Going batty with bats?
For Immediate Release
July 27, 2017
OKANAGAN and SIMILKAMEEN VALLEYS – Are you noticing more bats around your house or property? You are not alone! Mid-summer is the time when landowners typically notice more bat activity, may have bats flying into their house, and occasionally find a bat on the ground or roosting in unusual locations.
These surprise visitors are usually the young pups. “In July and August, pups are learning to fly, and their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans“, says Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, ecologist and coordinator with the Okanagan Community Bat Program. The long spell of hot dry weather has also made bats, like humans, desperate for a drink and more likely to come out before darkness to satisfy their thirst.
The Okanagan Community Bat Program is part of the province wide BC Community Bat Program, funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, the Habitat Stewardship Program, and the Government of BC. It has received numerous calls reporting bats in unusual locations this summer.
“For landowners who find a bat in need of assistance or find dead bats in the Okanagan/Similkameen valleys, please call our toll free number 1-855-9BC-BATS ext.13,” says Rodriguez de la Vega.
Bats in BC have very low levels of rabies infections, but any risk of transmission should not be treated lightly. Contact a doctor or veterinarian if a person or pet could have come into direct contact (bitten, scratched etc.) with a bat.
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,” says Rodriguez de la Vega.
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. “We offer advice and support for homeowners who are either wanting to co-exist with bats or evict bats that are roosting in a building, says Rodriguez de la Vega.
To find out more and download the “Seven Steps to Managing Bats in Buildings” booklet, visit www.bcbats.ca. “Depending on the situation, we have some funding to visit landowners and provide site specific advice on bat conservation and management,” states Rodriguez de la Vega. To contact the Okanagan Community Bat Program, call 1-855-9BC-BATS ext. 13 or email [email protected].