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    Cracklin Hank's Avatar
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    Default Why would I want a BatHouse?

    Yeah bats
    Big brown bat photos by Thinkstock

    Mosquito-munching shadows in the night
    Gaze into the evening sky to spot a shadow that looks like a bird but with faster fluttering wings and a more erratic flight pattern. It s our friend, the bat, in hot pursuit of mosquitoes. Florida s 13 native bat species are gluttonous consumers of night-flying insects, including the ever-present, ever-biting mosquitoes. They can eat up to half of their body weight in insects in one night! So this summer as you cook out, enjoy 4th of July fireworks or otherwise engage in nighttime outdoor activities, appreciate our bats. Bats play a key role in natural ecosystems, while helping protect people and animals from mosquito-borne diseases and saving Florida farmers millions of dollars a year in pest control. You may know about white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has killed millions of cave-hibernating bats since 2006 in the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and Canada, but WNS has not yet been detected in Florida. Help our bats by educating folks on their value to nature and our lives!

    Bats: Chiroptera

    Appearance:

    Bats belong to the mammal order Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing." They are the only mammals that can truly fly. Florida has 13 resident bat species . Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind, and many species see quite well. Because they are active at night, bats are adapted for seeing in dim light. Even in complete darkness, bats are agile, highly maneuverable fliers because they use echolocation to guide themselves. Echolocation is the use of sound waves to detect objects. Bats emit high-pitched sounds and listen for them to echo back. The length of time it takes the echo to return tells a bat how far away it is from an object. This helps bats to be very skillful flyers in the dark and to hunt successfully for food. Bats are more comfortable in darkness and often are reluctant to fly in the daytime, even when disturbed.
    The wings of bats are supported by the bones of the arms, as well as bones of the hands and fingers. Some bats have long, narrow wings, while others have shorter, but broader, wings. Wing membranes are very thin, but are living tissue. Wing membranes usually extend down along the bats sides and are connected to their hind legs and at least part of the tail. Bats' feet are small and not very good for crawling, but they are uniquely adapted for grasping structures in a way that allows the bats to hang upside down.
    Most small mammals have short life spans. But bats, for their size, have the longest life spans of any mammal. Some bats can live for more than 30 years.
    Habitat:

    Bats live in many different habitats across Florida. They can be found in dry, upland pine forests, in the hardwood forests along the banks of rivers, and most habitats in-between. You can probably even find them flying around in your neighborhood! For bats, one of the most important parts of their habitat is a place to roost. Some bats, like the Brazilian free-tailed bat, the evening bat, and the big brown bat are colonial, meaning they gather together in a colony to roost during the day. Other species, like the Seminole bat and the tricolored bat, are solitary, meaning that they roost by themselves. In Florida, natural roosting sites can be caves, in cracks, crevices, or hollows of trees, under dead fronds of palm trees, and in Spanish moss. Bats also use manmade structures including buildings, bridges, culverts, tile roofs, and bat houses.
    Behavior:

    Florida's native bats are insectivorous, meaning they eat insects including beetles, mosquitoes, moths, and other agriculture and garden pests. In fact, bats do a great job of helping to control insects because a single bat can eat hundreds of insects in a night!
    In Florida, bats mostly mate in the fall and winter. But female bats usually do not give birth until the spring when insect populations increase. Most female bats give birth to only one baby bat, called a pup, each year. For their size, bats are the slowest reproducing mammals. Bats do not build nests. Pregnant females of some species will gather together in nursery colonies when they are ready to have their pups. They normally give birth from mid-April through July, and their young begin to fly within 3 to 6 weeks. The young bats are usually weaned from their mothers by mid-August, when the juveniles are able to fly and search for food on their own. Bats will not reach reproductive maturity until they are about 1 year old. This is considerably longer than most small mammals.

