The onset of fall sends Vermont’s bats into motion, which makes it an important time for conservation-minded Vermonters to learn about, and help conserve, our nine native bat species.
If you have noticed bats roosting in your attic, barn, or office over the summer, fall is the perfect time to safely evict these uninvited guests from your property. This is because summer groups of bats that roost in buildings begin to scatter in the fall, in preparation for migration or hibernation. You can learn how to safely evict bats from your building at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. best management practices page.
You can also help bat conservation efforts by reporting large colonies of bats living in structures to the department’s website. Locations with rare colonies of one of our endangered species, the little brown bat, are eligible for free bat houses from Vermont Fish & Wildlife.
Bat houses provide an alternative location for safely evicted bats to remain in your yard and continue eating huge quantities of insects that may be forest, agricultural, or human pests. Bat houses can be put up any time of year but do require some simple maintenance. Late fall or winter is the time to look up inside your bat house and make sure all the bats have left before cleaning out any abandoned wasp nests and planning any needed caulking or repainting.
“Fall also means Halloween, and scary images of bats, but this presents an opportunity to bring positive attention to bats as well,” said Vermont Fish & Wildlife small mammals biologist Alyssa Bennett. “So, we celebrate ‘Bat Week’ in the days leading up to Halloween.” Bat Week takes place Oct. 24-31 and aims to raise awareness about the vital ecological function of bats and to dispel the many myths and misinformation about them.
“Vermont is home to several species of threatened and endangered bats that we are working to conserve and recover — we hope Vermonters will support these efforts and come to enjoy seeing bats in their natural environment,” added Bennet. “Bats are a very important part of our natural world and now, more than ever, they need our help.”
This year, Bennett will be giving a public talk about Vermont’s nine native bat species at the Intervale Center in Burlington. You can register for the talk on the department’s events page. Anyone interested in learning more can visit the official Bat Week website at BatWeek.org, or email Alyssa.Bennett@vermont.gov for more information about what they can do right here in Vermont to promote bat conservation.