Historic Brownsville building has over 2,000 bats

Robert Runyon

POSTED: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 4:47pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 7:56am

A historic Brownsville building is being restored for the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts.

However, there are over 2,000 'guests' staying there.

Roman McAllen, City Planner, "When it was originally built by Mr. Stegman, the building opened according to the Brownsville Herald, July 2, 102 years ago, in 1912."

The bottom portion of the Stegman building was used for retail stores. Now, the project is well underway to being cleared out.

Roman McAllen, "The second floor from what I recall was offices, all offices, and is still laid out in that way."

Now, the second floor contains empty rooms, all except for one.

Frank Martinez of Safeguard Pest Control says that he estimates it to be around 2,000 Mexican free-tailed bats living in one of the rooms on the second floor.

Frank Martinez, Safeguard Pest Control, "It's the biggest colony that I've ever seen here in a building in the valley."

The bats will be moved out through what's called bat cones, where they can easily exit, but works as a reverse trap so that they can't get back in.

Once the bats leave, they next project is safely cleaning out the guano.

Martinez, "Guano is used a fertilizer in many places it's a very good fertilizer. But yes, it has a lot of bacteria, and especially if it gets wet it can become toxic."

This is the season to remove the bats because the babies are big enough to fly away safely.

The Mexican free-tailed bat is protected as the state mammal of Texas and very common in the valley as they like humid warm areas.

City Planner Roman McAllen says that this is the second time that they have had to clean bats out of the building.

Pest control reports they can fit in through holes as small as a quarter inch in diameter.

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