Bats removed from St. George courthouse

Posted at 6:46 PM, Nov 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-03 20:46:07-05

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Halloween may be over, but exterminators continue to pull dozens of bats out of the Washington County Courthouse.

Nearly 150 bats have been removed from the 5th District Courthouse in St. George. The mammals first appeared in the building late last week.

Southwest Exterminators technician Eric Palmer said the creatures have to be removed carefully because of their protected status. That’s why it’s taken several days to get the majority out.

“As of Halloween we took out roughly 50 and I know the maintenance team pulled out another 20-30,” Palmer said.

It’s believed the bats infested the attic of the courthouse during a small weatherizing project. Palmer said when an exterior panel was removed from the building, the bats got in.

“Pests, especially this time of year, are very, very opportunistic because it’s getting chilly,” Palmer said. “They’re looking for areas to over-winter.”

Palmer said they’re still working on some stragglers. They’ve installed trap doors in the attic area aimed at luring the bats out and keeping them out.

Court employees say they’re just doing their best to keep things going as normal, despite their flying guests.

“We’ve had to shuffle courtrooms a couple of times, because of bats being in one of our courtrooms,” said 5th District Court Trial Executive Rick Davis. “But in terms of having a real adverse impact on court proceedings, it hasn’t.”

Palmer said there doesn’t appear to be any danger of disease and they caught it early enough to avoid major damage to the building. The bats are being released back into the wild each night at dusk.