Invasive Species

ramonmercado

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Invasive species could cause billions in damages to agriculture
June 20, 2016 in Biology / Ecology
Invasive insects and pathogens could be a multi-billion- dollar threat to global agriculture and developing countries may be the biggest target, according to a team of international researchers.

"Invasive pests and diseases are a major threat to agriculture, natural ecosystems and society in general," said Matthew Thomas, professor and Huck Scholar in Ecological Entomology and a researcher in the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State. "In the U.S. you only need to think about current problems such as Emerald Ash Borer or the Asian Tiger Mosquito and the potential threat of Zika virus to appreciate this. One of the challenges we face is predicting the next threat and where it will come from. This study explores some of these issues at a global scale."

The researchers, who report their findings today (June 20) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed the impact of 1,297 known invasive insect pests and pathogens on 124countries. They also determined which counties posed the biggest threats based on their trading partners and numbers of invasive species.

The United States, China, India and Brazil, all large agricultural producers, would have the highest potential cost from invasive species, according to the researchers. China and the United States ranked one and two, respectively, as the highest potential source countries for the pests.

"China and the U.S. are large and have diverse cropping systems ranging from subtropical to temperate environments and this diversity of cropping systems supports a wide range of potential pest and disease species," said Thomas, who is also a co-funded faculty member of the Huck Institute, Penn State. "Also, China and the U.S. have very active trading relationships with many countries worldwide and these provide potential links for transport of pest and disease organisms to novel areas. ...

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-invasive-species-billions-agriculture.html
 
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ramonmercado

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Capybaras Are Getting Ready to Take Over Florida

Does any state in the U.S. have as many problems – self-inflicted or otherwise – as Florida? Get ready to add another big one to its list. A Florida biologist is warning that capybaras – the world’s largest rodents – are thriving in Northern Florida and getting ready to move anyplace where there’s vegetation. Should somebody warn Mickey that there’s a new rodent in town and this state isn’t big enough for the both of them?

Speaking at the recent 53rd Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society, biologist Elizabeth Congdon of Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach warned:

“Capybaras have been introduced to northern Florida [and] several sightings suggest they have been breeding.

Congdon and a team of students conducted a census and found at least 50 capybara roaming around in northern Florida. Fifty? That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Let’s take a closer look.

The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is native to South America and lives in groups of 100 in dense forests and savannahs near bodies of water. So the fifty in Florida are just getting acclimated to the home-like environment. They can grow to 4.4 feet in length, 2 feet in height and weigh up to 146 pounds with the record held by a female from Brazil weighing 201 pounds. (Wasn’t she the shot-putter on their Olympic team?) Oh, and they breed fast and can have litters of up to 8 pups. Sounds like an explosion of capybaras is not far off. ...

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2016/08/capybaras-are-getting-ready-to-take-over-florida/
 

PeteByrdie

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Apparently, like pork. I googled it. They eat them in South America, course, much like they do their smaller relatives the guinea pigs.
 

Patrick30

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Here in the American South we have the Grandaddy of invasive plants, the mighty Kudzu vine. Introduced in the early 20 th century to heal erosion scarred land, now it is the Vine Who Swallows All and a southern icon. Almost impossible to eradicate once the giant underground root balls become established. It will swallow and choke and kill forests, and anything else in its way.
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There have been many strategies. Nutritious as alfalfa, but nobody has figured out a way to economically harvest it other than by intense grazing. Goats or horses will do a number on it but you must strictly confine them to the area. Then once they have eaten it all you must monitor and treat the new shoots chemically for years to ever kill the root ball.

Speaking of goats, once my grandfather got some goats to eat some invasive pigweed in his pasture. Turns out goats aren't particularly fond of that weed and they ate his fruit trees instead.
 

Patrick30

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A recent problem here is coyotes. In my youth they were none east of the Mississippi River. Now they are everywhere and the bane of cattlemen and small pet owners. Cattlemen now run a donkey or two with their herds because donkeys will chase em away from the calves and provide some protection.
Not long ago my beloved kitty Peaches went out hunting one evening and never returned. I'm pretty sure the poor little girl became a coyotes dinner.
We have open season on em year round, but they are extremely stealthy and smart. Best you can do is shoot one or two occasionally if you are lucky enough to see one.
Now we have a new species, called the eastern coy dog, interbred with feral dogs, that are moving into cities and suburbs. Larger and less scared of humans, I understand that Chicago and some other large eastern cities are overrun with them.
 

ramonmercado

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Humans are remarkably good at moving species around: We unwittingly carry stowaway organisms in our luggage when we fly, in our cars when we take a road trip, and on our bodies when we're simply taking a stroll.

