Bat pup season begins in May, so now is the time to relocate any roosting bats that may have taken up residence in your home.
“Young bats are flightless for three to four weeks after birth and depend on their mother for survival during that time. If a homeowner waits until May to install an eviction device on the opening that the bats are using to get to their roost, female bats will not be able to get to their young, leaving the pups to starve to death or try to find other ways to escape, including entering the homeowner’s living space,” explained Katherine Etchison, wildlife diversity biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Commission.
Bat scat, called guano, is the most obvious indication that bats may be living in the gable vents, behind a shutter or in another nook around the outside or inside your home. You can find a list of licensed professionals for help removing bats on the N.C. Wildlife Commission website, NCWildlife.org.
Bats hibernate or migrate south during the winter, which is why you may only start to see them now. They are ecologically and economically valuable — they nearly devour their own body weight in insects nightly.
If you are unable to remove the bats before rearing season, it is best to leave them in their roost until the end of July. Bats return to the same roost each spring, so it’s important to maintain your home after evicting them. You can provide alternative roosting space by installing bat boxes 12 to 20 feet high in a place with at least seven hours of direct sunlight in the summer. For tips on building, buying or installing bat boxes, visit batcon.org/about-bats/bat-houses.
If you have questions about interactions with bats, contact the Commission’s NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 or email HWI@ncwildlife.org.