Bat Protection and Exclusion
Bats Need Protection
South Africa has 56 recorded species of bats of which, 20 species are insectivorous bats and 2 species of fruit-eating bats are listed as Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. Of these 9 are listed as either Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable, meaning that they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.
The survival of bats is threatened because bats have low reproductive rates, populations are very susceptible to elevated mortality or depressed recruitment. There is scientific concern about the conservation status of bats as many species of bats are increasingly affected by multiple actions of humans such as ignorance, suspicion, pesticide poisoning, roost destruction and closure, habitat loss, over-exploitation, and extermination as pests. Avoid disturbance of bats in caves, including the lighting or use of fires in caves.
Some bats have moved into residential areas because human expansion has resulted in loss of habitat, forcing bats to look for alternative roosts in which to live and raise their young.
Dispelling the Myths
An uncontrollable, irrepressible fear of bats may exist, but it is often the result of centuries of prejudice, misinformation and ignorance about bats. Dracula and other horror stories have contributed greatly to these misconceptions causing people to fear them and therefore be unconcerned about their conservation. The incidence of rabies is rare.
South African bats may live in a variety of different places and the choice of roost usually differs with the species. These different roosts can include caves, cracks and crevices in rocks, under loose bark, under overhanging leaves, inside road culverts or hollow tree trunks (especially baobab trees), aardvark burrows, in basements and as many people already know, inside roofs. Only bats associated with human structures or gardens are discussed here. Almost all our insect-eating bats forage at night and seem to be opportunistic in their choice of food, limited only by the size and/or hardness of the bug.
So if do not exterminate bats, how do they remove them?
Through bat exclusion….
do not poison, fumigate or remove bats. Rather, we use a method of exclusion where bats are excluded from the site which is a process of letting them fly out, but not enabling them to move back into the building. It can be a lengthy process often requiring several trips back to the site to ensure proper exclusion of the building. In order to get proper bat exclusion it will be necessary for us to come and do an on-site inspection.
Slimline Bat box
Bat boxes are a great way to provide housing for our winged friends. These boxes are slim and unobtrusive and are installed by against the side of your house.
Boxes come in various sizes and vary from the slim line (home for up to 100 bats), installed against the side of your house, to the bat hotel (home for up to 300 bats), which is generally installed on a gum pole.
How are bats beneficial?
Bats are super little critters and often wrongly vilified: they keep the mosquito population under control and complement your garden wildlife perfectly. They are unobtrusive and not harmful to you or your domestic pets and, contrary to popular belief, have no interest in getting entangled in your hair.
Encouraging bats is also the very best way of getting rid of those pesky mozzies! A single bat house may become home to 100 or so bats, which will consume up to 60,000 insects a night!
Bats are a sort of ‘bug police’: they fly around and catch insects using a process called echolocation to find their insect meals. They make high-pitched sounds that bounce off objects and return to the bat as echoes. Bats in flight can distinguish the difference in sound between a tree, your head, and a mosquito! They reduce pests naturally, reducing the need for pesticide usage and thereby helping to make our water and earth cleaner.
About 70 percent of all bats eat insects: flies, mosquitoes, beetles, and cockroaches. Bats are also responsible for pollinating trees, flowers, and cacti. They spread seeds so plants grow in new areas. Bats pollinate avocados, bananas, breadfruit, dates, figs, mangoes, and peaches. These remarkable mammals live in sophisticated colonies and each can eat half its weight in insects a night, so they are great at controlling large numbers of pests that harm crops and spread disease. Certain microorganisms found in bat droppings may have important medical uses for humans!
Most Common Species found
The data below shows the most common species found in manmade structures and human residences:
Cape Serotine Bat
Yellow house bat
Wahlberg’s Fruit bat
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