But what happens to the parasites of native species when a new species shows up, and could knowing what happens help us predict the effects of an invasive species on disease? A new study has found something unexpected—that invasive species may actually help prevent disease from spreading.

To figure out if such predictions are possible—and what information is needed to make those predictions—a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, Purdue University and Utah State University carried out a study on an invasive water flea, Daphnia, that has begun to spread in freshwater areas throughout the United States.

Their experiment asked how the invasive water flea is affecting the dominant native water flea and the fungal parasite that the two species share. Results of the study were published online in The American Naturalist on Sept. 20.

Researchers noticed that the invasive water flea became infected by the fungal parasite very easily. Thus, they predicted that the presence of invasive water fleas would easily spread the fungus, which would cause higher rates of disease. To test their hypothesis, the researchers created multiple miniature indoor "lakes" out of buckets, adding invasive water fleas to some buckets but not others.

Surprisingly, they found that the presence of invasive species actually decreased the amount of disease present in the miniature ecosystems. ...

http://phys.org/news/2016-09-invasive-species-unexpectedly-disease-prevalence.html
 

ramonmercado

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The number of alien species is increasing globally, and does not show any sign of saturation, finds an international team involving UCL researchers.

Led by scientists from Senckenberg, Germany, and the University of Vienna, Austria, the team found that during the last 200 years, the number of new established alien species has grown continuously worldwide, with more than a third of all first introductions recorded between 1970 and 2014.

The study, published today in Nature Communications, shows that individual trends differ among taxonomic groups, which can be attributed to human activities, but overall, alien species numbers are increasing for all groups of organisms.

"We observe distinct increases in first record rates of vascular plants, birds and mammals in the 19th century, probably as a result of the spread of horticulture and attempts at supposedly beneficial introductions during the period of European colonial expansion. The rates of new introductions of other organisms such as algae, molluscs or insects increased steeply after 1950, most likely because of the ongoing globalisation of trade," explained study co-author Professor Tim Blackburn (UCL Genetics, Evolution & Environment).

Although it was already known that the number of alien species has increased during the last 50 years, it remained unclear whether or not the accumulation of alien species has already reached a point of slow-down.

Dr Hanno Seebens (Senckenberg, Germany), first author of the study, said: "For all groups of organisms on all continents, the number of alien species has increased continuously during the last 200 years. For most groups, the rate of introduction is highest in recent years. Barring mammals and fishes, there are no signs of a slow-down in the arrival of aliens, and we have to expect more new invasions in the near future." ...

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-invasive-species-globally.html
 

ramonmercado

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Not just the rhododendrons: What's being done about invasive plant species in Ireland?
Michael Healy-Rae said the army would be needed to fix the rhododendron problem earlier this week.

2 hours ago 6,830 Views 14 Comments

RHODODENDRONS GOT A lot of attention this week when Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said that the only way to tackle the problems these plants were causing in Killarney National Park was to send the army in to take them down.

But, rhododendrons aren’t the only plants that are causing problems in parks, fields and forests around Ireland.

Japanese knotweeds, hogweeds and giant rhubarb are some of the most commonly known across green spaces in Ireland and they are said to cause absolute havoc, as well as being devilishly tricky to remove.

Opposition TDs press the government on the issue of “invasive plant species” on a very regular basis in the Dáil with the issue raised at least half a dozen times this year so far.

TDs from Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Dublin, to name a few, have name checked the problem when asking what issue will be taken, and it’s clear that they have these plants have a detrimental effect wherever they sprout up.

For its part, the government says it’s taking the issue very seriously.

Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Aidan O’Driscoll, appeared before an Oireachtas Committee recently, and acknowledged the problem of Japanese Knotweed, in particular, across the country.

He said: “It has not interfered with farming in a significant way but the problem it is a huge invasive species that is very difficult to kill".

Japanese knotweed is extraordinarily difficult to get rid of and is like Rhododendron in other parts of the country. Japanese knotweed is even more invasive and it has taken over huge areas of the country. ...

http://www.thejournal.ie/plant-problems-rhododendrons-3252817-Feb2017/?utm_source=shortlink
 

EnolaGaia

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Global hotspots for alien invasions revealed

Animals that have moved in from afar include the grey squirrel, rose-ringed parakeet and the noble false widow spider.

