Throughout Massachusetts there are nine species of bats, five of which are considered endangered. Currently, one of the greatest threats to bats is White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has caused devastating mortality of bats that spend their winters hibernating in caves and mines. Bat houses provide clean homes for bats that are free of white-nose syndrome.
Last year, MassWildlife launched a new effort to construct and install bat houses to raise awareness about the important role bats play in our environment and get more bat houses out on the landscape. Artificial roost sites (like bat houses) are tools for mitigation, conservation, and habitat enhancements for sensitive bat species. Properly constructed and strategically placed bat houses can be an important tool in assisting bat survival. So far, MassWildlife has installed 30 bat houses on MassWildlife Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and private lands, with more planned to be installed later this year.
- Build a bat house: One of the best ways you can support bat conservation is to put up an artificial roost, like a bat house. Bat houses give females a safe, warm place to raise their young. Since most female bats only have one pup each year, bat populations grow very slowly. Additionally, due to habitat loss and degradation, it is becoming harder for bats to locate natural roost sites to raise their young. Installing a bat house on your property can provide a safe environment for bats, while protecting your yard from pest insects, like mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. Bat houses can be purchased or you can build your own.To find a guide to bat houses on MassWildlife’s website, including plans for building a bat house, installation tips, and advice for attracting bats to your bat house, visit www.mass.gov/guides/bat-houses
Become a volunteer bat monitor: MassWildlife is looking for volunteers to help monitor its newly installed bat houses on Wildlife Management Areas. No special bat experience required. Monitors will be asked to visit the site of their assigned bat house at least once a month during June, July, and August, and report to MassWildlife if bats are present. Volunteers must have their own transportation to the site and be able to navigate using a set of GPS coordinates. Prospective volunteers should visit: form.jotform.com to fill out an application form no later than May 21. MassWildlife will contact you with details if a bat house is in need of a monitor in your area.