The Peachland bats that call the Historic Primary School home are still stars in the beach side city.
The 1,092 yuma and small brown bats have been roosting in the attic of the 112-year-old Peachland building where the bats hibernate, give birth to their pups and raise them each spring. At night the bats send out a ‘scout bat’ and within 45 minutes the roost start flying out of the dormers to hunt for mosquitoes and other insects before sunrise.
“These bats are so important to our eco-system here,” Joey Byatt, vice president of Bat Education and Ecological Protection Society (BEEPS), said.
Live streams of the attic are shown in the Peachland Visitor Centre, however BEEPS is looking install more cameras this winter to allow a live stream that can be accessed online by all bat lovers.
“We want more cameras in there so we can learn more,” Darlene Hartford, president of BEEPS, said. “The two species up there apparently don’t intermingle, we want to know which species have the larger population, we think it’s the yuma bat but we want to be sure. To be sure we need to do some more recordings through a rooft logger so our biologist can determine which species it is. We will also know if they do interact with one another, how they do it.”
The BEEPS team is keeping a close eye on the bat colony to monitor for white nose syndrome, a deadly fungal infection that is spreading through North American bat populations. Currently, there are no known reports in B.C. but there was a report in Washington State.
“We have sent off guano specimens and bats that have not survived (to the lab) and we have not received the results yet. Our biologist said there is no indication of white nose in the roost right now,” Hartford said.
For those who want to help count the bats and catch a glimpse of them flying out of the dormers, arrive before sunset to join other on-lookers, you can also participate in ‘Bat Chats’ every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for a guided walking tour, or at 2:30 p.m. for an indoor tour.