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Going Batty: Westchester Residents Report More Than 50 Cases Of Bats Roosting Indoors

Bats hang upside down on a tunnel wall at the so-called Ostwall fortification, the former Nazi German defence line near the city of Miedzyrzecz in western Poland, on March 13, 2014. Tens of thousands of the winged mammals hibernate there each year. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Bats hang upside down on a tunnel wall at the so-called Ostwall fortification, the former Nazi German defence line near the city of Miedzyrzecz in western Poland, on March 13, 2014. Tens of thousands of the winged mammals hibernate there each year. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI (Photo credit should read JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Westchester County Health Department has reported more than 50 cases of bats roosting inside of homes in August.

The bats have returned in large numbers, which is nature’s way of controlling the mosquito population, but it can be quite a hassle if they roost in the wrong place.

“We are not here to kill anything. We’re here to kick them out. Let them stay in their environment,” Ray Hartley, Intrepid Wildlife Services, explained.

County Health commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said that if county residents see a bat in their home, they should catch it and bring it in for testing.

Amler said that most bats that are tested are not rabid, so humans who may have touched the animals don’t need to be treated for rabies.

But without the bat to test, anyone who has come in contact with a bat will probably need rabies shots.

Westchester County Health Department Assistant Commissioner Peter DeLucia told 1010 WINS, earlier this week, that if you do have a bat in your home, the best thing to do is to capture it in a coffee can, slide a magazine under it, bag it and freeze it to be brought in for rabies testing. But DeLucia says be careful not to smash it.

“We don’t want anybody taking a rolled up magazine or their shoe and smashing the bat because we need the head of that bat intact so we can test it,” he said.

Bats that wander into living spaces can pose a rabies risk for residents, some of those animals will have to be trapped, killed, and tested for rabies, the health department explained.

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