PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Fall is a time for pumpkin spice, costumes, decorative gourds, and facing down the bats that have invaded your home.

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wrote in a Thursday news release that now “is the right time to exclude bats from your home or other structures.”

Apparently, state regulations prevent excluding bats “during bat maternity season, which runs from April 15 – Aug.15.”

The agency added that exclusion devices that allow bats to safely exit a structure without reentry are the only legal method to remove bats from a home or building.

“It is illegal in Florida to kill or harm bats,” the FWC wrote.

Most Florida bats roost in trees, caves (presumably bat caves), and other “natural spaces,” the FWC said. But they also like modern living and “human-made structures.”

“Waiting until fall to exclude bats protects Florida’s beneficial bat populations by keeping them undisturbed while they give birth and raise their young, called pups. Bat exclusion is a multistep technique where all potential bat entry and exit points in a building are identified,” the agency added. “To legally exclude bats, exclusion devices must be left up for a minimum of four nights and the low temperature must be forecasted to remain above 50 degrees during that time.”

While humans might be wary of bats they provide an important benefit to bug-filled Florida.

The 13 native bat species in the Sunshine State “are both ecologically and economically beneficial,” the agency wrote. “All of the state’s bats are insectivores, with a single bat capable of eating hundreds of insects, such as mosquitoes or garden pests, in a single night. Bats’ worldwide impact is felt in their capacity as pollinators, seed dispersers, and fertilizers.”

The agency also suggested several other ways the public can help assist the bat population.

They are:

  • Preserve natural roost sites, including trees with cavities or peeling bark.
  • Leave dead palm fronds and Spanish moss, which can provide roosting spots for bats.
  • Install a bat house on your property.
  • Report unusual bat behavior, as well as sick or dead bats: