Dozens more bats found and removed from UGA dorm building

Dozens more bats were found in a University of Georgia dorm on Thursday, nearly two weeks after students first reported a bat infestation at Oglethorpe House.

University officials say 25 to 30 bats were found in the rafters of a rooftop mechanical space that is not accessible to students.

“Bats are very little and are good at hiding, so we knew there may be a few remaining in the community,” said Linda Kasper, UGA’s executive director for housing.

Kasper told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims that a pest control crew from Aardvark Exterminating immediately removed the bats.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Students first reported bats in the stairwell of Oglethorpe House on January 14. The bats entered the building through several openings in the roofline that pest control experts closed last week, university officials said.

With access points to the residence hall sealed last week, “it is believed that these bats have been trapped inside the space since this time,” according to a statement from the university.

“Since we first noticed there were bats, we contracted with a local pest control company,” Kasper said. “They’ve been here and been on call. We have asked students to not touch or interact with any bat if they happen to see one.”

The crew has put in bat valves, which are one-way doors that allow bats to leave but not get back inside. Bats are a protected species and cannot be exterminated. The Georgia Department of Health says only a small percentage of bats have rabies.


The state Department of Natural Resources did not respond to the infestation, but Rick Lavender, an agency spokesman, said the bats are Mexican free-tailed bats.

“During extreme cold snaps (i.e. below freezing for long periods), this species is known to seek out heated structures to avoid freezing,” Lavender wrote in an email. “At other times, they will roost in natural and humanmade structures with generally stable temperatures, such as hollow trees, rock crevices, unheated buildings, etc.”

Students who live in Oglethorpe House provided photos of bats hanging above dorm room doors and in stairwells of the building.

“Personally, I’m not using stairwells, I’m mostly using the elevators,” said Pranav Rohit, a resident of Oglethorpe House. He said the infestation has been troubling. “It’s more my parents that have been extremely scared,” he said. “My mom especially, she’s been concerned.

Cooper Mattox, who also lives in the dorm, says he appreciates the university’s response to the infestation.

“I’m pretty concerned about it,” he said. “I don’t want to get bit by one of them.”

UGA officials say it doesn’t appear any more bats are getting into the building.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]