Are you seeing more bats around your house or property these days? You’re not alone.
Mid- to late-summer is the time when landowners typically notice more bat activity, may have bats flying into their houses and occasionally find bats on the ground or roosting in unusual locations.
There is no need to be alarmed at these surprise visitors. They are often the young pups, just out spreading their wings. Pups are usually born in late June, learn to fly in July and August, and then move out in late summer.
“When pups are learning to fly, their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans,” explains Ella Braden, regional co-ordinator for the Okanagan Community Bat Program.
If they are in a safe location, out of the way of people and pets, you can leave them alone and they will move off on their own within days.”
Female bats gather in maternity colonies in early summer, where they will remain until the pups are ready to fly. Some species of bats have adapted to live in human structures, and colonies may be found under roofs or siding, or in attics, barns or other buildings.
Having bats is viewed as a benefit by some landowners, who appreciate the insect control. Others may prefer to exclude the bats. Under the BC Wildlife Act it is illegal to exterminate or harm bats, and exclusion can only be done in the fall and winter after it is determined that the bats are no longer in the building.
In general, September and October are an excellent time to do bat-friendly renovations or exclusion work. You can find guidance on timing and methods through the BC Community Bat Project website at www.bcbats.ca, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1-855-9BC-BATS extension 13.
If you find a bat, alive or dead, never touch it with your bare hands. Bats in B.C. have very low levels of rabies infection, but any risk of transmission must not be taken lightly.
The BC Community Bat Program is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, the Government of BC. .and the South Okanagan Conservation Foundation.