UGA dorm bat infestation: Officials work to fill holes, gaps at Oglethorpe House

Bats at the University of Georgia have been making their homes in some of the student dorms as the start of spring semester gets underway.

For nearly two weeks, some residents of Oglethorpe House have reported seeing bats. The university says pest control has been addressing the issue and is on standby in case any more are spotted.

"Ever since we heard, we would, like, turn a corner, and make sure there was nothing there," said Ella Sather, a student living in the dorm. 

Eva Sardon, also a student, says she has seen the bats on several occasions. "It's very alarming," she told FOX 5 on Friday. "There was one in the lobby, and it was like on the floor, and then all of a sudden it just got up and started flying at me, so I ran back to my room."

UGA battling bats at Oglethorpe House

UGA representatives say they first became aware of the issue about two weeks ago and immediately contacted a pest control company. 

The Oglethorpe House on the University of Georgia campus,

The Oglethorpe House on the University of Georgia campus, (FOX 5)

"They were entering through a penthouse on the roof that is a mechanical space where we have boilers. So, we believe they were entering through that space and then getting in the stairwells through that opening," said Linda Kasper, the executive director of university housing.

Kasper says pest control came out for the careful removal of the protected species. "We weren't able to complete that work until the next weekend because we needed to get a lift that could reach the 10th floor of the building, which is the penthouse," she said. "We completed that work with sealing all of the holes on Sunday. We expected it would take about three days to remove all the bats because the bats are so small, and they're very good at hiding."

However, Kasper says, on Thursday, more bats were spotted and removed. "Yesterday, we found about 30 bats in the morning in the stairwell," she said. "There is still a possibility that there are a few. So, we continue to have pest control here around the clock. They are on call, and we continue to tell students please do not touch the bats. If you see one, please contact the desk or call the RAs."

Do bats carry rabies? 

This image shows bats in the Oglethorpe House on the UGA campus.

This image shows bats in the Oglethorpe House on the UGA campus.

The Georgia Division of Natural Resources says some bats do have rabies, but it's less than one percent. 

"We've been working with the department of public health since last week encouraging anyone who has had any contact with the bats, so everyone who lives in this building, everyone who has worked in this building, to take a survey and from there they've been connecting with people to recommend any health precautions that they need to take as a result of that," said Kasper.

A link to that survey from the Department of Public Health can be found here.