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People with bats living in their homes should address the issue sooner rather than later

The Bracken Bat Cave outside San Antonio is home to millions of bats. Here, a few of them emerge from the colony in 2011.
Eric Gay
The Bracken Bat Cave outside San Antonio is home to millions of bats. Here, a few of them emerge from the colony in 2011.

Do you have bats in your belfry? Biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are asking people that think they have bats living in their homes to relocate them responsibly before they start having babies around May 1.

Bat scat, called guano, is the most obvious indication that bats may be living in the gable vents, behind a shutter or in another nook around the outside or inside your home.

Bats hibernate or migrate south during the winter, which is why biologists say people may only start to see them now.

They provide free pest control as they nearly devour their own body weight in insects nightly, and wildlife agents say their appetite increases even more during pup-rearing season, which runs May 1 – July 31 across North Carolina.

If a homeowner is unable to remove bats from the house before rearing season, it is best to leave them in their roost until the end of July.

“Eviction methods rely on a bat’s ability to fly out of the roost, then measures are taken to prevent reentry. Young bats are initially flightless and are totally dependent on their mothers, so when adult bats are evicted, the young perish because they can’t yet leave the roost or survive on their own. To make matters worse, mother bats may end up in the living space of a building trying to seek alternate ways to get to their pups. By August 1, young bats are mature enough to fly, so eviction methods are safe to resume at that point,” said Katherine Etchison, wildlife diversity biologist with the Wildlife Commission.

If they’re getting inside, a licensed Wildlife Control Agent can safely evict them for you. You can find a list of licensed professionals on the Wildlife Commission’s website HERE.

If a bat does get into the house and human exposure occurs, or might have occurred, biologists say the county health department should be contacted immediately.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.