The UK also has more established alien plants than elsewhere in Europe, such as Himalayan balsam.

Scientists say islands and mainland coastal regions are global "hotspots" for alien species.

They are calling for more effective measures to stop further introductions of plants and animals into vulnerable ecosystems.

"We need to be much better at trying to prevent the introduction of species that can be harmful in the first place," said Dr Wayne Dawson of Durham University, UK. "Prevention is better than cure with invasive species."

Alien species are plants or animals that are non-native (or alien) to an ecosystem and whose introduction is likely to cause harm.

International researchers studied data on eight groups of plants and animals across 186 island and 423 mainland regions. ...

FULL STORY: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40251000
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's another tropical pest that's taking up residence in Florida (soon to spread elsewhere in the USA, no doubt ... ) ...

Brain-Infecting 'Rat Lungworm' Spreads in Florida

A parasitic worm that can infect people's brains has been found throughout Florida, according to a new study.

The researchers found the parasite, called rat lungworm, living in rats and snails in five Florida counties in both the central and northern parts of the state. Rat lungworm was previously found in southern Florida, and the new study is one of the first to show the extent of the parasite's spread across the state.

The researchers warned that the parasite, which is typically found in the tropics and only recently appeared in the continental United States, will likely continue to expand its range in this country. They said that the parasite's apparent ability to thrive in areas outside its historical range is "alarming," and as average temperatures rise with climate change, the parasite will likely spread into more temperate areas.

The parasite carries out its life cycle in rats, snails and slugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People can become infected if they eat raw or undercooked snails or slugs, or if they eat contaminated produce.

In people, rat lungworm, or Angiostrongylus cantonensis, can infect the brain and cause meningitis, according to the CDC. Infected people may experience headaches, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, and abnormal sensations in their arms and legs. Most people fully recover without treatment, but in rare cases, the infection can cause neurological problems or death, the CDC said. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/59651-rat-lungworm-florida.html
 

rynner2

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Japanese Knotweed hasn't gone away...
Japanese knotweed hotspots found across Cornwall as UK's 'most aggressive' plant thrives
By DaveCDM | Posted: July 17, 2017

Cornwall has been highlighted as a hotspot for the UK's 'most aggressive, destructive and invasive' plant.
Japanese knotweed, which can grow up to 20cm a day, has been causing problems in gardens throughout towns including Falmouth, Penzance, Camborne, Redruth and St Austell.

Homeowners are legally responsible for removing the plant if it appears in their gardens, and could even be handed an ASBO if it is allowed to spread to a neighbour's property. :eek:

New research, carried out by YouGov and Japanese knotweed removal specialist Environet UK, suggests that 78% of those aware of the infamous plant would be put off buying a property if they discovered the weed was present in the garden.

Japanese knotweed was first introduced into the UK from Japan in the 1850s as an ornamental plant, but it is now number one on the Environment Agency's list of the UK's most invasive plant species.

etc...

http://www.cornwalllive.com/japanes...lant-thrives/story-30443927-detail/story.html
 

EnolaGaia

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There are now numbers to illustrate both the scale of the Burmese python problem in Florida and the cost structure for dealing with the problem via 'privatized' means ...

TALLY REACHES 500 IN FLORIDA EVERGLADES BURMESE PYTHON HUNT
Hunters have killed 500 Burmese pythons during an elimination program in the Florida Everglades. ...

The South Florida Water Management District hired hunters to remove the voracious snakes from the Everglades. Researchers say the snakes are decimating populations of native mammals and pose a threat to the Everglades restoration efforts.

The hunters are independent contractors who are paid $8.10 an hour to track and kill pythons. They earn a $50 bonus for pythons that measure up to 4 feet (1 meter) and $25 for each additional foot.

SOURCE: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/storie...ME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-08-18-09-36-04
 

ramonmercado

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Jersey overrun by giant hornets (slight exaggeration).

An invasive hornet that kills honey bees is likely to have now settled in Jersey, according to an expert.

A third Asian hornet nest was destroyed on Wednesday after being discovered in the east of the island.

President of Jersey Beekeepers' Association Dr Tim du Feu said widespread sightings meant it was "more than likely" the hornets were now established.

Asian hornets were first seen in the island in August last year. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-jersey-40681265
 

ramonmercado

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Jersey overrun by giant hornets (slight exaggeration).

An invasive hornet that kills honey bees is likely to have now settled in Jersey, according to an expert.

