Bat maternity season starts April 15
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Media contact: Lisa Thompson, 727-896-8626; Diane Hirth, 850-251-2130
Bat maternity season starts April 15 in Florida, so if you have groups of bats roosting in attic, eve or chimney spaces and you want them to roost elsewhere, now is the time to act. It is illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida, but they can be legally excluded from a building or structure by following recommended and effective practices that protect bats and people. Exclusions of bat colonies must be complete by April 15, when bats begin giving birth to their young.
Florida is home to 13 resident bat species, including threatened and rare species such as the Florida bonneted bat. Many of those species do not roost in man-made structures. For bats that do roost in structures such as houses and other buildings, guidelines have been developed to more effectively and safely exclude bats when it is not their maternity season in Florida.
“Maternity season begins when groups of bats gather to give birth and raise their young and lasts until the young bats are able to fly and feed themselves,” said Melissa Tucker, who works in species conservation planning for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “In Florida, this season occurs from mid-April through mid-August for most bat species.”
Exclusion guidelines on how to remove bats from buildings can be found at MyFWC.com/Bats. Exclusions are illegal during the maternity season, from April 16 through August 14, to prevent young bats that cannot yet fly from being trapped inside structures and dying. Materials and methods used to exclude bats can affect the success of that process. For more information on how to conduct a bat exclusion, watch this YouTube video: How to Get Bats out of a Building. Further details on bat exclusions can be found at Bat Conservation International.
Bats are beneficial to people and are an important part of the ecosystem. The state’s native bats help keep insect populations under control, with the average bat eating hundreds of insects a night. In addition to the benefit of keeping mosquitoes and other night-flying insects at bay for residents enjoying the outdoors, the dollar value of insect suppression by bats to U.S. agriculture has been estimated to be in the billions.
There are ways that residents can help bats thrive in Florida:
- Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities and peeling bark. Dead fronds left on palms can also provide roosting spots for bats.
- Put up a bat house.
- Report unusual bat behavior to: MyFWC.com/BatMortality
For more information on Florida’s bats, go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife, click on “Species Profiles” and look under “Mammals.”
Contact your closest FWC Regional Office to speak with a regional Wildlife Assistance Biologist for more information.