Bat Guano Cleanup in An Attic

03.31.2006 - Today was the cleanup of bat droppings (guano) from the attic of a home. The cleanup is the final step after all of the bats are safely removed and all of the entry points through which the bats could enter the home are permanently sealed. This was a very simple cleanup case, and not at all bad contamination.

First of all, the effected area was above a garage, so I didn't have to deal with any insulation removal. The droppings were all on the sheetrock. Furthermore, the colony was small, and hadn't been in the attic for long, so the droppings had not accumulated yet. It was easy to simply vacuum out all of the droppings and fog the area with an enzyme based biohazard decontaminant and deodorizer. I didn't even bother to suit up in a protective suit, because the situation was small and simple. In a case like this, the droppings are like brown grains of rice. When in small numbers like this, the smell is not strong, there's certainly no structural damage, and there's really not much of a biohazard risk.

However, I still believe that it's important to remove the droppings, because they did smell, and it's possible that they could harbor fungus growth over time - though I'd say the risk is small in a case like this. For a simple job like this, I use a contractors Shop-Vac with a 50' hose that leads down the attic hatch and outside. I wear a head lamp so that I can see, and a HEPA filter mask, because I don't want to breathe in any harmful agents or spores of any kind. I always wear such a mask in any attic, even if just for dust. Once all of the droppings are gone and I fog the attic, the job is complete. I bring the guano home and sprinkle it in my garden, where it helps my beets and radishes grow nice and plump.

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Bat guano is simply a buildup of feces from a bat or from multiple bats. While this may sound gross to you, bat excrement is actually a powerful fertilizer. This is a result of the high amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium that is found in bat guano. These are important nutrients to the growth and development of plants. Here’s another interesting fact: bat guano was also once part of the production of explosives and gunpowder.

The trade of guano in the 1800s was important to the development of our contemporary input-intensive farming. This trade’s importance dwindled when the Harbor-Bosch method of nitrogen-fixing came about. This resulted in the manufacturing of synthetic fertilizers.

While it might not be the most exciting topic to dwell on, bat guano is important to the ecosystem. This is because of the nutrient dispersal that it permits. This usually helps the ecosystem of the caves that bats dwell in to thrive. This guano provides nutrients for vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria. This means that if bats were no longer to occupy these caves and provide guano, those organisms that are dependent on them would become extinct.

Now, while guano is all fine and dandy for caves, you may not be very excited about it in your home. Here are some guidelines for the cleanup of bat guano in an attic:

Do Not Sweep or Vacuum: To avoid touching bat guano, you may get the bright idea of sweeping it up or vacuuming bat guano. Do not do this. When bat guano is tampered with, it is hazardous to your health.

Ensure that Your Skin, Mouth, Eyes, and Nose Are Protected: Because of the risks involved in being contaminated by bat guano, it is wise to wear goggles, thick gloves, and even a surgical mask while carrying out a cleanup.

Slightly Wet the Bat Guano: With the use of a spray bottle, combine hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and water. After combining these ingredients, proceed to spray the bat guano. This will ensure that no powdery residue is left behind after you clean up the bat guano.

Remove the Guano: Using a plastic bag and paper towels, take up the bat guano and throw both the plastic bag and paper towels into the garbage. Do this until all the guano is gone and discard the garbage bag filled with the guano as soon as possible.

Disinfect the Area: After removing the guano, spray all the areas that came in touch with the guano with the same mixture you sprayed onto the guano to prevent powder residue. You will then need to use a mop or some other scrubbing device to completely sanitize the area. This is important so that you do not expose yourself and your family to potential diseases.

Cleaning bat guano from your attic can be a risky task. The information shared in this article can certainly help; however, it is safer for you to get help from a professional pest control service to remove the bat guano. The experience that these individuals have will result in better protection for your family and will save you from exposure to diseases.

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