Thursday, August 28, 2008


What determines an infestation? The thought crosses my mind when I look at the nest of yellow jackets in our eaves and when I look at the guano on the floor of our outdoor porch. Does it depend on the species? On the merit of the species? Is it possible to have an infestation of one (to do a poor paraphrase of the old Army slogan)?

After we bought the House of 42 Doors exactly 364 days ago, there was a period of three months when we didn't live in it, but tried to make it livable. During that time, we caught a lot of vermin in the house, including over 40 mice and two bats. The first bat we found laying on our stairs during the middle of the day. I wanted to use it as an opportunity to teach our eldest about bats, but Ms. Huis objected.

She correctly pointed out that a bat lying on the ground in the middle of the day is probably not healthy, and probably not something to bring around small children. So I took it out the back airing porch door (on the second floor) and set it on the railing. Eventually it flew off, although I didn't actually see it go.

The second bat we found hanging on the back side of a bedroom door. There was a narrow space between the wall and the open door, so just right for a bat. I grabbed a pair of gloves and gently, but firmly grabbed the bat. And the screeching it made! I had no idea that they were so loud. I also didn't realize what sharp, pointy teeth they have. I'm glad the gloves were heavy leather. I took that one out the airing porch too and hung him on a pillar. He seemed much more healthy and I did use him as an educational opportunity for the girls.

Then around November 1st, when we redid the sewer in the basement, one of the plumbers found a bat in basement. I believe that one did not fare as well as the other two. The plumber said that he disposed of him outside. That was the extent of our indoor bats until Tuesday night.

I was blissfully asleep when I got an elbow in the ribs at three in the morning. "I think there's a bat in our room!" was the first thing I heard. I squinted in the dark with my glasses off and could faintly see something and hear a flep, flep, flep. I was astounded that my wife could identify a bat at three in the morning with her glasses off. I would have slept through it all.

I got up and opened up a window, while Ms. Huis went to close our bedroom door. Herr Fledermaus got out anyway. She went downstairs and took over from there.

I like bats. I think that they are cool, especially as the only flying mammal. It makes me wonder if someday in millions of years, the skies will be full of mammals, instead of birds. And I think the whole rabies things is grossly overstated. Can it happen? Absolutely. But it is not likely. I've thought of building a bat house, but haven't gotten around to it yet. But there are two things that I don't like.

I don't like guano on our porches. And I don't like bats in the house. That's where I draw the line. So now that it's late enough in the season that any bat young are grown, I can try and get the little buggers out of the cracks in the eaves. The best solution I've found so far is to cover the bat entry with a cloth. They'll be able to push their way out, but won't be able to figure out how to get back in. We'll see.

I'm also very excited to report that the shingles are here! I called our roofer to check on the them and he said they were sitting on the floor of his warehouse. I'm heading out tonight to check the color of the shingles and pick out what color metal to use for the valley flashing.

1 comment:

Pusher said...

I like bats too. But yes, they need their own houses so they will leave yours to you. I keep thinking about putting up a bat house in the back yard in hopes of attracting bats, but haven't gotten around to it yet. (Same goes for the birdhouses and birdbath I keep meaning to put up....)