Health Department urges precautions during ‘bat season’

Posted 8 August 2023 at 4:18 pm

Press Release, Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments

It is early August and the height of summer, which often means the peak of “bat season” for local health departments and when people more commonly have encounters with bats.

Bats can occasionally find their way into houses, particularly in older homes that are not properly sealed. This most often occurs during the summer nights. When you find a bat in your home, it is extremely important to safely capture the animal if it is suspected to have been in contact with people, pets or livestock so that it can be tested for rabies. If the bat cannot be captured, you should call the health department for advice and next steps.

In some situations, it is possible that a bat bite could go undetected. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room, if you see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or if you see a bat near someone who is unable to speak or is under the influence of drugs/alcohol, it is important to seek medical advice and have the bat tested.

To safely capture a bat:

  • Turn on room lights and close all the windows.
  • Close the room and closet doors.
  • Wait for the bat to land.
  • While wearing thick leather-like gloves, place a coffee can, pail or similar container over the bat (Never handle a bat with your bare hands).
  • Slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat.
  • Firmly hold the cardboard in place against the top of the container, turn it right side up and tape the cardboard tightly to the container.
  • If you do not feel comfortable capturing the bat or cannot do it safely, contact your respective health department during regular business hours. If it is after regular business hours, contact your local county dispatch. For Orleans County, call (585) 589-5527. For Genesee County, call (585) 343-5000.