    Bats and People

    Bats, like many other wildlife species, have lost a great deal of natural habitat to development. And bat populations are declining in size in many areas. One reason for that is the loss of roosting sites such as trees and caves. Some bat species have been able to adapt to the loss of natural roosting sites by roosting in buildings and other man-made structures where they are more likely to become a nuisance for people. Bats of some species will roost together in large colonies, especially females when they form nursery colonies. The possibility of causing disturbance or harm to large numbers of bats that are roosting in buildings means those bat populations can be particularly vulnerable to people s actions. The use of pesticides to control insects may have unseen impacts on bat populations, by taking away the food they eat, or sometimes poisoning the bats themselves if not applied well.
    These unique mammals are of little threat to people. But, because bats often have been sensationalized in the news and horror movies, they create a great deal of anxiety among many people. Fear of rabid bats has caused mass destruction of bat populations for decades even though bats seldom pose public health problems. Rabies, a virus usually transmitted from a bite, affects a very small portion of bats perhaps only one among every few hundred bats across all of the bat populations in Florida. Histoplasmosis, a respiratory illness caused by a fungus, is rare, but is another health concern that people sometimes associate with bats. This fungus is found in soil that is enriched with bat or bird feces. This fungus is sometimes found on chicken farms or in caves. According to the Florida Bat Conservancy, "this illness has been associated with bats in Florida in only a few cases, all of which involved visits to bat caves." Attics and other spaces in buildings are normally dry areas that do not provide the proper conditions for this fungus to survive.
    People should not handle sick, injured, or dead bats. For more information about bats and rabies or histoplasmosis, including what to do if a person makes contact with a bat, contact your county health department, the Florida Department of Health, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    Report sick, unusually behaving or dead bats

    White Nose Syndrome

    White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is named for a white fungus that has been found covering the muzzles and wings of hibernating bats in the eastern part of the United States. More than a million bats with WNS have died, but fortunately no cases of WNS have been found in Florida. WNS is spreading and biologists now know that both bats and people can carry the spores of the fungus between sites. There is no indication that people have been affected by WNS from exposure to the fungus or affected bats.
    Learn more about White Nose Syndrome

    Legal Protection for Bats

    It is illegal to kill bats in Florida in accordance with Florida Administrative Code rule 68A-4.001 General Prohibitions. Since bats are particularly vulnerable to disturbance and harm when they are roosting in buildings and other man-made structures, protections for bats in structures are also included in rule 68A-9.010 Taking Nuisance Wildlife. This rule does not allow the use of pesticides or poisons for the purpose of harming, killing, or deterring bats. There is one legal, registered repellent that can be used for bats: naphthalene (also known as moth balls). Unfortunately, moth balls are rarely effective or practical in repelling bats from a structure. This nuisance wildlife rule also states the minimum requirements that need to be followed if someone is going to remove bats from buildings and other structures.

    When Bats are Living in Buildings and Other Structures

    When bats take up residence in a structure where they are not wanted, the legal, safest, and most effective technique for getting rid of them is a process known as "exclusion." Excluding bats from their roost sites involves the use of a one-way exclusion device that allows them to exit the structure, but prevents them from returning. After the bats are gone, the device is removed and the entrance holes into the building are sealed. Prior to excluding the bats, any other potential openings the bats might use should be sealed, which includes openings as narrow as inch. Bat-proofing for most structures often requires nothing more than simple improvements that make buildings more energy-efficient, such as applying caulking and weather stripping.
    When bats are present in a building, it is a legal requirement in Florida that one-way exclusion devices must be used for four consecutive nights, to ensure that all bats have left before the openings are sealed. There is a further legal requirement that bat exclusions cannot be conducted if the National Weather Service forecasts four consecutive nights in which the minimum temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to keep inactive bats from being trapped inside a structure.
    Another legal requirement in Florida is that bat exclusions cannot be conducted between April 15 and August 15 because that is when young bats are born, and the babies are not able to fly or feed themselves for several weeks. During that time, if the mothers fly out of a building and can't return, they are separated from their flightless young, leaving the young bats trapped in buildings where they will die. No permit is required to exclude bats from a structure between August 15 and April 15.
    The minimum legal requirements apply to bats statewide, but additional precautions are often recommended to help prevent the possibility of having dead bats in buildings. The additional precautions are based on experience showing that because of weather conditions and differences between the north and south part of the state in temperature, species of bats, and bat behavior, the minimum requirements sometimes don t protect all bats.
    We recommend that exclusion devices be left in place at least 5-7 days whenever possible. That is especially important when outside temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, or there is rain. During cold weather, bats often become inactive and may not exit the structure. Rainy weather also can cause bats to be inactive and not emerge. These recommendations will help make sure that all the bats have left before the building is sealed, so that bats don t die in the building, or enter interior rooms, which could cause health concerns for people inside the building.