A third Asian hornet nest was destroyed on Wednesday after being discovered in the east of the island.

President of Jersey Beekeepers' Association Dr Tim du Feu said widespread sightings meant it was "more than likely" the hornets were now established.

Asian hornets were first seen in the island in August last year. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-jersey-40681265

An update on the battle against the hornets.

THE race is on to stop a dangerous invasive insect which preys on honey bees from colonising the Island.

Beekeepers and officers from the Environment Department have less than two months to find and destroy Asian hornet nests as a colony can contain up to 6,000 insects and just one of the insects has the ability to kill 50 bees in a single day.

Unless the nests are destroyed by the end of September – when the queens leave the nest to establish new colonies for the following spring – there could be tens of thousands of Asian hornets in the Island by next summer.


Read more at http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2...-time-for-hornet-hunters/#3lXYoK4y1mr5O7jO.99
 

ramonmercado

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More on the hornet invasion. Nasty gits these hornets: They intercept returning bees, bite their heads off and then eat the rest.

Invading hornet bad news for struggling UK honey bees
25 August 2017

The Asian hornet has been slowly moving closer to the UK for a while now.

Already a problem in France it likes nothing more than eating European honey bees. It's arrival here would be a problem for struggling bee populations.

Like many invasive species the hornet has seen plenty of alarming and frankly slightly over the top coverage in the media.

But they do pose a really serious threat to our honeybees. The hornets feed by hovering in front of bee hives. They intercept returning bees, bite their heads off and then eat the rest, a behaviour called "hawking".

Exact figures are hard to come by but there are estimates are a single hornet can eat fifty bees in a day.

They don't appear to empty entire hives of bees and are unlikely to wipe out honeybees on their own. But it's an unwelcome new problem for bees that are already facing problems with disease, other pests and wider environmental issues.

Now researchers at the University of Warwick have sat down to try and work out how quickly the Asian hornet could take over the country. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-41049621
 

ramonmercado

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Even donated hay carries unwanted beasties.

Hay donations from across the country have provided much-needed relief to central and eastern Montana ranchers affected by wildfire and severe drought.

While the donations have been critical to feed livestock in the wake of the Lodgepole Complex fire, noxious and invasive weed species have been detected in hay delivered from other locations in Montana and from other states.

The Montana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Montana Department of Agriculture, Montana Invasive Species Council, conservation districts and others are coordinating outreach and working with hay recipients to identify unknown plants, insects, and diseases to prevent their spread.

“Invasive species threaten hay productivity and quality, as well as economic value and livestock health,” said Monica Pokorny, NRCS Plant Materials Specialist. “Local, state and federal agencies are working with landowners to detect invasive species and develop monitoring plans to keep watch on potential new infestations.” ...

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/keci/invasive-species-detected-in-donated-hay/617180960
 

ramonmercado

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See how bad its getting!

Air, mountain and water rescue teams were called to rescue two tourists who were lost for hours in a rhododendron forest in an Irish national park.

They were camping in Killarney National Park in County Kerry on Thursday when they became "disorientated".

A helicopter guided them through the dense rhododendrons to a lake shore, where they were rescued by boat.

It is not the first time rescuers have been sent to the forest, which covers about a third of the 26,000 acres park.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41282392#
 

ramonmercado

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I love the headline, it summons up visions of Triffidesque seaweed.

Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands
By Katie LanginJun. 11, 2018 , 5:20 PM

In retrospect, 2011 was just the first wave. That year, massive rafts of Sargassum—a brown seaweed that lives in the open ocean—washed up on beaches across the Caribbean, trapping sea turtles and filling the air with the stench of rotting eggs. “We had some really massive turtle kills,” says Hazel Oxenford, a fisheries biologist at The University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados. Before then, beachgoers had sometimes noticed “little drifty bits on the tideline,” but the 2011 deluge of seaweed was unprecedented, she says, piling up meters thick in places. “We’d never seen it before.”

Locals hoped the episode, a blow to tourism and fisheries, was a one-off. But a few years later “it came back worse,” Oxenford says. Now, the Caribbean is bracing for what could be the mother of all seaweed invasions, with satellite observations warning of record-setting Sargassum bloomsand seaweed already swamping beaches. The Barbados government declared a national emergency on 7 June. “It’s catastrophic,” says James Franks, a marine biologist at The University of Southern Mississippi in Ocean Springs, who is one of many scientists trying to explain why a part of the ocean that was once seaweed-free is now rife with Sargassum. “Right now there’s [another] huge mass impacting Puerto Rico, and that’s the last thing they need.” ...

