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We have BAT BUGS!!

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  1. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Apr 11 2011 15:59:01
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    So, I had written yesterday that I thought we had bed bugs and a few of you agreed that the picture looked like a bed bug. I had an appt with a pest guy this afternoon, but was too anxious this morning that I went ahead and called another place that had an entomologist there. They said I could bring it by and they would take a look. Turns out it was a BAT bug.

    Last month we had a company come out and remove the 1 bat in our attic. They cleaned up the guano, and replaced the mesh screen. They were supposed to put an exterior screen outside to prevent any others from returning. Well, they miscalculated and their ladder was too short to reach the vent. They were going to need a 48 foot ladder. So, they said they would call the rental place they use and get back to me in a few days. Well, this turned into days...weeks...and now a little over a month. I've called several times and they keep saying they are having a hard time finding a ladder. I was a little skeptical about it all, but I haven't paid them for the job, so whatever.

    Well, now that we found a bat bug, I thought, hey maybe since the bats are gone, these bugs are coming down looking for food. So today, I took a look in the attic and now we have 7-8 bats!! I am so MAD right now. So I called the critter control people and he was very apologetic and said that they had found a ladder they would be able to borrow and he's getting his truck back tomorrow, so he'll be able to take care of things this week. He said they would remove those bats and do the clean up again for no charge (and rightfully so!) and then put on the exterior screen. I was happy that they offered to do this without my having to get ugly about it!

    Anyway, I mentioned how we now have seen a bat bug (possibly 2) and we need to get rid of these bats. He was surprised that they would venture down especially since the bats are there. He said they would make that right by dusting in the attic with Drione (after the bat removal and cleanup).

    So, my question is.... is Drione the answer? Will it be enough? Do we need to treat our bedrooms as well?

    I didn't like the PCO that came out this afternoon. He told me bat bugs wouldn't go after humans and once the bats were gone, the bugs would just leave and he would be happy to do the bat removal and could call me later with a quote. He didn't even want to look around my bedroom for any sign of anything. Thank goodness for FREE inspections

  2. ohno4321

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Apr 11 2011 20:51:19
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    I have batbugs as well. I don't have bats, but instead birds. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information according to the research I have done. For me I going on the assumption that the batbugs will seek out humans once their primary prey is gone and that the batbugs can reproduce with human hosts. I have read things to the contrary but I am taking a pessimistic, proactive approach. I'd like to think the batbugs will just go away but I sure ain't counting on it.

  3. MyWorstFear

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Apr 11 2011 22:37:37
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    Babydoll, There was someone on this site, I believe last year, who had bat bugs and yes, from what I've read from their problem, they will indeed come after people if the bats are gone. Try using the search on the upper right, and the posts will come up and how that person was able to get rid of them. Bedsides identifying the bat bug, was the entomologist able to advise you on what to do or who to hire in your area? How long have you been living in this house and are you the owners?

  4. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Apr 11 2011 22:40:35
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    babydoll,

    Thanks for updating us. I didn't say that your photo was of bed bugs because, honestly, I'm not a good enough IDer that I can tell the difference between bat bugs and bed bugs from a photo. I'm not familiar with the protocols for bat bug removal, but at least you've got a conclusive identification. That's vital in terms of being able to move forward.

    Also, I'm sorry that the bats are also back.

    Thanks for coming back to update us, and I'd be very appreciative of it if you'd keep us informed about how things proceed. Hang in there.

  5. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon Apr 11 2011 23:34:51
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    I didn't like the PCO that came out this afternoon. He told me bat bugs wouldn't go after humans and once the bats were gone, the bugs would just leave and he would be happy to do the bat removal and could call me later with a quote. He didn't even want to look around my bedroom for any sign of anything. Thank goodness for FREE inspections [:)]

    Is this a company which does general pest control, or do they specialize in critters?

    It is not true that bat bugs won't go after humans. They may do this when the bats are gone. (It does seem odd that they were going after you when bats were still present, but I am not an expert on any of this.)

    I would recommend finding a PCO to deal with the bat bugs -- once the bats are 100% gone -- someone who acknowledges that bat bugs will go after humans in the absence of their preferred host, and who knows how to deal with them.

    Note: if the firm you called is a full service PCO, then I would ask to speak with someone higher up. It's possible your tech did not know a lot about bed bugs. Someone else there should. Most larger firms have access to an entomologist who can consult on tricky cases, and they should be aware.

