By John Greenwood / Published June 2019
Some fun facts about June:
Of all of the “fun facts” listed above, perhaps the most important of these to the health, welfare, and prosperity of our communities is the last one. As many people in Florida are aware, our state is home to the second largest bat population in the country (only Texas has more bats); and these Floridian bats are all protected by state law, enforced by the officers of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. This is because of their importance to the environment and their contribution to the safety and welfare of its human inhabitants.
A feeding bat will consume 2,000–3,000 small flying insects in a night, including small moths and mosquitos. In South Florida, bats can make up around 50 percent of the total mammal population, and these large numbers therefore contribute greatly to the fight against diseases that can be insect-borne, such as malaria, chikungunya fever, dengue fever, encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus. Without bats, we would be constantly fogging the streets of our cities and towns, using trucks that drive around our neighborhoods, pumping diesel fumes into the air; and we would be constantly spraying the lakes, ponds, and canals with tons of insecticides from above, using fixed wing aircraft and helicopters.
Bats, therefore, are our friends—and this is why we protect them with our laws. One of those laws defines bat maternity season, which is the time when the new baby bats (pups) are being born. During these four months of the year (mid-April to mid-August), there is a moratorium on disturbing them. This allows the new generation time to grow enough and gain enough strength to be able to fly. Bat activity—and bat sightings—increase quite dramatically during this period because the mothers that nurse their pups—bats are mammals—are having to consume even more small bugs and mosquitos to feed the new, hungry mouths.
However, because bats tend to roost in large colonies, often numbering in the hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands, they can cause serious problems when they make their homes in our houses, apartments, and condominiums. For this reason, professional bat exclusion companies such as ours are allowed—under strict circumstances and closely following the requirements of the legislation—to safely and humanely exclude (remove and prevent from returning) these animals.
Bat maternity season, as we’ve seen, precludes us from performing such exclusions at this time of year. In summary, there is bad news and good news:
Bat maternity season in Florida ends on August 15th. From this date on, we can re-commence exclusions. However, folks with a bat colony infestation issue should not wait until this date before deciding to engage a company such as ours. Here’s why:
In almost every case, the most time-consuming and methodical part of the exclusion process involves sealing up areas (and sometimes adjacent buildings) that are not currently being used by the bats but which would otherwise present safe and good potential alternate roosting sites. This we can do during maternity season, taking care not to disturb the roosting sites themselves. It is a vital part of the process, since it denies any excluded bats from finding their way back into the roof at new points, once the actual exclusion begins. Ignoring this step would simply lead to relocating the colonies to other parts of the building and moving the problem around rather than solving it.
It’s important to be aware of this for the following reasons:
Further Recommendations to Prepare for Exclusion Season
In conclusion, if you currently have bats in your building, don’t be overly concerned. They are non-aggressive, timid animals that are far more afraid of you than you are of them; and in any case, help can be on its way as soon as you pick up the phone or send us an email!
Technical Consultant, Friends of Bats
John Greenwood is the Technical Consultant for Friends of Bats—a Statewide, family-owned, and family-operated company specializing exclusively in the safe, humane, and guaranteed exclusion of bat colonies. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.friendsofbats.com, or call 1-888-758-BATS (2287).