Swarming bats living in roofing tiles torment Suburban Lake Worth residents

FWC claims bats are protected

SUBURBAN LAKE WORTH , Fla. -- It is usually roaches, rats and mosquitoes that are the household pests that torment homeowners.

But in one Suburban Lake Worth neighborhood, a flying critter that usually brings a lot of fear to many, has apparently swept through the area, proving difficult to get rid of for some residents.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of bats and it smells so bad. It smells so awful," said Donald deGroat, a Suburban Lake Worth resident.

Using a cell phone, deGroat has captured video of a swarm of bats flying near his house which he believes live under roofing tiles of nearby homes.

"They come out of the corner, over by the gutter," said deGroat.

The unbearable smell, noise and bat droppings are frustrating for neighbors like deGroat. He said he has reached out to fellow neighbors, the Palm Beach County Health Department, the neighborhood H.O.A. and Florida Fish and Wildlife,  with little success or help.

"Very stuck. I'm not getting help from anywhere," said deGroat.

Since bats are native to Florida and are protected species, Florida Fish and Wildlife said the main options for homeowners are to build nets or trap doors that allow bats to fly out and not back inside.

"Really, these are something that you want to have around because they're getting rid of pests and insects around your home, so they're really a positive thing to have," said Carli Segelson, a spokesperson for Florida Fish & Wildlife.

Segelson said some people even build houses for bats to help get rid of bugs and enrich their soil.

"I have no problems with bats, I love bats. I'd think they're very interesting if I didn't have to smell them," said deGroat.

The homeowner of one of the homes that allegedly has bats nesting in their roofing tiles did not feel comfortable commenting.

The neighborhood H.O.A. was also contacted,  but said there was no one to talk about the issue on Monday.

The Palm Beach County Health Department said it has not had an issue with rabid bats since August of 2009. Before that incident, spokesperson Tim O'Connor said the county has had five incidents with rabid bats between 1953-2003.

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