The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds people that bat maternity season is underway, and it is not permissible to remove bats roosting in homes and other buildings until the season ends in August.
While Florida’s 13 native bat species are generally beneficial, and typically roost in trees, caves or other natural spaces, sometimes they are attracted to human-made structures.
April 15 marks the start of bat maternity season and was the last day to legally exclude bats from a building. This period, when bats give birth through Aug. 14. During that time, it is illegal to block bats from their roosts. If bats are excluded during maternity season, flightless young can be trapped inside the strucand raise their young, runs ture and die.
Exclusion devices, which allow bats to safely exit a structure but block them from returning to roosts, are the only legal and most effective method to remove bats from your home or building — but the devices may not be used during maternity season.
It is illegal in Florida to kill or harm bats, so exclusion guidelines were developed to ensure bats are excluded safely and effectively from buildings outside of maternity season. Bat exclusion is a multistep process that begins by identifying all potential bat entry and exit points in a building.
To legally exclude bats, exclusion devices must be installed on key exit points and should be left up for a minimum of four nights. Also, the exclusion must be conducted when the overnight temperature is forecast to be 50ºF or above.
Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial. They serve critical functions worldwide due to their roles in insect pest control and as pollinators and seed dispersers, plus their guano can be a valuable fertilizer.
Florida’s bats are insectivores and a single bat can eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes and other garden and agricultural pests, each night.
Florida’s native bat populations include threatened species such as the Florida bonneted bat.
There are several ways Florida residents and visitors can help our bats:
• Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities or peeling bark.
• Leave dead fronds on palm trees to provide roosting spots for bats.
• Install a bat house on your property.
• Report unusual bat behavior, as well as sick or dead bats to MyFWC.com/BatMortality.
For more information about how to properly exclude bats as well as other tips to bat-proof your home, visit MyFWC.com/Bats and click “Bats in Buildings.”
If you have questions or need more assistance, contact the North Central Region office of FWC by calling 386-758-0525 to speak with a wildlife assistance biologist.
Learn more at www.MyFWC.com/Bats.