Bats! (Baseboards!)

In my attempt to be light-hearted about the topic, I mistakenly led many of you to believe that we’re not serious about the dangers in keeping bats.

Thank you for all your calls, comments, and emails.  We’re not keeping them, so you can rest at ease.

I like to think that I’m a level-headed person, rarely over-reacting about the challenges of my life.  And I obviously would like you to believe the same, or I might have provided you more detailed information about last weekend’s “oh my god, do something; we’re all going to die of rabies” tirade, directed at none other than Ben, of course.

When we moved in, one of the first things I wanted to do (i.e., wanted Ben to do) was fix the gaps in the walls of Matthew’s room.  Of course, I also wanted to fix up the back porch, paint everything, replace the bedroom doors, re-do the kitchen, replace the windows, among other things.  In fact, one of the first things I wanted to do (i.e., wanted Ben to do) when we moved in was everything.

So some things were put aside.

The upstairs was rebuilt after a fire in the 70s, and the new walls were not as deep. They covered the original floors with particle board and carpet (two layers!), so there was no previous concern for these gaps.

One of the larger gaps in Matthew’s room. Ben filled in most of the large gaps with wood last year, but we still needed baseboard to cover up the rest of the gaps, up to a half-inch.

And then there were bats.

Last weekend was horrible.  I was suffering from a double-day migraine, and Ben and I were suffering from an inability to communicate.  It was nearly impossible to figure out what we were doing, as too many projects often loom over us, and we hadn’t even agreed on a trim for the upstairs.  But something had to be done, and I said something like, “I don’t care anymore, just get whatever and fix Matthew’s room before one of the bats has rabies and bites one of the kids!”

Pleasant, huh?  I’m sure I’m softening it up a bit because I seem to remember that at the time I would not shut up.  (Poor Ben.)

I’m telling you this because I want you all to know that, if nothing else, we are well-educated about wildlife and rabies.  There have been a few cases of rabid animals in our area, and our public health department has definitely educated our community.  Foxes, skunks, and bats — we stay away from them.  Last year there was even a local case of a girl who contracted rabies, did not receive prophylaxis treatment, and survived.

This isn’t to say that there are a lot of rabid animals around these parts.  Less than 1% of bats carry rabies, and I don’t think that percentage is much different in our county; I am confident when I tell my irrational self to calm the fuck down.

We don’t even know how the bats were getting in. In April, we assumed they had flown in through an open door.  And a few times, when discovering a bat in our cat’s mouth, we thought he might have brought it in.  And of course, there are those nights when our dog is growling at the wall in our bedroom.  However, there were just a few too many cases of bats in our house.  So… baseboards: Done.

Wall and baseboard in Matthew’s room.

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7 Comments

  1. Amy Clifton

     /  November 4, 2012

    Thanks for posting this, Kim. Let’s hope this helps… I feel for you on this.. We thought mice were bad…but at least we set traps and they get caught. We’re still finding at least a couple each week and Kirby is yet to plug up the hole that we are pretty sure they’re using to get in. That’s project number one this week.

    Reply
    • It really hasn’t been much of a thing, certainly not like the daily battle against rodents that are living in your stuff and eating your food and pooping their diseases all over Kirby’s place.

      Reply
  2. We once ignored the bees in our house. We’d usually see one or two at the front window. The cats were useless. We figured the bees were sneaking in through the front door whenever it was open. One day I found a bunch of dead bees in our cellar. Uh oh. I told John, I think we have a problem. Time to track them down. It didn’t take long. We saw them buzzing around the top of the chimney above the roof. Which meant a scarier problem. The only thing between us and those bees was an old pillow John had stuffed up the chimney years ago because the flue didn’t work and it was drafty. Holy crap! We called pest control stat. They removed SEVEN hives. And we now have a chimney covered and a working flue.

    Reply
    • Wow! Seven? Sometime this week before the rains start, we’ll explore under the house and check the attic for guano. The bats have so many better places to live around here; I can’t imagine they’d prefer our walls, but we’ll make sure. Our dog has been obsessed with one of our crawl space entrances lately. It’s a good place to start.

      Reply
  3. Amy Clifton

     /  November 6, 2012

    Kim, the mice are coming in through a hole in the basement floor. Since I’ve been here (after my time in Blue Lake), there have been none upstairs. We find them dead in the traps in the basement. So no poop, not getting into food. If that were the case, i would be out of here!

    Reply
    • Glad to hear they’re just in the basement.

      The house I rented next to the farmhouse had both mice and rats. One time the rats built their nest in my bedroom wall. I would wake at night to their scratching (scritch scritch). One night, lying awake, the scratching got louder and louder. I stared at the wall, two feet from my bed, and watched as the rat’s claws poked through the wall paper. There was really nothing I could do that night except watch as my cat attacked the wall over and over. I ended up setting rat traps (they’re huge) under the house. My cat was kind enough to drag the dead rats (trap and all) to the doorstep for me, for easy disposal of course.

      A few years later, I had mice in the kitchen. They were living behind my kitchen stove. They’d climb through the stove, peeing and pooping under the stovetop. Each time I’d use the oven, the house would fill with the most horrid smell. I had to set traps on the kitchen counters each night until I killed them all. Yuck.

      Reply
  4. Amy Clifton

     /  November 6, 2012

    You’re braver than I am! Rats are most definitely my biggest fear..cannot even stand to see them on television or in movies. We had one in our house in New Hampshire when Simon was a toddler and I swear it was bigger than our cat. We killed it with poison in the basement. I don’t think I could have tolerated what you did…though I guess when you have no choice you just deal with it. The most disgusting things I’ve had to deal with were cockroaches which were everywhere when I lived in NYC. ‘

    Reply

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