“Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” I used to say this as I tucked my children into their beds for the evening, as it was the same sing-songy phrase that my mother said to me when I was little. Well, ever since we had bats roost in the attic of our North Carolina home, we’ve been plagued by the memory of being bitten by creatures much like a bed bugs; they’re called bat bugs.
Let me back track a bit… A few months ago, my husband and I suspected that bats were roosting in our Mooresville home. The first night I heard the subtle scratching emanating from the ceiling above our bed, I woke my husband David. He thought that I was just being paranoid, but the scratching sounds continued intermittently over the next few weeks, mostly during the evening and early morning hours.
I slept very little during this time (I respect bats but I was fearful of some of the potential dangers and inconveniences associated with infestation). David finally agreed that we might have some unwanted visitors staying in the attic. I felt relieved that David acknowledged the potential bat problem, but the relief was quickly replaced by itching. By the next morning, we were ITCHING… the kind of incessant, nagging itch that leaves one’s skin raw and red. The four of us-my husband, my children and myself- were at our wit’s end. We were tired of feeling like the soup du jour for these almost invisible little bugs.
We decided to inspect the attic and we were mortified with what we found. First, we were accosted with the smell of guano, or bat droppings, and we noticed that there were white smudges along the
walls and windows of our attic. We didn’t see any bats, but the itching was worse while we were in the attic.
We did a little research and it turns out that we had bat bugs, tiny little critters that are similar to bed bugs and can be found in bat colonies where guano builds up in gable vents and attic spaces. Yuck! Bat bugs usually catch a ride on bats and feed on their blood, but they can roam away from the roost and feed on mammals such as human beings. Just like bed bugs, bat bugs can fester in mattresses and bed frames and feast on you while you sleep. (Ewww…)
At this point, I had the heebee geebees and though I was relieved to know that bat bugs don’t transmit diseases, I was completely grossed out and irritated. In addition, during my research, I discovered that bats can transmit rabies, a disease that is fatal when left untreated, and when people are exposed to bat guano, they can contract a respiratory infection called Histoplasmosis. We realized that we needed to get rid of the bats in order to fix the bug problem on a long- term basis and to protect our family, so we decided to seek a professional bat removal service.
We called Animal Solutions, as they are a reputable company that humanely removes bats from people’s residence and help with cleanup and control. They were professional, courteous, and most importantly they gave us peace of mind. After many sleepless nights listening to bats squeaking and scratching and a couple of excruciatingly itchy days, we are immensely relieved to be bat and bat bug free. I can rest easy knowing that the bats were removed gently. Now instead of saying the seemingly benign “don’t let the bed bugs bite” rhyme before bed, I tell my kids “sweet dreams,” which we all have now that we have a bat free home.