RALEIGH — If you suspect bats may be living in your home, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is asking that you relocate them responsibility before pup rearing season begins on May 1.
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. If they’re getting inside, a licensed Wildlife Control Agent can safely evict them for you. You can find a list of licensed professionals on the 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, providing free pest control as they nearly devour their own body weight in insects nightly. Their appetite increases even more during pup-rearing season, which runs May 1 – July 31 across North Carolina.
“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 have used 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,” stated Katherine Etchison, wildlife diversity biologist with the Wildlife Commission.
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. However, you can still ask a Wildlife Control Agent to seal off entryways that lead into the living space of your home to minimize the chance of human interaction. If a bat does enter the living space, it’s imperative to determine if human exposure occurred. If someone did come in contact with the bat, or might have done so, contact your county health department to get the animal tested for rabies.
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, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 866-318-2401 or email anytime at HWI@ncwildlife.org.