The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds the public that fall is an ideal time to exclude bats from your home or other structures.
Florida boasts 13 native bat species, including the federally listed Florida bonneted and tricolored bat. All the state’s bats are insectivores, with a single bat capable of eating hundreds of insects, such as mosquitoes or garden pests, in a single night.
Bat maternity season, when bats give birth and raise their young, ended Aug. 15. Fall is the ideal time to bat-proof your home after bat pups have been weaned and can fly and search for food on their own. Fall is also when you may legally exclude any bats that might occupy a structure on your property. It is only legal to use exclusion devices from Aug. 15 through Apr. 15.
Exclusion devices allow bats to safely exit a structure without reentry and are the only legal and appropriate method to remove bats from your home or building. It is illegal in Florida to kill or harm bats.
Bat exclusion is a multistep technique where all potential bat entry and exit points in a facility are identified. Exclusion devices must be left up for a minimum of four nights to exclude bats legally, and the low temperature must be forecasted to remain above 50 degrees during that time.
The FWC suggests the following to aid native bat populations:
- Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities or peeling bark.
- Leave dead palm fronds and Spanish moss, which can provide roosting spots for bats.
- Install a bat house on your property.
- Report unusual bat behavior, as well as sick or dead bats: 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.” Learn more about bats in Florida and ways you can help them thrive by visiting MyFWC.com/Bats.