    Summary Table of Legal and Recommended Exclusion Practices


    Legal Requirement Recommended Safest Practice
    Season Only between August 15 and April 15 Only between August 15 and April 15.
    But, in South Florida, additional caution should be taken because the Florida bonneted bat, is found there. This is a Threatened species and the maternity season for this bat is not well understood. So additional caution should be taken in that area, even in winter months. If young bats are found, they should be reported to FWC.
    Temperature Temperatures above 50F Temperatures above 60F
    Duration 4 nights (all above 50F) 5 to 7 nights, especially if there is rainy weather or the outside temperature drops below 60F. Exclusion devices should stay up until building repairs are started.
    Method One-way physical barrier known as an exclusion device Exclusion devices are safest when monitored regularly and carefully installed following the Exclusion Process guidance below.

    Exclusion Process

    If a bat exclusion is going to be done on a building, it is important to make sure the exclusion is done properly to avoid having bats die inside the building or die as a result of becoming trapped in the exclusion materials. A good first step for an exclusion is to make sure that the bats cannot get from their roost area to rooms inside of the building after the exterior openings are closed off. Then, before doing anything else, watch at dusk to identify the exit areas where the bats leave the building. The next step is to close up all cracks, crevices, or similar openings on the exterior of the building, except the exit areas the bats are using. Use caulking, flashing, or heavy-duty plastic mesh to bat-proof all the openings, away from the exit areas.
    At the bats exit areas, carefully install one-way exclusion devices over each of those remaining openings. Exclusion devices must be installed correctly to be effective at allowing bats to leave, but not re-enter. Once installed, exclusion devices should be checked 1-2 times per day to make sure bats have not become stuck and are able to exit safely.
    One-way exclusion devices can be either curtain-style, constructed from heavy-duty plastic mesh, or tube-style, constructed from flexible plastic tubing. Exclusion tubes should be about 2 inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. The one-way exclusion tubes can be made from flexible PVC pipe or flexible plastic tubing. Empty caulking tubes also can work well but only after the caps and tip have been cut away and the tubes have been thoroughly cleaned. The important detail is that bats must be unable to cling to the smooth inside surface of these tubes.
    If flexible plastic mesh is used to construct a curtain-style exclusion device, the mesh should have openings about 3/16 inch to 1/4 inch in size. Heavier gauge, or heavy duty plastic mesh is usually preferred. The plastic mesh can be used to form a one-way exclusion device over narrow openings in exterior walls, or attic louvers. Securely attach the top of the plastic mesh material above the opening. Then securely attach the sides of the mesh and have it extend 18 to 24 inches below the bottom of the opening. It is important to leave the bottom of the mesh unattached, but hanging loosely against the wall so that bats are able to crawl down and out, but not able to crawl back up under the mesh. It s extremely important to have the sides and top of the mesh securely attached with water-based caulk, or something similar. Small nails or staples can be used in some situations to attach the exclusion device, as long as they can t injure the bats. Duct tape usually is not a good choice because it frequently becomes unattached from the wall. If using caulk, be sure to allow enough time for the caulk to dry before dusk when bats emerge.
    During the exclusion process, some bats may return to their exit areas at dawn, find them blocked, and hang onto netting material or the structure, even in an exposed area. This is not unusual and is not something to be alarmed about.
    Exclusion devices can stay up longer than 7 days, if necessary because repairs can t be completed before dusk or can t be scheduled immediately. It is very important to complete the work needed to repair openings in the structure immediately the same day that the exclusion materials are removed so that bats are prevented from re-entering the structure.
    More details on how to conduct a bat exclusion and the equipment needed to do that are available from Bat Conservation International and the Florida Bat Conservancy . Exclusion devices can sometimes be constructed and installed by someone who has basic handyman skills. However, if you want contact information for experienced companies who can conduct a bat exclusion for you, contact your closest FWC Regional Office.

    How You Can Help Protect Bats


    • Avoid disturbing maternity colonies or entering caves where bats are roosting.
    • Never shoot, poison, or otherwise harm bats.
    • Be cautious when using insecticides.
    • Use caution when trimming trees and Spanish moss to avoid disturbing roosting bats.
    • Do not try to handle bats.
      • In general, you shouldn t try to handle bats without experience or the assistance of a professional.
      • Bats are very delicate creatures and are easily injured if handled.
      • Handling bats increases the chance that you might be bitten.
      • Seek medical help if bitten by a bat.

    • Construct a Bat House
      • Bats are so effective at controlling insects that some people attempt to attract bats with bat houses. You can find information on constructing or purchasing a bat house at Bat Conservation International and Florida Bat Conservancy .
      • Bats are a very important natural resource for Florida because each bat can eat hundreds of insects per night, including mosquitoes and agriculture pests.
      • Bat guano (feces) has been used for centuries as a nutrient rich fertilizer and is still highly prized by gardeners.

