DHEC look for bats in downtown Conway

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Mites, lice, disease: a public health hazard that DHEC is monitoring in downtown Conway.

DHEC agents are looking for bats. The agency issued a flyer to businesses stating recently a large colony of bats was observed flying from a chimney area of a commercial building downtown. The agency started looking into the possibility of a bat infestation – and discovered several other business owners in the area found bats dwelling in other buildings.

The Snake Chaser, a wildlife removal expert, says he has many calls coming in from Conway and that this is the time of year when bats start mating so there is an explosion in their population.

The biggest concern is rabies. DHEC points out recent human rabies cases have been caused by bats. While that is true, the Snake Chaser says none of the bats in Conway have tested positive.

It is still very important that if you see one, you immediately call DHEC or a wildlife expert to capture and test the mammal. The number for the local DHEC office is (843) 238-4378.

Some shopkeepers haven't seen the bats but are taking extra steps now to make sure they don't see any in the future.

"It is definitely a concern because I wouldn't want anything to happen to our customers or to anyone in downtown Conway," said Terry Bedell, the manager of The Trestle.

Rabies can be fatal disease. While the main concern for DHEC agents is public health, bats are also very beneficial to the environment.

The Snake Chaser explained the mammals can eat up to five times the amount of their weight in insects.

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