We’re all familiar with bat season–the warm spring, summer, and fall months where each twilight, these nocturnal mammals withdraw from their roosts to feed. 

While bats are often feared because of their propensity to be vectors for infectious disease and their staple role in horror films abroad, they also play a large role in ecological preservation. 

Like most things, bats’ reputation often precedes them; however, bats often do more good than harm to their environment. While they may pose some threat to humans, they’re largely responsible for keeping down the populations of several pest insects. 

Serious agricultural and forest pests, including those that harbor diseases, such as mosquitos, moths, beetles, crickets, leafhoppers, and pincher bugs, are all a significant part of the bat diet.

It’s primarily for this reason that bats are heavily protected during their mating and maternity season. Let’s discuss bat season in NEPA and what you need to know. 

When Is NEPA Bat Season?

NEPA bat season runs from April 15th to August 14th, approximately a month after and a month before their regular hibernation. During this time, bats will mate, carry their young (for approximately three months,) give birth, and provide maternal care for an additional two months to build up the baby’s immune system, promoting their survival outside the roost. 

It’s essential to allow bats to procreate and return to their roosts and care for their young, ensuring their survival through the season and their subsequent aid in reducing harmful insect populations.

As a result, bats cannot be legally removed or excluded from their roost when young are present, whether in trees, private residences, or commercial buildings. 

Why are Bats Protected?

First, bats are endangered due to deforestation, pesticide usage, and the rapid increase in white-nose syndrome cases. But, other pests, such as rodents and endangered insects, aren’t protected similarly.  

However, bats perform several important ecological duties, including pest control, fertilization, pollination, and seed dispersal–the most important of which is pest control.

Bats eat a lot of bugs. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. Each night, an individual bat can eat upwards of one hundred insects, including insects harmful to crops, plants, forests, and humans. These insects include:

  • Mosquitos
  • Moths
  • Beetles
  • Crickets
  • Leafhoppers
  • Chinch bugs

Several of these insects are huge pests to our nation’s food supply, while others are notorious vectors for disease. 

While bats don’t intentionally help us out, their ecological benefit is undeniable. 

Recent studies have shown that bats account for nearly 3.7 billion dollars worth of comparable pest control just by eating insects six months out of the year. Additionally, bats save nearly 1 billion dollars in crop damage annually… and they do it for free! 

Bats are also responsible for a significant amount of pollination, fertilization, and seed dispersal, so next time you’re enjoying some corn or fresh fruit, thank a bat! 

Removing Bats from Your Property

All things considered, you probably don’t want bats taking up roost in your attic, chimney, or garage. After all, bats can wreak havoc on your home’s wiring, emit terrible odors, and carry diseases. 

Considering that it’s illegal to exterminate bats in Pennsylvania due to their endangered status and dwindling numbers, you’ll need to work with a pest control expert to help you get rid of existing bat colonies. 

If done on your own, you’ll need to remove the bats when mother bats are no longer rearing young and no more pups are present in your home. If attempted any sooner, bat pups may die due to lack of proper care, and mother bats will likely become more aggressive and destructive as they attempt to return to their roost.

The best way to ensure your home is bat-free is to implement preventative measures. This includes:

  • Inspecting your home for openings (roofs, chimneys, siding, vents, etc.)
  • Sealing any openings
  • Placing LED lights in areas inhabited by bats
  • Placing reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or aluminum foil, in places where bats reside
  • Filling your home with cinnamon or eucalyptus scents

Once bats are removed, you’ll need to disinfect the area and implement preventative measures that ensure bats stay away. 

While bats may be an undesirable and unwelcome guest in your home, we can’t forget their essential ecological role. Pair that with their dwindling numbers, and there’s no question why their protection is integral to our food supplies and health. 

So the next time you notice a scratch in the attic or hear their audible squeaks outside your window, don’t panic and contact a professional. The team at the Pest Rangers will help you safely remove any bats from your home and advise on ways to best keep bats away from your home.

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