Case Studies

Wildlife Removal Case Studies: Bats soil this Holmdel attic insulation

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 by Michael Senz

Challenge

A Cowleys installation crew was sent to a Holmdel residence. The homeowner had contacted Cowleys after realizing that bats had been living in his attic. The bats were accessing the attic through a gap in one of his fascia boards. These are the boards that rest behind your gutters. At Cowleys, we are often called upon to find wildlife entry points into the attic, and we’ve seen that these boards are prone to wood rot. Since this wood is covered by gutters, it is vulnerable. This wood is never exposed to sunlight and is frequently damp or wet. Also, fascia boards rarely get that new coat of paint since very few homeowners will go through the time and expense of temporarily removing the gutters to paint behind them. Fascia board wood rot is an open invitation for wildlife infestations since this compromised wood is easy for animals to chew and claw through. Also, wood-boring insects like carpenter ants and bees are attracted to this wet, soft wood as well. With this Holmdel house, there was a gap in the fascia board large enough for a small animal like a bat to enter. The homeowner was aware that this fascia board section would need to be replaced.

Fortunately, when we arrived, there was no longer an active bat infestation. Although the bats were long gone, they left behind a toxic mess of bat guano (bat feces). Although bats are small creatures, because of their numbers, large quantities of guano can quickly accumulate. Bat guano resembles rodent droppings and tends to cluster in areas as it piles up beneath the exit of the roost or under eaves and overhands. Bat guano is often shiny, speckled because of their insect diet. 

 

Solution

We vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the attic until all remnants of a bat infestation were gone. Nevertheless, much of the attic insulation was damaged by the bats and the homeowner wanted it replaced. Cowleys is licensed to install TAP Pest Control Insulation. TAP, which stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties as well as a pest control component. The paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people, but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites. 

For this insulation job, we carefully removed all of the contaminated insulation and then blew in 10" of fresh new TAP insulation, leaving enough room for the homeowners to access the attic platform. This 10" of TAP is a 40 R-value, which means a well-insulated attic. A higher R-value increases the efficiency of the HVAC system and reduces energy costs.  During the installation, we use cheesecloth to close any voids, such as an opening into the attic portion into the garage, so nothing falls into the gaps. Any unsoiled insulation can stay. We only remove the insulation that has been destroyed. 

This Holmdel homeowner was pleased with the quality of our service and the insulation. He is now enjoying an attic that is free of wildlife odors and dangerous droppings. Also, he made an investment in his home by purchasing top-quality attic insulation that will not only act as an insect barrier, but also save money on his heating and cooling bills.