Florida Fish and Wildlife: April 15 Marks the Start of the Bat Maternity Season in Brevard

How You Can Help Bats Thrive in Florida

If you have some uninvited houseguests of the bat variety, April 15 marks the start of the bat maternity season. It is the very last day to legally exclude them from your home or building until mid-August. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA (FWC) – If you have some uninvited houseguests of the bat variety, April 15 marks the start of the bat maternity season. It is the last day to legally exclude them from your home or building until mid-August.

It’s illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida, but you can encourage them to leave buildings outside of the maternity season by following legal exclusion guidelines that work well for both you and them.

In Florida, there are 13 native bat species and 7 “accidental” species that only have a few records of occurrence in the northern or southern extremes of the state (Marks and Marks 2006).

Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial. They serve critical roles worldwide as insect pest controllers, pollinators, seed dispersers and fertilizers.

Although bats are facing these challenges, there are things people can do to help.

How You Can Help Bats Thrive in Florida

■ Spread the word that bats help people by eating large amounts of mosquitoes and agricultural pests.

■ Preserve natural roost sites such as trees with cavities and peeling bark, and dead fronds on palms.

■ Put up a bat house.

■ Report unusual bat behavior.

■ Do not enter Florida caves with shoes, clothing, or equipment that has been used in caves outside of Florida.

Florida’s bats are insectivorous, meaning they eat insects, including beetles, mosquitoes, moths and other agriculture and garden pests. A single bat can eat hundreds of insects in a night!

Florida’s bats face many challenges, including the loss of natural roosting sites in trees and caves.

Outside of Florida, a disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS) has also killed millions of cave-roosting bats and is spreading rapidly. As of early 2018, WNS has not reached Florida, but it remains a serious threat.

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