Bat Guano Removal In Virginia
(804) 729-0046 or toll-free at (888) 824-7383
What is Bat Guano?
Bat Guano is the excrement of cave dwelling bats and birds. The fresh excrement of insect-eating bats can have nitrogen levels approximating that of seabird guano and high phosphate levels, but bat guano typically has less fertilizing value than seabird guano from arid areas because its nitrogen content is more easily leached within cave environments.
What Does Bat Guano Look Like?
One way to tell what kind of animal inhabits a space is to examine the droppings. If bats are suspected in an attic or closed space, looking for droppings is a good way to determine if there is an infestation. Bat droppings are called guano and are irregularly shaped and usually contain insect parts. Depending on the type of bat, the guano is generally dried and appears about the size of mouse droppings; however, bat guano is usually found in piles near entrances to colonies, in contrast to mouse droppings, which are found scattered and not in piles. Larger bats will have larger guano with larger insect parts. Pictured above is a pile of bat guano found at a Virginia home.
Is Bat Guano Dangerous?
Almost everyone agrees that bats are good for our ecosystem, but bats can also be dangerous because of their potential to carry the rabies virus. Another danger associated with bats is histoplasmosis, a disease you can get from exposure to bat guano (bat droppings or bat poop).
What is Histoplasmosis?
Histoplasmosis, also known as Cave disease, Darling’s disease, Ohio valley disease, reticuloendotheliosis, spelunker’s lung and caver’s disease is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Symptoms of this infection vary greatly, but the disease affects primarily the lungs. Occasionally, other organs are affected; this is called disseminated histoplasmosis, and it can be fatal if left untreated.
How Do You Get Histoplasmosis?
Histoplasma capsulatum is often associated with decaying bat guano or bird droppings. Disruption of bat feces, particularly if handled by untrained and unskilled Virginia wildlife removal technicians, can release infectious elements that are inhaled and settle into the lungs.
Bat feces contain the histoplasmosis fungus. This fungus grows in the soil where the droppings land, or in the droppings found in an attic occupied by bats. The fungus then continues to grow. Infection can occur when untrained and ill-equipped homeowners try to clean out an old barn, the attic, or other place where the Histoplasma capsulatum spores are located.
How Do I Know If I Have Contracted the Histoplasmosis Infection?
The disease first affects the lungs, and often those with the disease have no symptoms or very mild symptoms within the first few days. On an average, around 10 days after exposure, many sufferers complain of flu-like symptoms: fever, chest pain, loss of appetite, dry cough, headache, shortness of breath, impaired vision, and possibly joint and muscle pains. Because of the vague symptoms, you may have been exposed to the disease and not know it.
In many cases, the disease may run its course, and you will think you’ve simply had a case of the flu. Some cases, however, are more serious, leading to long-term illness, often resembling tuberculosis in nature. And some cases, if not treated, are fatal.
If you have a weakened immune system (are undergoing chemotherapy, have AIDS, etc.) or are a heavy smoker, you may be more susceptible to getting histoplasmosis. And if you’ve had it in the past, you are subject to a re-infection or reactivation of the disease after another exposure. This is especially true for the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and the very young.
Healthcare providers rely on your medical and travel history, symptoms, physical examinations, and laboratory tests to diagnose histoplasmosis. The most common way that healthcare providers test for histoplasmosis is by taking a blood sample or a urine sample and sending it to a laboratory.
Healthcare providers may do imaging tests such as chest x-rays or CT scans of your lungs. They may also collect a sample of fluid from your respiratory tract or perform a tissue biopsy, in which a small sample of affected tissue is taken from the body and examined under a microscope. Laboratories may also see if Histoplasma will grow from body fluids or tissues (this is called a culture).
How Is Histoplasmosis Treated?
Although mild cases may disappear on their own, you should contact your health professional to make sure you are not one of those who should be taking antifungal medicines. Sometimes the disease is spread throughout the blood system (called disseminated histoplasmosis), and if that is the case, medicine is necessary.
For some people, the symptoms of histoplasmosis will go away without treatment. However, prescription antifungal medication is needed to treat severe histoplasmosis in the lungs, chronic histoplasmosis, and infections that have spread from the lungs to other parts of the body (disseminated histoplasmosis). Itraconazole is one type of antifungal medication that’s commonly used to treat histoplasmosis. Depending on the severity of the infection and the person’s immune status, the course of treatment can range from 3 months to 1 year. Diagnosis and treatment decisions should ALWAYS be made by a licensed health care provider.
How Do I Keep from Getting Histoplasmosis?
When you are cleaning an old attic or building, avoid areas that may harbor the fungus, especially if there are accumulations of bird or bat droppings. You should also keep bats and birds from nesting in areas in buildings such as barns, and in your house attic or eaves.
If you have a bat or bird infestation it is best to have your home or building cleared of bats and/or bird roosts by having a company specializing in bat control do the work. They will know the proper ways to control the spores and have appropriate clothing and equipment to minimize the risk of getting or spreading the disease. When Virginia bat control professionals clean up these droppings, they (the good ones anyway) use industrial vacuums with special high-efficiency filters, thus reducing the risk to the workers and buildings occupants. Even then, the experts don protective clothing and air masks to avoid breathing the spores.
I’ve Had Bats Living in My Attic and Walls and Now There is a Horrible Odor. Is the Air in My Home Safe to Breathe?
While breathing the air may not be pleasant (bat poop can have a horrible smell), you should not have problems associated with histoplasmosis. However, be aware that bats may carry bat mites, fleas, and other parasites, and they are likely to find a way into your living area. Also, if a bat is trapped, it may die, and the smell of the decomposing bat, as well as the bat guano, may be very unpleasant. It is best to have the bats removed as quickly and as humanely as possible to prevent these and future problems.
For additional information on bats and bat removal in Richmond, Charlottesville, Henrico, Chesterfield, Salem, Roanoke, Williamsburg and other areas served in Virginia contact our office at (804) 729-0046 or toll-free at (888) 824-7383 or visit Bat Removal in Virginia – Bats in Attic – Bat Guano Removal from Attics in VA.
We are experts in bat guano removal, cleanup, disinfecting and deodorizing the contaminated area. Richmond VA and Charlottesville VA bat guano removal experts for safe contamination free elimination of your bat guano.