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It's My Job: Bat Man: Removal expert says bats are given a bad rap

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Jesse Scott is the owner of Bat Pros, a bat removal service based out of Elizabeth, Minn. Nick Wagner / The Forum

Elizabeth, Minn. - It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” While a bit heavy, the famous line from the “Batman Begins” movie could make a great tagline for Jesse Scott’s business, Bat Pros.
For over 10 years, Scott has made a living removing bats from homes and businesses.
What is the process of bat removal? People tend to think I touch them and trap them. Very rarely do I do that unless they’re in someone’s living quarters. A majority of the time I basically set it up so when the bats go out at night they can’t get back in. The trick is to seal up any quarter-inch or larger gaps. They don’t have an actual bone structure. It’s all cartilage, so they can squeeze right through some tight spots.
What are some signs you may have bats? You might notice droppings or hear them flying around the house. A lot of time they come in through the attic and go down the wall cavities. In an unfinished basement, they’ll come through the trusses and fly upstairs.
In the winter people might also hear scratching on the drywall. Those are bats in hibernation. If the house gets hot or sunlight heats it up enough, they’ll actually come out of dormancy a little bit and move around. That’s a sign you have a colony living in your home.
Colonies form because other bats can smell the oil that comes off their bodies and the guano (bat waste) that comes out the soffit. You start with a few bats and others are attracted by the smell and the numbers just keep growing as long as it’s a safe home.
Do you have any horror stories? I was in an older farmhouse once and there were probably over 450 bats in there with me. There was a brick chimney going through the attic and you couldn’t see a brick on it. It was just covered.
And you walked through that? Yes, you’ll be fine as long as you keep quiet. Bats run off sonar and odor. They don’t have very good eyesight at all. If people move around they send out vibrations so bats might swoop towards them. They might come close to hear, but I’ve never had one hit me. They’re just picking up on the movement.
Bats have been given a bad reputation since medieval times like snakes. That’s why people are so terrified. They’re not a beautiful creature by any means, but they’re not out to harm us and they’re a huge part of our ecosystem.
I don’t remember the exact amount, but bats pretty much eat their weight in bugs every night they go out. They take care of a lot of mosquitos. They have a very high metabolism, so they’re a good thing. They’re just not a good thing when they’re in your home.
They say one out of every 100 bats has rabies. That is the biggest reason I recommend people taking care of their bat problem. If there is a big population in a house and there is a lot of waste, the guano has histoplasmosis in it. There are spores in the dust that can get into your lungs and that can be dangerous. I recommend people hire a professional for cleanup.
What do you like about the job? I like being self-employed and self-sufficient. I also like the relationships I build with customers. You meet a lot of different people, good people. I have a lot of people who appreciate me.

 

BUSINESS PROFILE

What: Bat Pros

Contact: (218) 731-2653

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Territory: North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota

Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at awieck@forumcomm.com
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