TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A bat isn’t something you would expect to find in your home, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding people to check their homes and other buildings as their maternity season starts.

What You Need To Know

Florida has 13 native bat species, which typically roost in trees, caves or other natural spaces. However, according to FWC, they are sometimes attracted to human-made structures.

Bat maternity season, which is the time when bats give birth and raise their young, will start April 15, which is the last day to legally exclude bats from your home or building. The season will run through Aug. 14.

During bat maternity season, it is illegal to block bats from their roosts. If bats are excluded during maternity season, flightless young can be trapped inside the structure and die.

Therefore, FWC says now is the time to check your home for any entry points, ensure that no bats are present and make any necessary repairs. If you find any bats, you should take steps now to exclude them before bat maternity season begins.

The only legal and most effective method to remove bats from your home or building is with exclusion devices, which allow bats to safely exit a structure but block them from returning to roosts. It is only legal to use exclusion devices from Aug. 15 through April 15.

It is illegal in Florida to kill or harm bats, so exclusion guidelines were developed to ensure bats are excluded safely and effectively from buildings outside of maternity season. Visit the FWC website for more information about this process here.

Bats are ecologically and economically beneficial. According to FWC, they serve critical functions worldwide due to their roles in insect pest control and as pollinators and seed dispersers, and their guano can be a valuable fertilizer. Florida’s bats are insectivores and a single bat can eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes and other garden and agricultural pests, each night.

FWC recommends Florida residents and visitors can help bats with the following measures: