DHEC warns of bats at Myrtle Beach apartment complex

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Imagine waking up to bats in your bedroom. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that’s what prompted it to send a warning letter to residents at Magnolia Place Condos.

DHEC sent the letter approximately 10 days ago, after residents and a pest control operator reported seeing bats at the complex. David Tucker recently moved into the neighborhood, and says he’s already seen his fair share of bats. “Usually in the evening time, I sit outside and read and you can see them flying in the lights. Last night, there was probably about 10 of them. At least,” he recalled.

Tucker says his building has plenty of nooks and crannies for the bats to hide out in. “I sit outside every night, rain or shine, and in between the complexes here, they fly around the middle.” He admits the nocturnal creatures don’t really bother him, but his neighbors, who are in town for the holiday weekend, are more concerned. “It’s got me a little bit nervous. Now I know I need to be looking out when I’m out here at night time,” said David Barksdale.

A representative from DHEC said to make sure you close all your doors and windows at night, since bats are typically more active during the summer. “We encourage everyone to stay away from any animal that’s wild. The chance of getting rabies is always present when you’re dealing with wild animals,” said DHEC spokesperson Robert Yanity.  Though the thought of a getting bitten by a bat is enough to scare most, DHEC says that’s not the only way you can contract rabies. “Saliva contact with an open wound or areas such as eyes, nose or mouth can also transmit rabies,” said Yanity.

That’s why the Barksdales aren’t taking any chances this weekend. “When we’re going in and out to be watchful. Looking around, keeping the door to the balcony close because I’ve been keeping that open,” said Mary Barksdale.

DHEC advises calling your local animal or pest control immediately if you do spot a bat in your home or neighborhood.