Keeping bats at bay

By Perry Russom

June 4, 2013 Updated Jun 5, 2013 at 4:17 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As temperatures start to rise, so does the chance for bats to fly into homes.

They primarily fly into homes on stretches of hot and humid weather.

Like humans, they look for a cooler place to rest to get out of the heat.

"If you have a bat flying around your house, (and it) is to open an outside door, turn on an outside light minimize the lighting inside of the house," said Jason Carter, of Fur and Feathers Wildlife Control. "Wait a good five to 10 minutes and the bat will fly right out of the door."

According to Carter, bats need 3/8 of an inch to enter a home - that's the diameter of the tip of an average pinky.

The worst thing to do is panic, Carter said. Bats are just as spooked by humans as we are by them.

The health department advises to catch the bat, rather than let it go, so it can be submitted for rabies testing.

The department said if the bat is not caught, or if the bat is submitted for testing and comes up positive for rabies, the person would need to get post-exposure vaccinations.

If the bat is caught and comes up negative for rabies, no vaccinations would be needed.

If the person in the home is awake and knows the bat did not come in contact with them, they would be no get the vaccinations.

For children, err on the side of caution.

"The public health requirement is if that child, that person who was asleep in a room with a bat has to get post-exposure prophylaxis, which is a series of vaccinations," said Claudia Edwards, Broome County Public Health Director.

If a child is in a room alone with a bat and it's not caught, the child will need to get the vaccinations.

The Broome County Health Department says they have around 80 cases a year of people getting post-exposure vaccinations because of bats.

According to Carter, 0.05 percent of bats are rabid. The health department said that percentage is high enough to warn people to keep their distance and call animal control if they encounter a bat.

If you think you may have come in contact with a bat call the health department: (607) 778-3930

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