Warm weather is returning, and so are Delaware’s bats; DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife seeks volunteer bat spotters

Date Posted: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Categories:  Division of Fish and Wildlife DNREC

DOVER (April 19, 2013) – 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. Some eat moths and beetles that damage our crops. “They’re providing us with a valuable and free service, so it’s to our benefit to have them around,” said Wildlife Biologist Holly Niederriter of DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.

A study published in Science magazine’s Policy Forum suggests that bats could be one of the most economically-valuable groups of wildlife to North American farmers, saving farmers at least $3.7 million annually by reducing the amount of pesticides needed.

Even though bats play an important role in our ecosystem, they are often unwanted visitors inside homes, garages and other outbuildings. If you, or a friend or neighbor, has bats roosting in an undesirable location, excluding bats from the building may be warranted.

For a list of permitted nuisance wildlife control operators that can conduct bat exclusions and to review best management practices for excluding bats, as well as more information on the Delaware Bat Program, please visit The Delaware Bat program is also on Facebook at

In the spring, it is crucial that bat exclusions 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.

If you know of non-nuisance bat colonies, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists are seeking volunteer bat spotters to help in locating and counting the state’s 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 our state. The bat program is always 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, please contact Holly Niederriter or Sarah Brownlee-Bouboulis, at 302-735-8674, or by email at

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902 

Vol. 43, No. 160


DNREC Logo The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Want your news hot off the press? Join the DNREC press release email list. Send a blank email to
For more information, contact the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302.739.9902

The Division of Fish & Wildlife conserves and manages the fish and wildlife resources of the state, including restoration of habitats, and provides safe fishing, boating and hunting opportunities. Follow the Division on FaceBook.

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