With Halloween fast approaching, it’s bat season – but not only the spooky ones common to the holiday.
The Community Bat Programs of BC are using the festive Halloween season to “counter bat myths” and promote International Bat Week, Oct. 24-31.
“Bat Week is all about appreciating these amazing animals and their benefits, including eating insects, pollinating flowers, and spreading seeds and nutrients,” a news release from the community bat program reads.
The B.C. organization is encouraging Lower Mainland residents to “consider bat-friendly gardening” by planting native trees, shrubs or flowers in their backyards, as well as light-coloured and night-blooming flowers, which support insects that bats like to eat.
Promoting the growth of bat-friendly environments is especially important for the long-term health and viability of bats, both because their usual environments are being encroached upon and due to the spread of white-nose syndrome, which is a disease that kills bats.
“Bats need our help,” said Danielle Dagenais, regional co-ordinator for the Metro Vancouver-Squamish Community Bat Project.
“Providing safe and healthy habitat for bats has always been important, since over half the species in this province are considered at risk. With the continuing spread of White-nose Syndrome in Washington State, bat conservation is more important than ever as we expect to see impacts in BC in the near future.”
Bat Week, the program notes, also coincides with when bats start to disappear from neighbourhoods for the winter; they’ll return in the spring, when the bug population has grown again.
“This absence means that this is the time of year to do home renovations that you have delayed due to bat presence. You can clean out and repair a bat box, or do bat-friendly exclusion work, without disturbing or injuring bats,” the release reads.
Anyone who sees a bat during the winter months is asked to report it to email@example.com. Dead bats during winter are often a sign of white-nose syndrome.