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It's the season: Bat problems continue for Creston residents

Published: Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT

It's that time of year again when anxious homeowners run around their homes swinging tennis rackets, fishing nets or opening front doors in hopes it will fly back outside.

It's bat season.

And, if you're wondering why these bats perpetrate your home each summer and fall, it's mainly because young bats, born in the spring, are taking flight on their own and are prone to taking a wrong turn into the attic or winding up in a bedroom.

Nobody knows that better than Creston resident Luanne Merrill.

Merrill, who lives on North Oak Street, has already had five bats in her home this summer and fall.

"The very first one was in the middle of the night," Merrill said. "It woke my daughter up, and the dog was making noise as it flew around our living room. We were scared to death. We usually have about one bat per year, but this year we have had five. I read this morning it is national bat appreciation month. I will not be appreciating them."

Merrill isn't alone with her bat problems, though. It's happening all over southwest Iowa and across the state.

Robert Harkrader of Harkrader Bat Control, based in Adel, said he has been busy getting calls from flustered homeowners who have had bats in their houses.

"It's been busy over the past month," Harkrader said, "but as of late, business has dried up. I don't think it's because people are having less bats. I think it's because they either don't know to call me or they are leery of contractors. The advantage of me not being busy right now is I can probably get the work done quick – within a week."

Harkrader said he guarantees his bat removal work for two years.

Harkrader said usually the location where the bats are entering is easy to identify. He installs a one-way exit device where it's needed and plugs up other tiny holes so the bats can't get in.

Harkrader can be reached at (515) 669-9652.


According to a Des Moines Register article published last week, the indoor bat season lasts several weeks, and the main danger comes from the rabies virus.

Public health states many Iowans believe killing a bat is illegal. However, it's not.

That being said, if anyone has physical contact with a bat they should wash the contact area thoroughly with soap and water. According to the article, if bitten, rabies virus can be treated through prompt medical care.

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