Bat droppings are a serious health hazard. If you have bat droppings on your property you should take the necessary precautions to remove them properly. Bat droppings contain Histoplasma, which can lead to a type of lung infection called histoplasmosis or “cave disease”. It is also possible for Histoplasma to spread from contact with bat droppings to other parts of the body, such as the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, or skin. The only way to prevent this is by utilizing proper safety equipment and wearing it at all times when working with bat droppings. This blog post will show you how to wash bat droppings safely and without exposure to the fungus that causes histoplasmosis.
What are bat droppings?
Bat droppings (also called bat feces) are the waste product that bat colonies produce. Bat droppings can be both bird droppings and bat feces. Both bird and bat droppings contain microbes that can make people ill. There is a large variety of pathogens that can cause disease in both humans and birds. While many of these pathogens are known and identifiable to humans, there are many more that are not.
Why Bat Droppings Are a Health Hazard
Bat droppings contain many pathogens, including the fungi Histoplasma. These fungi are associated with the lung infection known as “cave disease”. The spores for these fungi can spread on the dust that causes bat droppings to be deposited on the floor.
Bat droppings are sometimes found in leaf litter and in caves. An infected bat may carry the fungus in its droppings and other parts of its body. People may also be exposed to the spores in the environment after being in contact with other people or animals. Bat droppings can also cause problems for people, such as getting respiratory infections, skin problems, or eye infections.
How to Clean Bat Droppings
Bat droppings can be removed from walls or ceilings using a standard household washcloth. Some people also prefer to use ammonia-based products to remove bat droppings from their homes. The problem is that these solutions can be harmful to the skin, especially when used to scrub bat droppings off of a wall. Also, using ammonia can cause damage to your wall. Therefore, it is important to clean bat droppings using the best product you can find. Here is a shortlist of the best products to use to remove bat droppings.
Acme All-Purpose Cleaner
If you use a regular household detergent, it can damage the wall. Acme All-Purpose Cleaner is hypoallergenic and contains high-quality ingredients to safely remove the stains and bacteria that have built up on your walls.
Do not confuse the symptoms of histoplasmosis with those of other illnesses. Histoplasmosis can cause serious complications but has no effect on the functionality of the nervous system. If you have any of the following symptoms after being exposed to bats, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- High fever
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- Conjunctivitis (red, painful, or pus-filled eyes)
- Bloody or black stool
If you or a family member has suffered any of these symptoms within the past two weeks, contact your local public health department or emergency services right away.
Bats are nocturnal mammals and are not easily attracted to lights. If you work with bat droppings in your home, don’t wear any latex or plastic gloves.
How to Wash Bat Droppings Safely
Bat droppings come in two varieties: wet or dry. If you choose the wet droppings option, you will need to dry them in the sun before washing.
Bat droppings are dark brown in color and slightly tacky. Washing them away with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and warm water is often the most effective way to clean them. Boiling will not remove the Histoplasma, so only use vinegar when washing away bat droppings. This can be done with the assistance of a spray bottle. The spray bottle should be filled with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water and then placed in a bucket or other container for easy access.
Bat droppings that are wet will not come off of surfaces as easily as dry bat droppings. Bat droppings will not come off of plastic or fabric.
Things to Remember
- Do not attempt to remove bat droppings from open-toed footwear.
- Do not remove bat droppings from under clothing.
- Do not put any soap on or around the bat droppings (or bat urine). If you accidentally touched any part of the bat droppings, wash your hands immediately.
- Wash your hands, gloves, and footwear in hot water from your garden hose.
- Bat droppings must be completely dry before putting them in your trash.
- Bat droppings should be kept separate from other waste in the landfill.
- Use gloves to prevent contamination, but if your gloves get wet, they should be discarded.
The above methods are for removal from wooden planks, not garden beds. Use a garden hose and a pressure washer to wash them off.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there ways I can clean my bat droppings without using a device that uses water to wet bat droppings?
Bat droppings are typically soft, and soap will not penetrate deep enough to remove a majority of the droppings. Many bat-feeding areas have hot or dry water, but the soap will not penetrate far enough even at those temperatures. You will need to use a dehumidifier or some other means of removing moisture. Hosehead dehumidifiers are the best for removing water and, therefore bat droppings from a large area.
How long does it take for bats to clean their colonies? How long does it take to remove bat droppings from a house?
It depends on many factors, but one is how many bats are living there. It takes a colony about a week to clean all their droppings from a tree.
It’s great that wild bats and humans can share the same space. Unfortunately, bats carry diseases that can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal to humans. Would you please help wild bats survive and thrive by removing their bat droppings and avoiding contact with the disease-causing spores when possible?