A Manatee County family is battling a bat problem.
Leo and Joan Masucci, who live in Ellenton’s Colony Cove, said hundreds of bats recently moved into their home, causing major problems for them.
“You can’t imagine how stressful this has been for us,” Joan Masucci said.
The couple said that at first, they didn’t even realize the bats were there. Then, after a few months, they started smelling a rotten odor.
“I thought there was a dead animal under the house,” Leo Masucci said.
The bats were not visible to the homeowners because they were up above the ceiling. They were able to get into the home through a small hole in the back of the house.
The bats chewed through the drywall, shredded the duct work and left feces all over, which created the terrible odor.
Despite learning about the problem, the couple couldn’t do anything about it because of what time of the year it was.
“From April 15 to Aug. 15, bats here in Florida are protected,” said Christy Norris, who works with Nuisance Wildlife Removal. “There’s a maternity season, and you can’t exclude them in any way shape or form during that time.”
So the couple waited until after the protection date to move forward. However, now they’re dealing with another problem.
To repair all of the damage done to their home, it’s going to cost an estimated $15,000.
The couple thought their homeowner’s insurance would pay for it, but they’ve been told the repairs are not covered.
Bay News 9 contacted the homeowner’s insurance company, American Traditions. A representative said the company is aware of the problem and is looking into it.
The homeowners fear for their health and said that because of that, along with the smell and damages, they’ve moved out.
The Masuccis said they have decided to pay for the repairs themselves so they can return home soon. However, they’re still trying to convince their insurance company to cover the costs.
Nuisance Wildlife Removal and another team are now working on the home.
The couple says this is something they never thought was possible and now they’re warning others.
“I’d like people to know to make sure their homes are checked and that holes are filled in,” Joan Masucci said. “There are a lot of bats looking to nest. I don’t want anyone else to have this same problem.”
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