About 35 years
ago Marshall Hanks ran a small one-man Pest Control service out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Many people called and ask "What
can there be done about our bat problem?" At the time the most common thing to do (legal at that time) was to fumigate
your home and kill them. Hanks understood this to be cruel and pointless stating "the end result was hundreds of dead
bats to deal with and all the exterior openings still open, welcoming more bats in the future".
So now he understood
the task ahead of him: To find away to allow the bats to leave unharmed yet unable to reenter in any other area around the
structure and Guarantee It!
This initiative to solve something is not surprising. His grandfather, also named Marshall
Hanks, started the well known "Hankscraft" company that is still in operation today. His grandfather had over 70
Over the next couple of months Marshall worked long
and hard to develope an "Excluder" that would work 100%. The above picture is showing one of the original models
of the Excluder. It was made of hard plastic with short metal fingures that extended beyond the center opening. This would
allow the bats to push through but not return. This "Excluder" was short lived because it needed to be more versatile.
Many more styles were made until He designed the "EX100" which is still in use today.
During 1981 the Bat Control was really taking off. Because
he could not be everywhere at once he decided to make "Bat Proofing Kits" for the public. This include the Excluders
and a brochure on how to bat proof your home. Marshall, his wife, 3 sons and 1 daughter formed an assembly line to carefully
package each kit and send it to the customer. Unfortunately this to was short lived. Marshall says "without the homeowners
having the knowledge and experience of exactly where to place the "Excluders" and what openings to seal and not
seal, the bats would end up right back in." From then on Marshall Hanks knew that in order to solve a job correctly he
would have to travel and provide this service.
The picture above is showing his wife Marilyn also son Tim Hanks (now
owner/operator of Commercial Bat Control in San Antonio, Texas) and son Andy Hanks (now owner/operator of Wissota Bat Proofing)serving
Wisconsin and Minnesota bat problems.
Part of the brochure that was sent with each "Bat
Proofing Kit" in the early 1980's. His humorous side is reflected in the car that is packed up and family driving away
saying "There must be a better way!"
In Marshall's early career of "bat proofing",
the bats would enter through his "Excluder" and into a cage. The bats were unharmed and then relocated. Today cages
are not used or recommended.
Recently holding a
Large Brown Bat that measured 14inches from tip to tip. Some have been measured as big as 17inches.