Bat Lover & Pest Controller
Listed Under: News/Blogs
Liz Davies is a Director of Hinton Pest Control Limited, a family-run company situated in the heart of the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire. However, Liz is also a bat lover and has also been involved with bats outside of work. Liz is proud to be the first pest controller to appear in the periodical, Bat News. Here is her interview with The Bat Conservation Trust.
Q When did you first realise you loved bats and what is it about them that hooked you in?
My mother was a biologist and I inherited her love of native wildlife from an early age. My first bat encounter was at about the age of 8 when I found a Pipistrelle bat in a kerbside storm drain near my parents’ house. It was alive but I knew something must be wrong with the bat as it was on the ground in daylight hours. My mother drove me and the bat to a wildlife centre near Cannon Hill Park where it received the specialist care & attention the bat needed.
Q. During work do you often come across people who see bats as pests and how do you handle that?
We get quite a few bat enquiries but they don’t initially present as that, often coming in as rodent enquiries. When one of our team visits a property, we complete an environmental risk assessment from the outset and this is the point where we look for evidence of non-target species such as bats. When bats are present we will discuss the legal status of bats & their roosts so that the client is fully aware of their legislative protection.
People can respond in differing ways. Some people get quite excited about bats and are happy that they don’t have rats or mice. Some people are fearful or anxious about bats because they think that they carry diseases, cause structural damage to property or prevent them from extending their homes. Whatever their reaction is, we find that providing people with information helps and we give them the telephone number for the National Bat Helpline at the Bat Conservation Trust.
Q. What can pest controllers do to help bat conservation and help bats get a more positive image?
Pest control technicians by the very nature of their role, tend to have an affinity with wildlife. There are local county bat groups that people can join, annual memberships for The Bat Conservation Trust or local bat walks. These are great opportunities to learn more about bats, their behaviour and their habitats.
As members of the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) & the National Pest Technicians’ Association (NPTA), it is important for Hinton Pest Control and its technicians to record training events for Continuous Professional Development. The Bat Conservation Trust work closely with the BPCA and the NPTA so that bat awareness training is available to the pest control industry.
Pest control technicians also meet many members of the public who may need further information about bats. This is an ideal opportunity for the pest control industry to help get bats a more positive image to the public. We often refer people directly to the Bat Conservation Trust.
Q. I understand that you are also involved with bats outside of work. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Based in Worcestershire, we have the opportunity to help our local bat cause, Evesham Bat Care. We support their work by donating mealworms and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as disposable protective gloves. Hinton Pest Control Ltd covers Worcestershire, South Warwickshire, Cotswolds and North Gloucestershire and are proud to help Evesham Bat Care with an occasional “free bat taxi service” when their volunteers are unable to get there. If a grounded bat is found and we have a technician in the area; we will collect and deliver them safely to Evesham Bat Care so they can receive specialist care. We also share data with Evesham Bat Care & Worcestershire Wildlife Trust when we identify local roosts in local buildings.
Q. Do you have a favourite bat species? And why?
My favourite native bat is the Brown Long Eared bat. Not only are they beautiful bats, their ears are simply phenomenal! Sadly, due to their feeding behaviour of catching their dinner and settling down somewhere to eat it, they often encounter feline predators. The domestic cat has a lot to answer for with their nocturnal wildlife hunting patterns
Q. Any last thoughts you would like to share?
I am no bat expert but I am fascinated by these nocturnal creatures. I have a basic knowledge about them and see my role in their conservation as “signposting” how to contact the real bat experts. As a pest control technician, I believe part of my role is to support our native bats and protect them & their roosts as UK legislation intended.