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Bat problem overdue for a solution at Fort Ann library

Fort Ann library

The Old Stone House Library in Fort Ann is seen in 2012. The library is currently dealing with a bat problem.

FORT ANN — According to the Dewey Decimal System, books about bats are filed under the number 599.4.

At the Old Stone House Library on Route 4, the bats themselves have decided to expand that to the attic as well.

“Apparently, there is loose flashing along the roof, and the bats have become a problem,” Supervisor Richard Moore told the Town Board on Monday night. “We need to get the bats out, repair the flashing, clean up and put in some insulation that is treated so the bats will not come back and stay.”

The board received three bids for bat removal and cleanup — from Orkin Pest Control, Thomas Pest Service and Adirondack Nuisance Wildlife and Pest Control.

The Orkin bid was nearly twice as high as the other two, and the board voted unanimously to go with the Adirondack bid, which was $4,000.

Board member Deborah Witherell asked if the plan called for killing the bats, and Moore said it did not.

“They do something called exclusion,” he said. “They make it so there’s a way out, but there’s no way for them to get back in. The access to the outside is one-way.”

Knowing how

Bill Underwood, of Adirondack Nuisance in Hudson Falls, has been dealing with situations like this for almost 30 years and has an appreciation for the pests he is removing.

“It’s really quite a life cycle they have. We don’t want to hurt them, and we don’t have to,” Underwood said.

He said he will start working on the library as soon as possible.

“We’ll chip away at it as long as the weather allows,” he said.

He said this is the best time of the year to get the bats out of the attic.

“A lot of them have probably left, and they will be dormant until spring,” he said.

Underwood said his first task will be to find out how the bats are getting in, then seal the building with the exception of the most-used access point.

“The secret to success is to make sure that all access is cut off except the primary point,” Underwood said.

Then he will install something he said is similar to a dog or cat door, but it will only let the bats out. It will not let them back in.

“Once they are out, we’ll clean the attic,” he said. “You have to worry about rabies and droppings. That’s all got to be cleaned and disinfected.”

At that point, Underwood said, he will install the insulation, then check back to make sure everything is working. He said he guarantees his work and will make any repairs necessary.

Historical site

The Old Stone House Library, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built around 1825 as a house for Hiram Shipman, and since the early 1920s has functioned as the public library for the community.

The building was a private home until 1922, when it was purchased by George Owen Knapp, who donated it to the public for use as a community center and library.

Knapp, a founding member and the first president of the Union Carbide Co., developed a large estate adjacent to Lake George.

Virginia Parrott, who has been town historian for 44 years, said there may be more to the story.

“We believe it was also a station on the underground railroad,” she said. “There is a little hidey-hole behind the fireplace. It’s very narrow, but it could hold two or three people.”

You can read Bill Toscano’s blog at or his updates on Twitter, @billtoscano_ps.


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