Bats back at Longview school, and found in nearby church - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Bats back at Longview school, and found in nearby church

Davis Whitehurst points where hundreds of bats were hanging out. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Davis Whitehurst points where hundreds of bats were hanging out. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

The bats just couldn’t stay away from J.L.Everhart Elementary in Longview. The gym is shut down again after employees found five bats Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.

But a neighboring church struggled with a similar problem in the last few weeks.

The bats were back, but there were nowhere near the number as seen a month ago in the J.L. Everhart gym. First they found droppings last week, according to Principal Arthur Brown.

“We could see evidence, but no bats, but immediately closed down the gym just in case,” Brown said.

They got wildlife eradication out there again and a few days later the night crew saw a few flying in the gym.

“The expert went back up and he found that there were some basically micro cracks that had been missed when they were boarding them up using lumber,” Brown relayed.

So the expert used caulk to seal them up, used a better exclusion device, and added two more to give the bats more ways out, but no way in.

But about three weeks ago a bat problem was discovered at Mobberly Baptist Church across Loop 281.

“We got a call from them and I think that we were told that they had a colony of about four or five hundred. So they had a colony that was bigger than ours,” Brown stated.

That was when the school was dealing with the worst of it. Davis Whitehurst who does maintenance for the church investigated when a dead bat was found in a plastic cooler in a storage room upstairs.

“And then when I pulled up the ceiling tiles I could hear just scratching noises, and I knew we had quite a few,” Whitehurst said.

That evening he sat on the roof and counted about 300 leaving the roof above the church gym through a small gap.

“And I could still see some more up in there, but I had to go,” Whitehurst stated.

So he got advice from the man the school used, sealed up the roof and rigged a screen so the bats could get out but not back in.

“That’s how we got rid of them,” Whitehurst said.

A few made their way into the stairwell and were captured and released. Three weeks ago bats were:

“Down this side right here and behind that wall,” Whitehurst said.

But the bats are gone now.

“Apparently we have a pretty sizable bat population in Longview anyway,” Brown observed.

And they weren’t destroyed, just urged to find a new home. And at the school:

“Hopefully third time’s a charm,” said Principal Brown.

Workers at the church have cleaned the area, and the Longview Environmental Services was notified and inspected the church. The school will keep a close eye on the gym during spring break and hopes to open it back up after the break. There was no human contact with the bats.

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