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Hazards of birds, bats near your home

When most people think of household pests, they think of insects or mice or other critters. “But the animals you should be just as equally concerned about are birds and bats,” writes Dane C. Mullings on

Bat droppings in attic found during a home inspection by AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln

Bat droppings in attic found during a home inspection by AmeriSpec Omaha and Lincoln

Birds and bats can transmit several diseases, some of which can be fatal. They include:

Histoplasmosis. Homeowners and their pets can contract this lung disease by breathing in the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, Mullings says. “This fungus is present in bird and bat feces and can go airborne when disturbed — when you attempt to clean up or renovate your attic, for example.”

Cryptococcosis also is found in bird droppings that have accumulated, usually in nesting and roosting sites. It results in respiratory infections or skin ulcers, and can be fatal if left untreated.

Avian flu, or “bird flu.” This happens when the H5N1 virus is passed on through the feces of infected birds. Avian flu leads to muscle aches, high fevers and respiratory difficulties. It also can be fatal.

Rabies. Bats “can live long lives with the rabies virus without showing symptoms,” Mullings says. That’s why you should never try to catch and remove a bat that’s in your house, garage or attic. Call the Nebraska Humane Society instead.

Bats and birds can also cause property damage that can put your health at risks.

  • Nests built in hidden areas such as chimney shoots and vents can become a fire hazard. They can also block ventilation outlets.
  • Bird and bat droppings contain uric acid, which can erode building materials.
  • Bats can chew through walls and insulation, as well as wiring. Chewed, exposed electrical wiring can be a fire hazard.

If you have birds and bats near or in your home that are causing problems, call our partners at Pest Solutions 365. Our wildlife experts can evaluate the situation, find and fill the openings where bats may be getting in, and take steps to move birds away from your home as well.

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