Most people know about the damage that insecticides do to the birds and the bees. You see commercials on it and posting from bird and bee supporters. But, what about the Bats?
I’m personally fond of the bats. That probably started when I was a kid and fell in love with the Flying Monkeys watching the Wizard of Oz. The closest thing we have to Flying Monkeys in Ontario is the bats, much smaller but the same movement concept. With both having really cool wings.
With Spring arriving, it will be time for the female bat to coming out of hibernation. In the Summer she will have her baby, known as a pup.
The females usually only have one pup, once a year, but occasionally will have twins. When she has her pup, they are very tiny at first but grow very fast. Until the pups can fly and catch bugs, they are depended on their mothers’ milk to survive.
As much as I like bats, I don’t want to share my house with them. There is a way to get them out of your house without leaving the babies to starve to death and yes, rots in your attic.
An animal control professional who knows wildlife can put in one-way doors that allow the bats to leave with their babies and not be able to get back in.
The time to put up those special doors is from May until October when the bats are busy working to clean up the bug population and enhance their own population.
Here are some Bat Facts:
Bats are the only flying mammal.
Bats have live births, just like humans.
Bats don’t like human hair. If they are swarming around your head, it’s because the of the insects around you, and they are trying to catch them.
Less than 1% of all bats have rabies. Considering the population size, that is a low number. If the bat is acting normal, the chances of them having rabies are even less.
In Southern Ontario, we have seven types of bats: The Little Brown Bat and the Big Brown Bat. The Red Bat, the Silver-haired Bat. The Haory Bat, the Eastern Small Foot, and Eastern Pipistrelle. Each of these bats eats its own weight every day in bugs, with the dominate food being mosquitos.
The Bats in Southern Ontario don’t like human or animal blood.
There is a housing shortage for bats in Southern Ontario because of the development and increase of the population. Development is taking over where they once found food, water, and shelter.
The bat population is decreasing because of a White Nose Syndrome which is a fungus disease. This disease causes the bats to wake during winter and comes out of hibernation. They search for food and water which is not available to them, causing them to starve and become dehydrated, which causes death.
The insecticides used for killing bugs is eaten by the mother on the bugs and can kill the mother. It can also kill the babies as it is transported to the babies through the mother’s milk.
Our bat population is the healthiest way to control our mosquito population.
Next time you are sitting outside enjoying the Summer fire-pit and a bat flys by, thank him for making your night more enjoyable, as he is eating the bug that wants to eat you.
You can encourage them to stay around by planting wildflowers to attract insects that are their natural diet. Decrease the use of insecticides and being careful when boating or fishing to keep the water clean. If you want to give them a hand on their development you can put up bat boxes.
A hint about bat boxes. Bats like to be up in the air away from their predictors. They prefer to be at least ten feet up. The boxes attract and hold heat if they are black and should not have gaps that allow cool air or water to get in. And importantly, trees are not a good place to put up bat boxes.
When bat boxes are put up in trees it allows predators to access the babies when mommy is out hunting for food. The branches can also be a problem as they can fly into them doing wing damage.
The best place to put up bat boxes is on a high wall or on a pole.
The steps taken to protect the bat population will also help the bird and bee population, it’s a win-win.