Family forced to flee their home after infestation of bats found in sofa and curtains

News

A family have spoken of being terrorised by an invasion of bats which were found living in their sofa and curtains.

Kathleen Cuthbert, 26, her husband Ryan, 30, feared for their four kids, Rhys, seven, Kayden, six, Ryan, two, and seven-month-old Kady as they endured six months of hell living with the small flying creatures.

The saga saw them leave their council house in Maybole, Ayrshire, in Scotland, while experts got rid of the animals.

Their bat terror began when one of the winged menaces landed on two-month old Kady’s car seat and clawed into the tot’s blanket.

The bat take-over has saw them appear in rooms across the house and have been described by Kathleen is ‘tarantulas with wings’.

Evidence of bats has been found in her son Ryan’s bedroom, with foul droppings discovered in the two-year-old’s room.

But council chiefs have denied they posed any health hazard.

Kathleen told Ayrshire Live: “We’ve got a fear of bats. It felt like they had just taken over our home.

“We are absolutely petrified of them.

“The first time we saw one it landed on my baby girl’s car seat and dug into her blanket. I was screaming.

“They are like tarantulas with wings, they just crawl about.

“After we saw one they seemed to just multiply there was three or four on our living room sofa. They were so small you could barely see them but they’d be right beside you.”

The family upped sticks and were sent to stay in Prestwick while council pest control teams checked out the house along with a bat conservationist.

At first, around a dozen of the frightening creatures were removed from the property as a mass deep-clean took place.

Council crews then ensured there was no gaps from the loft where bats were coming from into the loft.

But they left Kathleen in the dark over a bat box which was left in place at the home, with the local authority reluctant to move the box due to bats being a protected species.

However, as of Monday Ayrshire Live understands that the bat box was removed to prevent future problems with the animals.

Kathleen said: “When the council inspected our home they found bat droppings in our youngest boy’s bedroom and on his curtains.

“We noticed there was a weird smell in his room for months, and he kept getting chest infections.

“A bat expert who was there said my son’s room had ‘a bat smell’, but the council said it wasn’t a health hazard.

“They also found droppings on our sofa. The council offered to deep clean it but I never wanted to sit on it again after what had been living there.”

Kathleen also took the decision to get rid of trees in her back garden which were said to be a food source for the bats.

Kathleen claims she has been left out of pocket after spending £1,080 to remove trees. But council chiefs say she never asked for permission and was never advised to do this.

Kathleen added: “We’re so glad the bat box has been taken out. It felt for a while like the bats were getting better treatment than we were.”

Ayrshire Live asked South Ayrshire Council about Kathleen’s fears over the bats posing a health hazard to her children.

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council said: “During the council’s housing services team initial visit to the property, every room was checked with the resident present. It was later confirmed by the bat specialist that all evidence pointed to bats being located in the downstairs areas of the property.

“An odour within a cupboard in one of the upstairs bedrooms was thought to be coming from the loft insulation and, as part of the internal works to the property, the loft insulation was removed, the loft area was cleaned and new loft insulation installed.

“After the bats were removed, the property received a full clean, and was cleaned again before the resident and her family made the decision to return home.”

The spokesperson added that a further survey was being carried out to establish if there are any additional bats in the loft area.

“The bat specialist has advised that if no bats are found, the bat box can be removed,” they said.