When Can I Evict or Exclude Bats From My Home?

If you are trying to remove bats from your home or a building, eviction/exclusion is the only legal and appropriate method.  However, in accordance with Florida Administrative Code rule 68A-4.001 General Prohibitions and rule 68A-9.010 Taking Nuisance Wildlife, it is illegal to evict or exclude bats during the maternity season (April 16 – August 14), and attempts to harm or harass bats with lights, sounds, or toxic substances are not allowed.  The capture and relocation of bats is also prohibited and ineffective as bats have incredible homing capabilities and will return to the roost site after being relocated.

Bat evictions/ exclusion can only occur from August 14 through April 16.

  • Maternity Season (April 16 – August 14)

    During the maternity season, female bats are congregating and raising baby bats, known as pups. Pups are born hairless, and require high temperatures to stay warm, especially when their mother is out finding food. Pups aren’t able to fly for a few weeks after they are born, so any form of eviction during this time period will result in baby bats being trapped, along with adult bats that may not have emerged. Trapped bats will attempt to escape and may end up in the living space of buildings. Also, the decay process of dead bats can produce strong odors and could attract unwanted pests, such as cockroaches.
  • What can be done during the maternity season?

    Bat proofing inside the building. Preventing bats from entering the living space in your building is the single most important step to protecting yourself until bats can be excluded after the maternity season ends. If bats are roosting in the attic or walls, but some have come into the living space, there may be structural issues such as tears in ventilation or loose fitting fixtures. Bats are not capable of tearing and breaking fixtures, so any damage leading to bats entering living spaces will have been preexisting. Appropriate repairs should be made during the maternity season, so that when the exclusion devices are up, bats don’t find their way back into the home.

    Note: In many cases, bats are forced further inside a building when exit sites on the outside are sealed. Wildlife control operators should ask if exclusion was attempted or if bat exits have already been covered. These obstructions need to be removed. (See Violations section). When young bats start to fly, some may enter open windows or have trouble navigating, so it may help to close unscreened windows and garage doors from dusk till dawn June through August.

    If the smell of guano is strong, see if there are existing structural concerns with the building. Building codes usually require air handlers to keep attic air separate from living space air, and this should be checked. If moisture is getting into attic spaces and walls, it can increase odor. Check for areas that may be allowing water into the building, and if these areas are not an exit site for bats, repair immediately. Dehumidifiers or fans inside of buildings can also help reduce odors. Note: Strong smells are not a health hazard. They are a quality of life and aesthetic concern for persons living in a home, but the smell from bats (or their guano) is not, in itself, something that causes or creates health problems for most individuals. If the bat entrance or exit is the site of water entering a building, discuss ways to prevent water from entering while still allowing bats access until the end of the season.

    Sealing and preparing areas outside of the building. Look for holes or crevices larger than one-half inch, make sure they are not the sites of bats entering and exiting, and go ahead and seal them, before the exclusion.  The best way to identify the areas bats are using is to watch the bats emerge in the evening.  Remember that these entrances cannot be sealed during the maternity season April 16 - August 14.

    Consider putting up a bat house nearby or on the building before the exclusion begins.  Bats are unlikely to switch and use a bat house, but may use it after an eviction/exclusion.  Bat houses have an increased chance of occupancy if they are placed in the flight route of the bats exiting the building.

    Remember: It is illegal to exclude or remove bats from April 16 to August 14!

  • Non-maternity Season (August 15 – April 15)
    • How do I build an eviction or exclusion device?
      An eviction or exclusion device can be built by following the instructions provided by Bat Conservation International or from this video produced by FWC, UF-IFAS, and the Florida Bat Conservancy.

 



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