    You can refer the person you speak with to this OSU fact sheet: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2105a.html

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  6. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Apr 12 2011 7:36:30
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    Myworstfear - The place where the entomologist works is a pest control company. They are a green company and would treat the bat bugs the same way they would treat bed bugs by doing a heat treatment on the entire house which would cost me $3000. This was discussed before I came back home and found out that the bats were still there.

    We have owned this house since it was built in 1996, so about 15 years.

    We have had bats in the past, but never really did anything about them. We finally did something about it last month. The bats were all contained in between the vent and mesh screen up there and cleanup wasn't that bad either (all the guano was right there in the screen). The bat guy did find one other dead bat in another area of the attic (right above our bedroom) and he thought it got in from some other place (probably the ridge vent). We did recently have a new roof put on and apparently the guys didn't put all the end caps on so it is possible for bats to get into the actual attic. That's another issue we're trying to address with the roofers.

    Nobugsonme - The company that came out last night is a general pest control company. I had called several companies this weekend (before I new it was actually a bat bug because I was freaking out) and that was one that called me back. Once I found out it was a bat bug and did more research, I kind of knew what had to be done...that we had to remove the bats, and then treat for the bugs because they weren't going to go away on their own. I just didn't like the guy and felt he didn't know as much as I thought he should.

    The company that removed the bats originally is a critter control company specializing in removing wildlife. They never finished the job because they couldn't find a tall enough ladder to put up an exterior screen, so of course the bats came back. They are supposed to come out this week and remove the bats again, clean and disinfect the area, replace screen, put a new screen outside to prevent more bats AND dust the attic with Drione. I would think a company that removes bats for a living would be familiar with bat bugs as well, so I feel pretty good about them doing this.

    I think this is a good start, but I worry it's not enough. We have only seen 1 possibly 2 bat bugs in our room. We don't have any bites that I'm aware of, but it's hard to say. My boys are outside a lot, they get bites and they scratch them, so I don't know where they come from. They also have dark sheets in their room so it's hard to see blood stains.

    After talking with the bat removal guy, I talked with yet another company over the phone. The man that runs the company is an entomologist. I told him what was happening and asked him if Drione was a good choice. He said it's good for attics. I asked if I should have this critter control guy dust in the bedrooms. He said that he wouldn't dust in a room, that he preferred to spray with lentrol and sidekick. He also mentioned some slow release vapor, but now I can't remember where he would do that.

    I also find it odd that the bat bugs are coming after us when the bats are still present. When I found out it was indeed a bat bug, I went to look to see if the bats were still gone thinking that's why they were in our room. But when I saw 7-8 bats I thought it was strange. The bat guy found it weird and thought maybe one or two just took a wrong turn.

    Is it possible that we didn't have bat bugs until the bats came back? Maybe they brought some with them? While researching all this I came across a bird bug as well. I noticed that outside our bedroom window there is a bird nest on the drain pipe. Do bat bugs bother birds?

    I feel like calling this last guy I talked with. He was very nice and helpful, answering all my questions. I thought about asking him to come out and look around. I think it would be important for him to search my room and my boys' room to see if they are hanging around in there. That's my main question...should I have him treat our rooms? Is it overkill?

  7. Louise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Apr 12 2011 10:43:38
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    babydoll - 3 hours ago  » 

    Is it possible that we didn't have bat bugs until the bats came back? Maybe they brought some with them?

    I think that's a possibility.

    I really wonder if that isn't what happened to us two years ago. When the bats returned in the spring, they couldn't (fingers crossed) get in and perhaps ended up knocking some bugs off of themselves and onto the windowsill. That would explain the casing that we found there (our PCO was convinced that there was NO WAY a casing would be on the windowsill since bat bugs and bed bugs prefer dark places...until she saw it, that is.)

    Pure speculation, of course. But I think it's possible.

  8. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Apr 12 2011 10:49:33
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    Louise - Did you find anything else other than that casing in the windowsill? Did you have an actual infestation of bat bugs? What did your PCO do?

