Midsummer is when insects eat bats

By Lyonel Doherty, Chronicle of times

Are you noticing more bats around your home or property? You’re not alone. Mid-summer is when property owners typically notice more bat activity, may have bats flying around their home, and sometimes find a bat on the ground or roosting in places unusual.

These surprise visitors are often young puppies.

“During July and August, puppies are learning to fly, and their first efforts may land them in places where they are more likely to come into contact with humans,” explains Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, Regional Coordinator of the Okanagan Got Bats? BC Community Bat Program.

As noted in 2021, heat and smoke can also cause bats to use unusual roosting sites.

If you find a bat, alive or dead, remember never to touch it with your bare hands. Bats in British Columbia are known to carry rabies at a low level; this is why it is important to avoid all contact. If you must move a bat, use a trowel or similar and always wear leather gloves to protect yourself from direct contact. Talk to your children to make sure they understand never to touch, play with, or try to save bats that are injured or look sick. If you suspect a bat bite or scratch, immediately wash the area with soap and water for 15 minutes. Also contact your public health or doctor as soon as possible, or go to the emergency room. For more information on rabies, please visit the BCCDC website.

Bats are often found in close association with humans, as some species (such as the little brown bat) have adapted to live in human structures, and colonies can be found under roofs or sidings, or in attics, barns or other buildings. Female bats congregate in maternity colonies to have a single young in early summer, where they will remain until the young are ready to fly.

Having bats is seen as a benefit by many landowners, who value insect control. Others may prefer to exclude bats. Under the BC Wildlife Act, it is illegal to exterminate or directly harm bats, and exclusion should only be done in the fall and winter after determining that the bats are no longer in building.

If you have bats on your property, the BC Community Bat Project can offer advice and support.

You can keep bats away from your living space by keeping doors and windows closed and making sure window screens don’t have holes in them. If you find a live bat in a room in your home, open the window and close the interior doors until the bat leaves, or follow the steps on batworld.org. Always have your pets vaccinated against rabies.

For more information on safely moving a bat if necessary and to report bat sightings, landowners can visit bcbats.ca or email [email protected], or call 1-855-9BC-BATS ext. 13.

Baby bats, called pups, are born hairless, but quickly develop their fur, begin to fly, and can end up in surprising places. Always wear heavy gloves if you must move a bat on the ground and contact the BC Community Bat Program for advice. (Photo by Okanagan Bat Project)

Researchers need help spotting bats to fight white nose syndrome
The public is encouraged to manage bats wisely in buildings