11/30/2009 The State News. By: Anne O'Dell
Warm, cozy houses are the perfect antidote for the icy winter months, but some people might find unwanted creatures lurking in their walls or attic that also are looking for relief from the cold.
The big brown bat, one of nine species of bats in Michigan, typically hibernates above ground, said David Kugler, president of Critter Catchers Inc. Kugler said Michigan residents might find bats in their houses as the outside temperature drops.
Director for the Organization for Bat Conservation Rob Mies said bats typically seek shelter at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Mammals would freeze to death during the winter,” he said. “So when they need to seek shelter, they’re looking for temperatures around 40 degrees … where it’s just the right temperature.”
Although bats could be a problem in the attics and walls of East Lansing rental houses, Julie Mullen, office staff member of Community Resource Management Company, or CRMC, said if a tenant calls to complain about a bat problem, CRMC will call a professional company to remove the pest.
However, she said the company typically doesn’t receive many complaints about bats.
“A couple units a year have problems with bats,” she said. “We put in a work order and contact a company. Tenants don’t have to pay for the cost of the removal.”
Mies said bats should not be considered a threat to humans. Although bats are potential carriers of rabies, a fatal disease when left untreated, the last time a person died of rabies in Michigan was in 1982, he said. Bat feces can be a concern for people only if fungus grows on it and it is inhaled, because it can lead to an upper respiratory problem, he said.
Mies and Kugler said people can help prevent unwanted bats by placing screens on ventilators, closing off chimneys and properly sealing cracks in houses.
“A bat can fit in really tiny spots,” Kugler said. “They can get into a crack as small as three-eighths of an inch.”
Communication sophomore Gabrielle Calkins said her friend had a problem with a bat in the dorms earlier in the year.
“My friend lives in (Landon Hall) and there was a bat in her storage (unit). (It was in) this little hidden space, and it came into her room,” she said. “They called someone on campus, (and) a janitor (came) and removed it.”