Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Prepare your home and property now
for redirecting winged visitors – before bats take up residence
Division of Fish & Wildlife also seeking volunteer bat spotters
DOVER (April 21, 2015) – Delaware is home to nine species of bats, several of which have begun their annual move from winter hibernation sites to summer maternity colonies. Female bats return to their colonies pregnant, and then congregate to give birth and raise their pups. In Delaware, these colonies often take up residence in barns, garages, attics and homes.
Bats feed at night on insects, including many pest species such as mosquitoes. Some eat moths and beetles that damage our crops. A study published in Science magazine’s Policy Forum suggests that bats could be one of the most economically-valuable groups of wildlife to North American farmers, saving farmers at least $3.7 billion annually by reducing the amount of pesticides needed.
“They’re providing us with a valuable and free service, so it’s to our benefit to have them around,” said Wildlife Biologist Holly Niederriter of DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Even though bats play an important role in our ecosystem, they are often unwanted visitors to residents’ homes and outbuildings. If you or someone you know has had bats roosting in what you consider an undesirable location, a bat exclusion from the building or structure may be warranted.
In the spring, it is crucial that bat exclusions be completed before May 15, when mother bats start giving birth, to prevent trapping flightless young inside a building and permanently separating the mothers from their pups – which cannot survive on their own. For a list of permitted wildlife control operators who can conduct bat exclusions, visit https://apps.dnrec.state.de.us/NuisanceWildlife/Search.aspx and to review the “Best Management Practices” for excluding bats, go to www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats/ and check out the “Bats In Buildings” section.
Volunteer bat spotters needed
Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists are seeking volunteer bat spotters to help in locating and counting the state’s bat colonies. The Delaware Bat Count is a statewide study of bat populations, breeding activity and the overall health of the bats that inhabit our state. The bat program is always looking for reports of new bat colonies, and for volunteers interested in being a part of this important research program. Once volunteers adopt a site of their own, they are asked to count the bats at least twice during the summer.
To report a bat colony, or for more information about becoming a bat spotter or on proper bat exclusions, please contact Holly Niederriter at 302-735-8670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about the Delaware Bat program on Facebook, or at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats.
Vol. 45, No. 121