  9. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue Apr 12 2011 15:50:01
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    I called my bat guy today about the ladder again (so they can screen up the vent so the bats can't get back in). I hate to be a pest, but we can't move forward until the bats are gone. He's still working on it. The guy said there ladder leaves them about 8 ft short. So, my hubby had the idea of using the bed of our truck (that would put them 3 ft off the ground) and then building some sort of stage to put them up another 4-5ft higher. That way they could use their own ladder. Seems a little crazy to me, but my hubby is good with building things, and I'm sure he could make it safe. I mentioned it to the bat guys and they want to talk to him about it and see if it's possible. I kind of feel like I'm getting the brush off here, but at the same time I understand how hard it is to obtain a 48 ft ladder (i've called a few rental places myself!). It's really all my husband's fault...he bought the house knowing full well that side of the house was too tall to reach with a regular ladder. lol

    Seriously though, I want to get rid of the bugs so that more don't come down. You can't treat the bat bugs until the bats are gone. I have a pest guy coming out tomorrow to look around our upstairs. I feel like it might not be a bad idea to spray our rooms just in case the bat guy can't get things done in time and then it's too late in the season to remove them. The hope would be that the spray would deter the bugs from coming into the house. We've only seen 1-2 bugs, so maybe we don't have much to worry about. I don't know.

    Next week is our kids' spring break. We had thought about taking a little vacation, but I don't know if we should. This might be a stupid question, but if we leave the house and the bat bugs come down and can't find us will they move around the house looking for us? Is it a bad idea to leave at a time like this? What about if we get a spray treatment? Is it okay to leave for several days then?

    Is it possible that the 1-2 bugs we saw where accidents? They got lost and found their way into my bed? wouldn't that be nice?

  10. Louise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 13 2011 9:51:42
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    babydoll - 22 hours ago  » 
    Louise - Did you find anything else other than that casing in the windowsill? Did you have an actual infestation of bat bugs? What did your PCO do?

    Here's our history:

    August 2006 - We purchase a 30-year old summer cabin near a lake.

    July 2007 - We move in after renovations. That night I hear carpenter ants in the wall of our bedroom. We see carpenter ants inside throughout the rest of the season.

    May 2008 - We come back out after closing the place up for the winter. Even my husband hears the carpenter ants in the wall now. We find several queen ants. We call the PCO.

    June 2008 - PCO comes and treats for carpenter ants.

    July 2008 - Our 2yo wakes up screaming one night. The next morning we notice what looks like a spider bite on her chest. Think nothing much of it (as in we didn't even stop to consider, "Hmmm. Every bug I've seen lately has been dead. How could it be a spider bite?").

    August 2008 (three weeks later, after an out of province vacation) - I find a dead bat in the trash can in an upstairs bedroom. I immediately think about the "spider" bite three weeks earlier. I take the bat home and call the local health authorities. Rabies shots for all. We hear bats in the wall the next time we're out. I find a strange dead round bug on a baseboard by the bed/window that matches the descriptions of bed bugs I've heard. I save it and show it to the PCO when he comes back for the third carpenter ant treatment. He agrees it looks like a bed bug, but says it *could* be a bat bug. Two weeks later he confirms it is a bat bug. Weird, but hey, we had a bat in the bedroom, so why not?

    We proceed to exclude bats in the wall from coming inside by caulking/foaming any crack large enough for them to fit through.

    October 2008 - We exclude the bats (we hope) from the outside of the building after they've left for the winter.

    June 2009 - We come out to the cabin and I find another bed bug/bat bug floating, dead, in a bucket of water in that same bedroom. I put it in a plastic bag. I get it ID'd by another PCO. The ID comes back as a bat bug or bird bug. We proceed to search for other signs and find:

    One casing on the windowsill
    One bug (alive temporarily) on the tape we laid around the on-the-floor bedframe before we even finish laying the tape down.
    One live bug in the middle of the mattress under the fitted sheet
    One dead bug the next day in the vacuum cleaner compartment (which we had put out in the shed the night before)
    One *possible* fecal mark on a sheet in that bedroom

    All of these bugs were handed over to the new PCO, who thought they *really* looked like bed bugs, but sent them out to an entomologist to be sure, who ID'd them as bat bugs.

    We caulked, vacuumed, etc., and ALMOST had the thermal guys come out, but my husband convinced me to wait and see if anything developed. So I did (reluctantly, I must say). No one had been bitten, although our PCO did agree that we had found "quite a number" of bugs without looking very hard.

    Those signs were all we ever saw.

    We had no treatments beyond what we had already received for carpenter ants the previous year. We locked up in September, it was a cold winter (we live in Canada), we came out in the spring, and we saw nothing all last spring/summer/fall.

    We then found out that the previous owners had encountered bats inside the cabin on a regular basis. They had never been bothered by bugs (so they say...and I'm inclined to believe them), even though they had to deal with a bat inside on a fairly consistent basis (once every couple of years).

