They’re coming: Bat invasion pushes numbers to 650k

SOUTHEAST Queensland is bracing for a bat invasion, with hundreds of thousands already plaguing areas around Brisbane, while another massive influx could be on its way.

The little red flying foxes are on the hunt for food with recent rain making the southeast an ideal roosting area.

In the Moreton Bay region north of Brisbane last week, 250,000 bats were seen at Deception Bay and 150,000 at Bongaree.

The Department of Environment and Science, which is monitoring the large populations, will today urge residents to be patient as they move from camp to camp.

The department estimates up to 250,000 may be flying both south and north to converge on the southeast, escaping areas ravaged by bushfires and drought.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services program manager Warren Christensen said the bats moved around frequently and were no strangers to Queensland.

"They basically follow the flowering of plants; if the plants are flowering, that's where they'll go," he said.

"They travel vast distances, these could be coming from the west, they could be coming from the south."

Bats have plagued north Queensland communities for years, including Charters Towers, Mount Isa and Townsville.

Just last week, the tick-ridden animals were one of the reasons why a helicopter could not land at the Ingham Hospital, sparking outrage from local political leaders and residents.

Mr Christensen said sometimes bats roosted across the southeast every year, then there might be a lull for two years.

Flying foxes, especially little reds, are highly mobile and can depart known roost sites frequently, sometimes returning within a short time, sometimes years later and sometimes not at all.

While bats may carry bacteria and viruses which can be harmful, the risk of infection is low.

Local councils have an as-of-right authority to manage flying-fox roosts in Urban Flying-Fox Management Areas, with management activities limited to nonlethal methods.

People should contact DES on 1300 130 372 or their local council to report flying-fox camps.

Flying foxes are protected animals under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.