Bat-friendly landscaping can help bats this Halloween

As Halloween approaches, images of spooky bats are becoming commonplace.

It’s a great time to counter bat myths and do something to help bats by participating in International Bat Week (October 24-31).

Bat Week is all about enjoying these amazing animals and their benefits, including eating insects, pollinating flowers, and spreading seeds and nutrients.

This Bat Week, consider bat-friendly gardening to help bats! Planting native trees, shrubs, or flowers in your garden, as well as light-colored, night-blooming flowers, will support the insects that our BC bats like to eat.

Controlling invasive plant species also helps insects and bats thrive, so consider pulling weeds in your yard, driveway, local park or wetland.

The public can find more information about bat-friendly gardening in the Community Bat Program’s Guide to Bat-Friendly Communities at www.bcbats.ca.

Contact the local bat project to learn more about current activities – [email protected] Follow us on Facebook for a Bat Week quiz.

Why BatWeek?

“Bats in B.C. help control agricultural and forestry pests, as well as mosquitoes in our yards – but now the bats need our help,” says Elodie Kuhnert, Kootenay Regional Coordinator Community Bat Project.

“Providing safe and healthy habitat for bats has always been important, as more than half of the species in this province are considered at risk. With the continued spread of White Nose Syndrome in Washington State, bat conservation is more important than ever, as we expect to see impacts in British Columbia in the near future. ”

BatWeek also marks the time of year when bats disappear from our neighborhoods, until the return of fine weather in the spring. As insectivores, our BC bats must leave their summer roost sites and migrate or hibernate to survive the winter.

This absence means it’s the time of year to do any home renovations you’ve been putting off due to the presence of bats. The public can clean and repair a bat box, or perform bat-friendly exclusion work, without disturbing or injuring bats.

If anyone sees a bat in winter, please report it. Surveillance for white-nose syndrome in British Columbia will continue this winter, with community bat programs requesting reports of dead bats or observations of winter bat activity.

In partnership with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Forest Enhancement Society of BC, Habitat Stewardship Program, Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Lake and Columbia Valley, the BC Community Bat Program provides information and promotes local stewardship and citizen science.

Terri S. Tomasini