Many Iowans are finding unwelcome visitors in their houses, and it’s not out-of-town relatives arriving early for the Labor Day weekend. Mark Langan, at the Humane Society office in Omaha/Council Bluffs, explains. “We’ve had over 100 calls for bats in people’s houses this week,” Langan says. “Every year, about this time, our calls increase.”

Typically, the furry winged creatures start making surprise appearances in our homes in late summer and early fall. Langan says, “We see an increase of bats going in people’s houses, primarily due to the fact that it cools off at night and the bats are trying to find a warm place to go.”

If there’s a bat in your house, open the doors and windows and it may just fly right out. Otherwise, call in an expert from animal control. Langan says there could also be a health concern as bats can carry rabies. “We advise people if they suspect there may’ve been an exposure with the bats, especially if they wake up in the morning and there’s a bat in the room, to isolate that bat in that room,” Langan says. “Put a towel at the base of the door to keep the bat secured. Close all the windows.”

All Iowa homeowners would be wise to take a walk around their house, looking for possible entry points. Langan says, “We advise people to check the caulking on their house because, especially in the older houses, if there’s gaps that form, all the bat needs is a hole about the size of a dime to get from the outside to the inside of the house.”

A report from the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2012 on rabies in wildlife, livestock and pets found: 17 reports of rabid bats, along with 9 cases in skunks, 4 in cows and 1 in a cat.