More bat colonies in homes due to mild winter

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Bats are becoming more of a problem for homeowners this year thanks to our mild winter.

"We had bat calls continuously through the winter," said Tim Penhollow with Critter Control of the Triad.

Bats typically leave for the winter to hibernate, but they never really left this year, Penhollow said.

"They had bugs right through the winter, and once they stay that long, they are basically in a pinch where they are unable to leave," Penhollow said.

Penhollow is working to help homeowner Steve McBride relocate a colony of small brown bats from his attic.

"They do serve a purpose but not in a house," said McBride, who first discovered the bats last year. "They were coming out from the side and dropping down in a constant flow. Looking forward to getting rid of them."

Moving a colony is not easy as most bats are protected. That's because they've been in decline in recent years and are good for the environment.

One small brown bat can eat around 500 mosquitoes in one evening. The downside of bats nesting in an attic is they excrete feces and urine called guano that can fill up inside your walls and weigh down ceilings.

To move a colony, Penhollow and his team will seal up an attic, leaving one exit.

"It’s an exclusion valve that allows the bats to come out but they can't get back in," said Luke Seamster with Critter Control.

Once all the bats have left crews will remove the exclusion valve and seal the opening. It can take days to rid an attic of adult bats, but if they have given birth to pups you'll have to wait until they are weaned off their mother and old enough to fly away.