    • Support Bat Conservation!
      • There are many bat organizations that need more volunteers and support. Links to some bat conservation organizations are listed below.



    Additional Information:

    If a Bat has Gotten Inside Your House



    Bats that are Found in Florida



    Bat Conservation Organizations



    Health of Bats




    Know your Florida bats: http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/pr...als/land/bats/
    Report sick, unusually behaving or dead bats: www.MyFWC.com/BatMortality

    Why would I want a bat house?
    Bats are the most important controller of night-flying insects, including many agricultural pests. One small bat can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night! Unfortunately, many bat species are disappearing at alarming rates. Disturbance or destruction of roost sites due to development and vandalism constitute the greatest threat to the world s bats. Most bats living in Florida prefer to roost in mature trees, dead trees (snags), or in caves. However, many bats take up residence in buildings, or other manmade structures, due to loss of habitat. Bat houses provide alternative roost sites for Florida's colonial bat species. A bat house in your backyard will offer local bats a much needed place to live. They will also do you a return favor by helping to control the insects in the area. You can also help by supporting conservation organizations that protect natural areas. Protecting natural areas also provides natural habitat for Florida bat species that do not move into bat houses.
    Can I build my own bat house?

    If you would like to build your own bat house, you can obtain plans for a triple chambered bat house by clicking on the attached Bat House Plans. To see photographs of the bat house under construction, click on Construction Photos. To watch Florida Bat Conservancy volunteer, George Fenner, describe how to build a quality bat house, click on http://wildflorida.tv/bats/downloads.html.

    Will bats move into my bat house?

    Bat houses are becoming more successful in Florida. Experience and research are helping us to improve the design and better understand where to locate them. Unfortunately, there is no known way to attract bats to a bat house. The best we can do is use a good design, place it in a good location, and hope the bats will find the bat house, like it, and move in.

    Where should I locate my bat house?
    The species of bats that would most likely move into a bat house are typically colonial bats. These bats would normally roost in old dead trees or caves, but in urban areas they will move into manmade structures. These bats are gregarious by nature and like to squeeze closely together into tight crevices. They prefer their roosting quarters to be warm, safe from predators, and with a small amount of ventilation. Bat house designs attempt to provide these needs, but the bat house itself doesn t attract bats. Bats need to discover it on there own. So, as a bat house owner you want to make your bat house as obvious as possible to bats and attempt to enhance its ability to meet their needs. Here are some suggestions.

    If you have bats in your area, observe their normal flight patterns and locate your bat house where the bats will most likely see it with their eyes, or discover the crevices with their sonar. By the way, larger bat houses seem to have a higher occupancy rate than smaller ones.

    There are typically three alternatives for mounting a bat house: on a post, on the side of a building, or on a tree. For the average home owner, a post is likely the most desirable option. It provides a great deal of flexibility on where the house can be located. The second choice would be the side of a building. The only concern is that droppings may start showing up on the wall of the building and some folks find this objectionable. Bat houses mounted on trees seem to have the lowest occupancy rate of the three choices. If a bat house is located on a tree, it should be oriented in a way that keeps branches from obstructing the entrance, and allows as much sunlight on the bat house as possible.

    Experience indicates that the bat species which will move into bat houses prefer warm roosting sites, so locate your bat house where it will get at least six hours of sunlight. In Florida, this is not as critical as up north, but you should avoid areas that are shaded during much of the day. This may be one of the reasons that houses mounted on live trees do not do as well. Dead trees don t have this problem.

    The bat house should be located at least ten foot above the ground. Bats have moved into lower roosts, but statistics indicate the higher the bat house is mounted, the greater the chance it will become occupied.

    Bat houses located on a dock, or on the edge of a lake, pond, or other open fresh water body are often occupied in a few months. If possible, locate the bat house within a quarter mile of open fresh water. Bats will usually fly to a fresh water lake or pond to drink before they begin to forage. They fly close to the surface and lap up the water as they pass over it. Many home owners don t have control over this factor. If there is water in your area, it is a plus, but the lack of it does not mean you won t get bats in your bat house.

    Be patient. Although we have reports of bats moving into a bat house within a few weeks, it often takes a few years before bats move in.

