The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is reminding residents that, as warm weather returns, so does the state’s bat population.
Delaware is home to eight species of bats, several of which have begun their annual move from winter hibernation sites to summer maternity colonies. Female bats return pregnant to the colonies where they congregate to give birth and raise their pups. In Delaware, these colonies can often take up residence in barns, garages, attics, and homes.
In Delaware, bats feed at night on insects, many of which are pest species like mosquitoes and some moths and beetles that damage crops.
Even though bats play an important role in the state’s ecosystem, they are often unwanted visitors and may warrant a bat exclusion conducted by a permitted nuisance wildlife control operator. For a list of operators and to review best management practices for excluding bats, visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats.
Bat exclusions must be completed before May 15, when female bats typically settle into their colony sites and begin giving birth. If done after that date, flightless young may be trapped inside buildings and permanently separated from their mothers, without whom they cannot survive.
DNREC is seeking volunteer bat spotters to help in locating and counting the state’s non-nuisance bat colonies. The Delaware Bat Count is a statewide research study of bat populations, breeding activity and the overall health of the bats that inhabit the state. The program is also looking for reports of new bat colonies.
To report a bat colony, or for more information on volunteering as a bat spotter, or on bat exclusions, contact Holly Niederriter or Sarah Brownlee-Bouboulis at (302) 735-8674 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.