Handling roosting bats before you need a permit

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

April 15 marks the start of bat maternity season in Florida and is the last day to legally exclude bats roosting in your home or building, unless you have a permit, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

With plenty of roofs still damaged from Hurricane Ian, bats can easily make themselves at home amongst the damage.

“Bats and many other wildlife species are taking advantage of this. And moving into attics and calling their home, having babies, and increasing their population,” Ned Bruha from The Wildlife Whisperer, said,

Lately, Bruha’s taken more calls to remove bats.

“Not just because the soffits are open and people can’t find people to replace their soffits, but into little tiny nooks and crannies on their roof line, and that leads directly to the attic,” Bruha said.

If you have a colony of bats roosting inside your home or other structures, you can legally use exclusion devices without a permit from August 15 through April 15, which is outside of bat maternity season in Florida. An FWC permit is needed If bat exclusion is necessary outside of those dates. Trying to exclude bats during maternity season could result in trapping bat pups that cannot yet fly, which is not a good outcome for the bats or for building owners.

Bruha shared his thoughts on people trying to remove bats on their own.

“If you go and try to get rid of your bats, those pups are going to stay behind die and stink,” Bruha said.

With hurricane recovery efforts, FWC understands this is a unique situation in Southwest Florida.

An FWC spokesperson said if roosting bats need to be removed during the season, you can apply for a permit with FWC. This will allow them to figure out a way to remove the bats so repairs can continue.

“If you have bats in your attic, you don’t have a bat problem. You have a structure problem,” Bruha said. “What you need to get rid of bats is not some lotion and potion; you need physical repairs done to your structure.”

FWC said the best practice to keep bats from roosting in your home is to deny any potential access points.

Rebuilding efforts in response to Hurricane Ian may present a unique situation during bat maternity season, and FWC staff are prepared to assist customers seeking assistance. If homeowners have questions about bats or potential bat issues, we encourage them to reach out to their FWC Regional Office for more information.

If building owners find bats roosting in a building during maternity season while they are working on repairs, then they should contact us at the closest FWC Regional Office; FWC staff will work with building owners to figure out the best solutions for both people and bats so that those repairs can continue.

Click here for FWC’s FAQ about bats.

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