Bat Odor

Bats are usually welcome around homes because their sophisticated insect-tracking system helps them find and eliminate bothersome pests. When bats enter and roost in homes, however, they can become a nuisance. While bats are generally harmless to humans, their urine and feces have a strong unsavory odor that attracts insects and other bats into their roosting area.

Bat guano produces an unpleasant smell as it decomposes in attics, wall spaces, and other voids. The pungent, musty, acrid odor can often be detected from outside a building containing a large or long-term colony. Similar odor problems occur when animals die in inaccessible locations. The odor also attracts arthropods which may later invade other areas of a building.

Bat guano may provide a growth medium for microorganisms, some of which are pathogenic (histoplasmosis, for example) to humans. Guano accumulations may fill spaces between walls, floors, and ceilings. It may create a safety hazard on floors, steps, and ladders, and may even collapse ceilings. Accumulations also result in the staining of ceilings, sofits, and siding, producing unsightly and unsanitary conditions

Although the fresh urine of a single bat is relatively odorless, that of any moderate-sized colony is obvious, and the odor increases during damp weather. Bat urine readily crystallizes at room temperature. In warm conditions under roofs exposed to sun and on chimney walls, the urine evaporates so quickly that it crystallizes in great accumulations. Boards and beams saturated with urine acquire a whitish powder-like coating. With large numbers of bats, thick and hard stalactites and stalagmites of crystallized bat urine are occasionally formed.

Eliminating the Odor

Here are some of the steps to follow to eliminate bad odor:

Firstly, it is always best to have the area decontaminated by a professional, but if you wish to perform the work personally, a respirator should be worn when removing bat droppings. You should also wear an inexpensive plastic coverall, gloves and goggles. You may also wish to wear a headlamp in order to view the area you will be cleaning more properly.

Some professionals recommend lightly wetting the bat droppings to cut down on the amount of airborne spores while cleaning. Vacuum the bat guano up with a shop vacuum or other device that is not as likely to put as much dust back into the air as you are sucking up, making sure to fully remove any pockets of insect infestation you may find in the area. In worst-case scenarios, insulation and sheetrock may need to be removed in order to get to all of the droppings.

Once the guano is removed, the area should be thoroughly sprayed down with a decontaminant and deodorizer. Many professional companies use an enzyme-based biohazard decontaminant that may be available for purchase online. Check with your local pest control expert for details. Other strong decontaminants that destroy bacteria and germs may also be used. Treat the area and allow it to dry for 12 hours, repeating after 12 hours for particularly severe infestations. If a bat odor is still noticeable after an additional 24 hours has passed, wait another 24 hours to treat a third time. This should take care of the odor problem.

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