I’m sick of bats at this point. First we get the theory that corona virus emerged from bats (I have no opinion on that). Now I get a bat in my house.
Last night we discovered a bat flying around upstairs. We have never had a bat issue. And I don’t know how it got in. But when you have a bat flying around, nobody sleeps calmly. That’s a crisis.
It wasn’t flying around more than about 20 seconds when we isolated it into the guest bedroom (thankfully no guests).
I had a decision to make: go in guns blazing and trap the furry flyer or call the professionals.
I thought over the risks and my options. Isolating it in the room insured that we would likely be safe for the night. I could have probably knocked it down and trapped it in a box. Then again it might be rabid. The guy on Youtube said it’s highly unlikely to carry rabies. Yeah, but even if the chance is 1/1000 do I really want to take that risk? I have to do surgery in the morning. What if it bites me then gets loose and gets to my family? Rabies shots, missing the OR. Ugh. Other people are relying on me.
So I called the professionals. Too bad nobody would answer the phone until the next morning. Then the bat disappeared. Where did he go? Out the attic? Into the duct work?
I don’t know. All I know is that I have learned more about bats in the last 24 hours than I ever wanted. I also thought about some principles that guided my decisions in this mini household crisis:
- When thinking about risk, think in terms of cascades not one time events. If something bad went down (maybe low probability) it could have gone down reeeealllly badly (high impact). I might have gotten bitten. I could have gotten rabies. I might have missed surgery in the morning. One of my kids could have gotten bitten. None of those things would have been good. Why risk it?
- Don’t trust that the “help lines” will be there to help. They will give you phone numbers but the contractors they have on file don’t always answer the phone. I now have the cell phone numbers of 2 of them and had long conversations with both. I should probably take them for a beer. As it is, I had 2 separate contractors come to the house. I don’t care that I had to spend a few bucks or that they didn’t find anything (although it would have been nice if they did). They now pointed out all of the potential entry points, gave me a tutorial on bat behavior, and one gave me a tactic for stunning them from across the room that nobody on Youtube mentioned. Sometimes you an accomplish the job of the professional. But they know how to handle the rare situations and prevent the cascades better than you.
Pest crises suck. Now I’m going on the offensive. Going to do some preventative measures…and always keep those phone numbers (and the tennis racket) handy.
A quick update for May 29,2020. Over night I was thinking about the process of calling in a professional to help in a crisis situation. As a professional myself I certainly have my biases. But what some people fail to realize is that part of the value of paying someone for a service is not simply “the service” rendered at the time of payment. It’s that you develop a relationship. You test the waters. You get inside, tailored information that nobody is going to give you over the phone.
When one of the “bat men” came to the house he pointed out things and hiding places I never would have considered.
We also made small talk and got to know each other. We developed a rapport. We are all more likely to do business with someone that we trust compared to a stranger. In times of crisis, it’s beneficial to have those relationships already established. Many people don’t factor that into their equation.