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How to Help Bats

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bats play vital ecological and economic roles in North America.  Bats are the main predators of night-flying insects, including not only pesky mosquitoes, but also many serious agricultural and forest pests.  The economic value of pest-control services provided by bats in the United States has been estimated at between $3.7 and $57 billion dollars a year!

Bats are also among the most threatened vertebrate groups. Half of BC’s bat species are listed as Species at Risk. Although many species have broad geographical ranges, within their ranges distributions are often patchy, and local populations may be reduced or eliminated as the result of human activity. Many populations are undergoing alarming reductions. With very low reproductive output, typically rearing only one young per year, bats are extremely slow to recover from population declines

Here are some things that you can do to help bats:

  • Participate in the Annual BC Bat Count - HIf you know of a site where bats are roosting in a bat house, attic, barn, roof, tree, or bridge, you can help monitor local bat colonies by counting emerging bats and reporting your findings. Click here to learn how to participate.
  • Build a Bat House - Join our Homes for Bats Program. Build a bat house from one of our kits, or build your own from scratch and we will reimburse you for the cost of materials. For a limited time only, we also have free bat houses to give away.  Click here to learn how to join our Homes for Bats Program.
  • Garden for Bats - To provide a diversity of insect prey for bats to eat, plant a native plant garden that includes a diversity of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees.  Night-flowering blossoms will attract insects like night-flying insects, and trees and shrubs will provide insect food and roosting opportunities for bats.
  • Avoid Pesticides - Chemical pesticides reduce bats' insect prey, kill beneficial insects and can poison bats. Encourage natural predators for natural pest control.
  • Maintain Hollow Trees and Snags - Standing dead trees provide valuable habitat for bats that roost in tree hollows and under peeling bark.
  • Maintain Natural Habitat - Bats require natural habitats such as streams, forests, fields and wetlands to forage and roost.  Support the protection of natural ecosystems in your region to provide habitat for bats and other wildlife.
  • Do Not Disturb Bat Roosts - Bats may abandon roosts, including vital maternity roosts, if disturbed.
  • Do Not Disturb Hibernating Bats - If a bat is disturbed during the winter, it will roose itself from hibernation to face the threat, using up valuable energy reserves and potentially leaving the bat without sufficient fat to survive until spring. 
  • Inform Others - Tell others about the benefits of bats and encourage them to provide habitat and protection.  Help dispell harmful superstitions and myths which make people fear bats.

For much  more information about bats and how you can help them, visit the Bat Conservation International website.

 

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