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How to Help Bats in Massachusetts

There is nine species of bats found in Massachusetts, five of them are listed as endangered. One of the biggest threats to bats is white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects bats that spend the winter hibernating in caves and mines. Artificial bat houses provide clean homes for bats that do not have white nose syndrome.

Since 2020, MassWildlife has been working with partners and volunteers to build, install, and monitor bat houses in Wildlife Management Areas and other locations in Massachusetts. This effort provides a safe resting place for bats and raises awareness of the important role bats play in our environment. Properly constructed and strategically located bat houses can be an important tool in aiding bat survival.

With the support of MassDOT, scout troops, and individual volunteers, the bat house project is off to a great start and is showing promising results. Some of the houses have been occupied by bats and people are learning more about bat conservation. You can help the program continue to grow and support our native bats!

How to help:

  • Build a bat house: One of the best ways you can support bat conservation is to install an artificial refuge, such as a bat house. Bat houses provide female bats with a safe and warm place to raise their young. Since most female bats only have one young each year, bat populations grow very slowly. Additionally, due to habitat loss and degradation, it is increasingly difficult for bats to locate natural roosting sites to raise their young. Installing a bat house on your property can provide a safe environment for bats, while also protecting your yard from insect pests such as mosquitoes, moths, and beetles. Bat houses can be purchased or you can build your own. you can find aguide to bat houses on the MassWildlife websitewhich includes plans for building a bat house, setup tips, and tips for attracting bats to your bat house.
  • Become a Volunteer Bat Monitor: MassWildlife is looking for volunteers to help monitor the bat house in the following communities: Belchertown, East Sandwich, Falmouth, Goshen, Middlefield, Montague, New Braintree, Richmond. No special bat experience required! Monitors will be asked to visit their assigned bat house site at least once a month during June, July, and August, and to inform 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. If you’re interested, please click here to complete an application form (the deadline is June 9).
  • Report bat colonies: If you see a group of bats (10 or more) this summer, please report it to MassWildlife using this form.
  • Create a habitat for bats: Bats seek refuge under the peeling bark of dead trees. If you have dead or dying trees on your property, leave them standing as possible roosting sites for bats. You can also create a bat-friendly landscape in your backyard by adding night-scented flowers and water features like a pond.
  • Reduce the use of pesticides: Pesticides make it difficult for bats to find healthy food to eat. Insecticides can cause bats to starve due to a lack of available insects.

For more information on white-nose syndrome and other threats to bats, see the MassWildlife webpage at bat mortality in Massachusetts.