SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has a great diversity of bats in the state — at least 18 species living in habitats as diverse as the deserts to the mountains, but that doesn't mean they're welcome in people's houses.
But bats feed on insects, and therefore control the pest population very effectively, according to according Kimberly Hersey, Mammal Conservation Coordinator, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
So while they may be "wonderful" to have around, according to the DWR, there are risks to human health and safety that should be addressed.
A bat colony in a home needs to be handled by a qualified pest control company.
But young bats, more commonly found in the summer, can be handled fairly easily by homeowners; just put a box or plastic container over it and slide something underneath, releasing it outside as if it were a bumblebee or other household insect.
DWR does warn that heavy gloves must be worn, and contact should never be made with the bat. Any exposure should be reported to a health care provider quickly, as they can carry deadly diseases.
Because bats can squeeze into tiny gaps like their mouse cousins, cracks in mortar should be sealed and chimneys capped.
This time of year, bats are seen more commonly as females need to eat more to produce enough milk for their babies when their young do begin to fly. Their babies will soon take flight in the night sky.
But beware; they are important to the ecosystem, but steer clear of them to stay safe.