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ly_2018-06-11&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2108824
 

ramonmercado

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Council tells homeowners to get knotted.

One of Europe’s most hated weeds has been spreading throughout a residential area of Dublin and is threatening to damage and devalue properties there.

The spread of the most “aggressive, destructive and invasive plant” on Dublin City Council-owned land in Stoneybatter near the Phoenix Park has sparked concern among local homeowners.

The council has begun spraying Japanese Knotweed on the O’Devaney Gardens site off the North Circular Rd but it has warned local homeowners they will have to pay private contractors to tackle the weeds on their own properties.

The costs associated with such treatments can run to hundreds of euro. It can take several years before the problem weed is eradicated and unless there is a concerted and coordinated approach it can easily grow back. Its presence can make it difficult - if not impossible - to sell a property or secure a mortgage on one.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ire...ng-to-homes-in-dublin-neighbourhood-1.3573715
 

ramonmercado

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Aaaarrrggghhhh! Nuke 'em from orbit!

Alien killer spider eats native lizard in first recorded Irish case
False widow spider was found to have wrapped its prey in silk in south Dublin house

Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 10:38 Updated: Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 11:18

Fears have been expressed for the future of Ireland’s only native lizard species after a specimen was found to have been eaten by an alien killer spider.

The viviparous or common lizard is a species protected by the Wildlife Act. A juvenile lizard was found at a house in Killiney, Co Dublin, in May last year.

He was trapped in the web of a false widow spider, an invasive species which was introduced into Ireland from the Canary Islands 20 years ago.

The lizard was wrapped up in silk and the spider was eating it.

It is the first recorded incident of a false widow spider eating a lizard in Ireland.

The false widow spider is more venomous, lives longer and breeds faster than the common house spider in Ireland. ...

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ire...lizard-in-first-recorded-irish-case-1.3577058
 

ramonmercado

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More on the hornet invasion. Nasty gits these hornets: They intercept returning bees, bite their heads off and then eat the rest.

Invading hornet bad news for struggling UK honey bees
25 August 2017

The Asian hornet has been slowly moving closer to the UK for a while now.

Already a problem in France it likes nothing more than eating European honey bees. It's arrival here would be a problem for struggling bee populations.

Like many invasive species the hornet has seen plenty of alarming and frankly slightly over the top coverage in the media.

But they do pose a really serious threat to our honeybees. The hornets feed by hovering in front of bee hives. They intercept returning bees, bite their heads off and then eat the rest, a behaviour called "hawking".

Exact figures are hard to come by but there are estimates are a single hornet can eat fifty bees in a day.

They don't appear to empty entire hives of bees and are unlikely to wipe out honeybees on their own. But it's an unwelcome new problem for bees that are already facing problems with disease, other pests and wider environmental issues.

Now researchers at the University of Warwick have sat down to try and work out how quickly the Asian hornet could take over the country. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-41049621

More Hornet Hysteria!

Sightings of the honey bee-killing Asian hornet have been confirmed in Cornwall and East Yorkshire.

Work is under way to identify any nests in Liskeard and Hull, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The Asian hornet is smaller than the native hornet and poses no risk to human health, but does pose a risk to honey bees.

Inspectors are monitoring areas around the sightings.

Nicola Spence, Defra deputy director for plant and bee health, said: "These sightings in Liskeard and Hull underline the need to remain vigilant.

"I want to encourage people to look out for any Asian hornet nests and if you think you've spotted one, please report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45481353
 

GNC

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It's almost as if someone wants the bees to become extinct.
 

Saucerian

Better not touch the hull pal, it's still hot.
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Did a search of the Message board, and did not find a thread specifically devoted to Bat infestations. I am always optimistic that the professional pest control people at my condominum have gotten the problem solved; I'll go a few days with no bats inside my residence and think they are finally sealed out by a netting which lets them get out but not back in. Well, last week, Thursday Morning, I woke up at 4 AM, to find one in the kitchen sink, covered it up and waited for the pro pest control guy to take it for rabies testing as required by government rules and reg. Thought I wouldn't see any more bats but Sunday night, found one in the toilet bowl. So far, no more inside my place. One Bat Enthusiast said he slept with bats in his bedroom, and it didn't bother him.

I love bats, an endangered, protected by law species, but . . .
 
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