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When people hear rustling noises coming from their attic, their first response is that they may have a rat or squirrel problem. Rarely do people think they may have a problem with bats. From time to time, bats become displaced from their natural home (a dead tree or a cave, for example) and end up residing in man made structures where they can become a nuisance.
Bats are protected animals in the state of Florida. With this being said, what can be done to remove bats if they are in a building? The Florida Bat Conservancy and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommend exclusion of bat entry points and the use of one-way devices that allow the bats to exit the building, but not re-enter.
Bat exclusions cannot be performed year-round. From April through August, mothers may be rearing young. If a building were sealed with pups (baby bats) enclosed and no way for their mother to take care of them, they would die. For this reason, there is a window from Fall until Spring when bats can be excluded from buildings.
Although bats often get a bad wrap, they do tend to have some beneficial traits.
- 70% of the world’s 1,000+ species of bats feed on insects. The remainder feed on nectar, fruit, lizards, birds, frogs or even fish. All 13 species of bats found in Florida are insectivores (bug eaters).
- Besides being natural pest controllers, bats help to pollinate plants and spread fruit seeds (carried in their nutrient-rich guano).
- Speaking of guano, some bats can produce several times their body weight in droppings per week, depending on how much they eat. Bat guano is reported to be a great fertilizer, but like other excrement, there are hazards associated with handling the raw product.
- Most bats prefer to roost in trees or caves. Unfortunately, when these roosting sites are not available, bats can take up residence in buildings and become a nuisance.
So, how do you know if you have bats in the belfry? Because bats are nocturnal, you won’t see them flying about during the day, but you may notice them emerging from openings at dusk. Rustling noises and squeaking coming from ceilings and walls may be heard. Staining may be seen around the openings that the bats are using to enter and exit the structure. Guano may also be found by the openings on ledges, sidewalks, patios, attic woodwork, etc.
In the event you suspect you have bats in a building, this is the time of year to address the issue. Contact us. We can help.