upset that this issue was not disclosed to us prior to purchasing this property. However, we have to deal with it…and so we are trying to come up with a plan..first order is getting the bats to move on to another location….any suggestions? We think there are many many bats in the attic space..my kids both hear them in their walls upstairs and there are several locations where droppings fall from the cathedral ceilings….
    thanks in advance for your help.
    Determined in Saskatchewan,
    Denise

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Hi Denise!

      Considering the fact that you have recently purchased the home we may have a few other options for you that you may not be aware of. We have quite a few suggestions for you! Our client liaison, Janeal, will be in touch with you shortly to discuss.

      Thanks,
      Michael Koski

      • John
        Reply

        Denise,

        we have the exact same situation. So upset as well that the seller did not disclose this condition that we later found out that they knew about (we talked to neighbors). Not only this, but we even had a pest control person put a stamp of approval and this was not discovered (goes to tell you how hard these guys are to find). how did you fix this? we are thinking of doing some exploratory roof removal so we can see what type of damage we have. Similar to your log home, we have bedrooms up there which we have not used since our kids got bitten by bugs.
        John

  • Linda Crawford
    Reply

    We also have a bat infestation and are dealing with bat bugs and live in Fort St. John b.c.
    Our ceiling is also vaulted but no bat dropping have occurred just the odd bug every other day.
    I was thinking about pulling down the ceiling to get access it’s still cold up here so I’m hoping they have not come back for the summer yet but I’m not sure since the bugs just came back this last week. So I though I would pull down all the insulation in the roof and I’m sure there is going to be a ton of guano and then kill the bugs but I’m not sure with what and then spray foam all the crackers so they don’t have access .

    Do you have any other ideas?

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      One thing that immediately comes to mind is the risk you are putting yourself in pulling down the ceiling. Make sure if that is something you are going to try to undertake that you use proper safety precautions to avoid spreading any contamination issues throughout your home. That out of the way – we have noticed that bats seem to be returning to many areas much earlier this year. You are looking at two possibilities if you are seeing bat bugs: 1 – the bats are back or 2 – they aren’t back and the bugs are looking for food. Either way, I recommend addressing this as soon as possible before pups are born. You may want to consider contacting a local pest control company or a farm supply type of store and see if they can recommend a product to use to kill and disinfect. Many of these products are commercial grade and not often available to general consumers but laws may be different in Canada.
      Michael Koski

  • Leanne Redward
    Reply

    Our attic has a lot of guano in it. Bats up there for years and years. Not sure if we ever got rid of them. Not sure how much guano as we don’t go in it of course… Don’t use our whole house fan or attic entrances at all. I’m going to see a pulmonologist for spots on my lungs – may or may not be related. Do not know yet. We have several children on top of it… How do we remedy this?? Worse, how much will it likely cost? Approx 1900 sq ft of attic maybe??

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      My apologies Leanne! For some reason, your comment literally just showed up. Your case definitely sounds like your homeowners insurance would get involved. I’m going to email you some information.

  • Carrie Serres
    Reply

    I went to the Dr today for a cough that I’ve had on and off for over a year. We talked about all the things it could be. Dr decided he thinks it’s from the bat guano in my attic but he didn’t give me a test for histoplasmosis.
    I live in a condo on the top floor. The bats have been a huge problem. We’ve had 5 or 6 bats get into our unit each year. We have 2 small children, 1 and almost 3. How serious is this for them?
    My Dr said that once it’s cleaned up, the problem is gone. Is that true – no long term effects from breathing the guano?
    I mean, it is in the attic, relatively undisturbed. We have the occasional critter up there (probably squirrels) who run around and possibly stir it up. But what are the chances that this is the cause of my cough?
    Also, I requested the insurance info and will pass that on to the association manager.
    Thank you!

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      That’s a bummer that the doctor didn’t run any tests for histoplasmosis. There is a blood test that can be done and they can also take a chest x-ray to see if you have any nodules in your lungs.
      Having small children in the home is actually a big problem. Small children do not have the ability to communicate that a bat bit them and they are more susceptible to respiratory issues. I have your email address and will email you the CDC information on rabies and histoplasmosis so you know when you should worry about exposure.
      Your doctor is PARTIALLY correct. Once the bats are gone and the guano is cleaned up there is no further risk of contracting histoplasmosis. But if you’ve already caught it before the bats get out, histoplasmosis can have long term repercussions. It also can be very mild. It really all depends on how your body reacts to it. I’m not trying to scare you, I just want you to have all the facts.
      The chance is pretty good it is the cause of your cough.
      That’s great! We’d be happy to speak with them about the long term risks of not addressing a bat problem.

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