    Build a backyard bat house: http://www.floridabats.org/BYBH.htm

    #Bat #Mosquito #FWC #Florida

    Big brown bat photos by Thinkstock

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    Got bats?
    Are bats roosting in your attic, eaves or chimney spaces and you are wondering what you can do to encourage them to move elsewhere? Step one: Make sure that anything you do does NOT hurt the bats! It is illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida but they can be encouraged to leave buildings by following legal “exclusion” guidelines that protect bats. Exclusions involve the use of a one-way device that allows bats to exit a building, but prevents them from returning. However, with bat maternity season right around the corner in Florida, exclusions of bat colonies become illegal from April 16-August 14. This prevents young bats that cannot fly from being trapped inside a structure and dying, which is bad for both bats and people. Click on the photos for more information!
    Bat maternity season starts April 15

    Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 03/26/2015 08:35 AM EDT March 26, 2015


    Photos available on FWC’s Flickr site: https://flic.kr/s/aHsjzdzk9A

    Suggested Tweet: Got #bats? You must exclude them before maternity season starts April 15! http://content.govdelivery.com/accou...lletins/fa9235 #Florida @MyFWC

    Bat maternity season starts April 15

    Bat maternity season starts April 15 in Florida, so if you have groups of bats roosting in attic, eve or chimney spaces and you want them to roost elsewhere, now is the time to act. It is illegal to harm or kill bats in Florida, but they can be legally excluded from a building or structure by following recommended and effective practices that protect bats and people. Exclusions of bat colonies must be complete by April 15, when bats begin giving birth to their young.
    Florida is home to 13 resident bat species, including threatened and rare species such as the Florida bonneted bat. Many of those species do not roost in man-made structures. For bats that do roost in structures such as houses and other buildings, guidelines have been developed to more effectively and safely exclude bats when it is not their maternity season in Florida.
    “Maternity season begins when groups of bats gather to give birth and raise their young and lasts until the young bats are able to fly and feed themselves,” said Melissa Tucker, who works in species conservation planning for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “In Florida, this season occurs from mid-April through mid-August for most bat species.”
    Exclusion guidelines on how to remove bats from buildings can be found at MyFWC.com/Bats. Exclusions are illegal during the maternity season, from April 16 through August 14, to prevent young bats that cannot yet fly from being trapped inside structures and dying. Materials and methods used to exclude bats can affect the success of that process. For more information on how to conduct a bat exclusion, watch this YouTube video: . Further details on bat exclusions can be found at Bat Conservation International.
    Bats are beneficial to people and are an important part of the ecosystem. The state’s native bats help keep insect populations under control, with the average bat eating hundreds of insects a night. In addition to the benefit of keeping mosquitoes and other night-flying insects at bay for residents enjoying the outdoors, the dollar value of insect suppression by bats to U.S. agriculture has been estimated to be in the billions.
    There are ways that residents can help bats thrive in Florida:

    • Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities and peeling bark. Dead fronds left on palms can also provide roosting spots for bats.
    • Put up a bat house.
    • Report unusual bat behavior to: MyFWC.com/BatMortality

    For more information on Florida’s bats, go to MyFWC.com/Wildlife, click on “Species Profiles” and look under “Mammals.”
    Contact your closest FWC Regional Office to speak with a regional Wildlife Assistance Biologist for more information.
    LT/KO/TD/MT/DH/HSC
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    there is no proof whatsoever that the first word of it is truthful. Not one "fact" is has been corroborated

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    I have 'bat poles'. I watch them come out every night.

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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    I like bats, just appreciate them not living in my attic.

  5. #5
    Catchdog
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    Bats can cause quite a disturbance. Some DIY tips like removing all the outside water sources and outdoor lighting, closing up all entry and exit points that bats can use can be implemented. But if you suspect you might have a bat infestation somewhere in or around your home, calling for an exterminator NJ professional help is the best solution.

  6. #6
    Cracklin
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    I've had a bat �� in my house before and I can tell you it causes quite a stir.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    I think calling an exterminator and removing outside water sources is a pretty stupid response to a beneficial animal. One should embrace symbiotic relationships with wildlife. Rather than fight the bats head on, manipulate them to use housing that suits your needs to control any potential nuisance.
    there is no proof whatsoever that the first word of it is truthful. Not one "fact" is has been corroborated
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    Default Re: Why would I want a BatHouse?

    I certainly am not willing to share my dwelling with bats; but, I like the idea of them being nearby...they help to control mosquitoes which benefits humans without poisoning the air around our homes.
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