The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding the public that fall is an ideal time to exclude bats from your home or other structure.
While Florida’s 13 native and beneficial bat species typically roost in trees, caves or other natural spaces, they can also be attracted to human-made structures.
Bat maternity season, the time 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 April 15.
Exclusion devices, which allow bats to exit a structure but block them from returning to roosts, 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 building are identified. To legally exclude bats, exclusion devices must be left up for a minimum of four nights and must be conducted when the overnight temperature is forecast to be 50ºF or above.
Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial. They serve critical functions worldwide due to their roles in insect pest control, and as pollinators, seed dispersers and fertilizers. Florida’s bats are insectivores and a single bat can eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes and other garden and agricultural pests, each night.
Florida is home to 13 resident bat species, including threatened species, such as the Florida bonneted bat. There are several ways that Florida residents and visitors can help our bats:
- Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities and peeling bark.
- Dead fronds left on palm trees can provide roosting spots for bats.
- Install a bat house on your property.
- Report unusual bat behavior, as well as sick or dead bats: 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.
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