Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bat Exclusion, et al.

Thursday night I took the last formal count for our bat exclusion.  The results:

Bats leaving the attics - 0
Bats leaving the south chimney - 0
Bats leaving the bat boxes - 62

I think we've accomplished our goal and can remove the one-way door and close that last access hole to the attic.  But (as the comments to my last post so clearly show!) there's one last step we must take before we can consider our bat issue completely resolved.  Namely, we have to clean up the mess in the attic.  There's bad news and good (or at least less bad) news here.

The bad news is obvious.  Our attic has to be full of guano.  And because handling guano can cause serious illness in humans, cleaning our attic is not a job we want to or should attmept to do ourselves.  I've called a few places who handle this type of cleanup to get quotes and it appears this will be a very expensive job.

Kathy left a comment after my last post asking, "Do you have access to the attic from inside the house?".  The answer to this question is no.  In fact, we don't have access to the attic period.  There are no windows to the attic, no vents, and no opening through a bedroom ceiling beneath.  This is both bad news and good news when it comes to cleaning up our bat mess. Bad news because it means accessing the mess to clean it up will require some type of structural change to the house.  However, it is also good news because this complete lack of access means that the bat mess is currently entirely contained within the attic.  I'll freely admit to looking at our bedroom ceilings and wondering what lies above, but from inside the house there is absolutely no evidence of our former attic residents.  The ceilings are not discolored or sagging.  The only time we found bat droppings inside the house was while working on the exposed stone wall at the top of the stairs (this was also the only time a bat entered the house from the attic).  The top edge of the exposed wall has since been finished, and just to be sure, before we began our exlcusion I ran a bead of clear caulk along the seam where the exposed wall meets the ceiling.

For now, we plan to simply plug the last exterior access to the attic and let whatever is up there stay up there.  Quotes for having the guano removed are quite high, so this is a project we will need to plan ahead for.  We will keep a close eye on our bedroom ceilings for any sign of strain or staining.  And we will keep our eyes open for "bat bugs", who often enter homes after a bat exclusion in search of a new food source.  The thought of these bugs getting into our house is quite disturbing, but I'm hoping that the lack of access to the bedrooms from the attic will keep these tiny blood suckers up in their current home.  The isolation of our attic from the rest of the house is complete - no ductwork enters the attic, nor are there any electric lines or ceiling light fixtures in any of the bedroom bedrooms to provide access.  But we will definately be watching for any signs of infestation.

Ugh.  After typing all that out I'm feeling rather squicky.  So let's move on to some cleaner topics.  So - I mentioned a few posts ago finishing up the back bedroom.  Here's the semi-finished room:

Cecilia is quite happy with it, and the dresser from the Leaning House is a perfect fit:

With Celia moved into her new room I've been able to focus on the hallway, getting the wood floor painted and the handrail and other woodwork finished:

The color and tight grain of the old walnut wood in this house really is amazing.  : )


  1. That's good you can just seal things up and let the guano go till later. Looking at the photos of Cecilia's room makes me wonder, how much attic do you have? Only seems to be a tiny triangle, from what I see there.

  2. Kate - Your observation is correct. There is no attic over Cecilia's room. It's the other two bedrooms and the hallway (pictured in this post) that have attic space ove them.

  3. That's supposed to say "above them". Not sure what happened to the a and b.

  4. Or perhaps it was supposed to say "over". Not sure what happened to the r. Eh, either works.

  5. I love the walnut trim in your house, it's gorgeous! They must have had an abundance of walnut trees when they built it.