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May 21, 2008 - Holy turn up the heat, Batman!

The Clarkston News - Don Rush

So, it is relatively spring. The weather is relatively warm, but warm enough for local bats. Yep, bats in these parts are feeling the need to spread their wings, breed and rear their young. And, this can all be happening in your attic.

This past weekend, my favorite bat-guy, Brandon Township's Dave Kugler, e-mailed me. Dave is owner of Critter Catchers, Inc. (a wildlife "management" firm) and is really into bats. He even started a scholarship fund for the study of chiroptera (Latin for "handwings" read, bats).

Dave is sounding the alarm for folks to relax. He's excited and he wants the general public not to be. It's spring, and for him, that means bat maternity season. Don't freak out, but the maternity ward can be in your home. Here's what batguy Dave says, "Discovering a bat colony in your home can be a frightening experience, but it's a situation that doesn't have to end badly for either side. Put down the tennis racket, take a deep breath, and try to understand the problem. Bats are simply looking for a safe, secure home to raise their young."

I know, I know . . . reading that made you all feel better about the thought of small, brownish mammals flying around your home. I speak from experience -- there is something about bats flying around my noggin that makes my heart pump, palms sweat and my head race with bad thoughts. But, I also know besides all the Dracula movies I have seen, I am no expert on bats. Dave is an expert. So, just as Jonathon Harker had to trust Dr. VanHelsing about vampires, I, too, must trust Dave when in comes to bats.

According to VanKugler, female big brown bats welcome the arrival of their newborn pups in late May. And, by my reckoning, that means this week or next. So get ready, take a deep breath, relax. Be one with the world and feel the love for all things great and small. Things will get back to normal by summer.

Dave says, during maternity season, bat removal techniques are modified. Juvenile bats are able to fly on their own in mid-to-late July. If you attempt a complete eviction during the bat maternity season, you risk having the bats funnel into your living quarters or perishing inside the attic -- and you don't want that.

Basically, Dave says, to get bats out -- you leave them a door out but not a way in, except during maternity season.

There are nine different species of bats in Michigan, providing benefits to homeowners. Micro bats (small chiropteras) have an incredible appetite for insects. Batdude Dave says, a single big brown bat can consume half its body weight in flying insects each night. "Bats provide a natural method for pest control and can reduce our use of pesticides."

A wildlife control service will caulk homes during the maternity season, but active bat entrances will be left open until the young bats can fly. Once the juveniles can fly, the one-way doors will be installed.

If you want more info on bat removal practices, visit Dave's website: # bats. This weekend, burn a hot dog for me, and say a prayer for those who have served and are serving our country.



Critter Catchers, Inc.
P.O. Box 312, Lake Orion, MI 48361
(248) 432-2712

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