Need advice on major bat guano removal

alisandeAugust 6, 2006

The previous owners hung plastic tarps from the ceiling of the upper level of the barn. We now know that the purpose was to catch bat droppings. Naively, my family stored lots of stuff up there, stuff we would like to sort through now, years later.

The problem is that the tarps have collected an enormous quantity of bat droppings. They are laden with them, and are hanging a lot lower than they used be, suspended (just barely) over our stored items. They are also about 30 years old, and so I imagine they're rather fragile. I look up there and glaze over, unable to envision how we're going to accomplish their removal.

Suggestions, anyone??

Thanks!

Susan

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centralcacyclist

Yikes! I think I would put new same size or larger sturdy tarps under them and just take the whole mess down intact, folded up inside the new tarps, tape it up and take it to a dump. Wear gloves and a good mask and eye protection. Better yet, a hazmat suit! Find someone without a gag reflex to help hold the other side of each tarp.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:07PM
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alisande

Thanks, Barnmom. (From your name, I can see I asked the right person!) Your suggestion makes good sense, but what I failed to mention is that this level of the barn is accessible only by ladder. That kind of changes things, yes?

This job is beginning to assume impossible proportions. I wonder if it would be possible to rig up some sort of chute to carry the droppings down to a receptacle in the lower level? I'm thinking of the way grain is moved... Of course, what I don't know about the way grain is moved would fill a couple of books.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:18PM
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centralcacyclist

Have you considered renting scaffolding? That way you have a platform from which to work.

Some found info. This sounds like a project for the brave and experienced. (How about calling the producers of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs"?) ;-)

"Routine guano removal should be approached with a degree of caution. A fungus sometimes found in bird and bat droppings can lead to a health condition known as histoplasmosis. Though not common in the northeast U.S., BCM takes precautions when working in these environments."

"Correctly considered beneficial animals, in certain situations bats, however, pose a threat to human health. Histoplasmosis is a disease associated with bat guano and bird droppings. When droppings accumulate for years, a fungus (Histoplasma capsulatum) can grow and produce spores that may cause histoplasmosis when inhaled. Where bat or bird droppings accumulate, in an attic for example, care should be taken to avoid contracting this disease. Clean up generally involves wetting the droppings before removal and wearing personal protective equipment, including a HEPA-equipped respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Removal of large amounts of guano or droppings from structures should be left to experienced professionals familiar with proper removal procedures. For more information on histoplasmosis and clean-up procedures see the following Web sites:

www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect.reportdis/histo.htm

www.cdc.gov/niosh/tc97146.html"

You will want to be careful about any contact or breathing the guano whatever method you figure out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clean-up info.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 9:18PM
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sweeby

I've heard bat guano is some of the world's best fertilizer. I wonder if a soil company or garden center might help with the removal in exchange for the guano? Could be worth a phone call...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 10:34PM
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lindac

I'd be hiring that done!...I am all for doing stuff my self....but this is hazardous. You don't want to raise a dust....don't want to breathe the stuff, don't want it on your stored things. I would try to find someone with a cherry picker to assist or to do the job...
But on the upside...I'll bet you have a decreased chance of getting mosquito bourne illnesses...:-))
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 12:20AM
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alisande

I like the idea of a garden center helping in exchange for the guano, but in view of the fact that it's a hazardous job I don't think I want to get anyone involved except professionals in the field. I've been in touch with two people who do this for a living, and each has said they will come out to evaluate the situation and give me a price. I'll be amazed if it's a price I can afford.

(Just got new roofs on my barn and shed...oh, and I paid my school taxes this week. And did I mention I contacted an excavator about putting in a new septic tank? Oy...)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 5:49PM
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