    We had almost two whole summers of staying in the cabin (mostly on weekends) without any issues (beyond the possible bat bite).

    So we never actually had a PCO do anything specifically for bat bugs...although I certainly wouldn't say we didn't do ANYTHING; we caulked, we encased, we vacuumed, we searched (relentlessly) for more signs every time we came out to the cabin, we stored clothes OUTSIDE of the bedrooms (in plastic bags, which were in plastic bins), we didn't have anyone visit overnight, etc.

    And we excluded the bats, of course.

    The cabin is also not heated, and so everything freezes over the winter months. The last couple of winter haven't exactly been mild, either, so perhaps that helped.

    Now I'm left wondering how much of that we HAD to do. I really don't know. I'm glad we didn't spend a fortune on a thermal treatment (in retrospect), but if I were faced with the same situation today, I'd probably still caulk, encase, vacuum, search, etc.

    Probably not much help here, am I?

  11. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 13 2011 13:40:59
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    Louise - Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It was very helpful. As far as I know none of us have been bitten and we've only seen one bat bug and another bug a few days earlier that could have possibly been one, but we got rid of it without thinking about it.

    We have our bat guy coming out tomorrow to hopefully remove the bats, clean up, and put a screen on the outside of the vent. This all depends on if my husband can construct a small floor in the bed of his truck so that they can use their 40 ft ladder to reach the vent. If that works, they will remove bats, clean up, disinfect, replace interior screen and then dust the attic with Drione. If it doesn't work, we are stuck with bats until we can find a 48 ft ladder or rent some sort of a lift.

    I had a different pest control guy come out today. I showed him our beds and where we had seen the bugs. He didn't investigate as thoroughly as I had thought he would. He was pretty convinced that we didn't have a problem in our rooms, that it's possible the 2 we saw were accidents. He felt the dusting upstairs would be enough to take care of the problem. I felt good about what he had to say, but at the same time I'm worried. He seemed pretty confident that while bat bugs might bite humans, they really don't want to...they want to be close to their host and they don't usually leave the roost. So, no one can really explain to me why they were in my room, but he didn't think I have anything to worry about.

    What does everyone think of this?

  12. Louise

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Apr 13 2011 16:25:40
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    babydoll - 2 hours ago  » 
    He seemed pretty confident that while bat bugs might bite humans, they really don't want to...they want to be close to their host and they don't usually leave the roost. So, no one can really explain to me why they were in my room, but he didn't think I have anything to worry about.
    What does everyone think of this?

    Well, the first one we found (which was dead) - in August 2008, before I found the live one almost a year later - was in the room even though the bats hadn't been excluded, so I think it *is* possible.

    On the other hand, a cabin down the road had a large bat infestation a few years before (2000-2001 or so?), and this cabin *is* heated and lived in year round. One granddaughter would end up with itchy hives anytime she slept upstairs (where the bats had been in the wall/roof). Makes me wonder if there weren't/aren't bat bugs that are still an issue there. However, no one else was ever affected that way, and no one has ever had an issue with taking bat bugs home with them after staying there (as far as I know).

    I will be very interested in seeing how your situation plays out. Please keep us posted.

  13. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Apr 14 2011 15:08:50
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    Well, we have finally gotten rid of our bats. There were 9 bats up there. They were able to remove them and clean up, disinfect, and replace the screen up in the attic. They put up an exterior screen so the bats couldn't return and then dusted with Drione in the attic. I asked them if they saw any bat bugs. I guess sometimes you can see them in the guano, but they said no, they didn't see any. They told me that without the bats there, the bat bugs wouldn't survive because they need them to feed off of, but from what some of you have said and other places on line, that's not true. I just hope the dusting will do the trick and we won't see any more in our house.

    I did change my boys' sheets to white sheets so we could see if anything was going on. This morning there was nothing, but my one son did have a little blood stain, but it may be from his little scab on his arm.

    We are planning to go out of town on vacation in a few days...I hope we don't have bugs waiting for us when we get back.

    I will keep everyone posted.

  14. babydoll

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Mon May 9 2011 16:39:00
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    It's been almost a month since we've had our bats removed and our attic dusted with Drione. We went out of town for about a week afterwards, but have been home and sleeping in our beds ever since. We have not had any bites or seen any activity (fecal stains, skins, etc). I am hoping it's over and that we got off easy.

  15. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Tue May 10 2011 0:01:29
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    Good luck, babydoll!

    Please come back in a few more months to share your success story. Fingers crossed!


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