Bats are great to have in the backyard, but how can you attract them? The easiest way to make bats feel at home is to give them a home to go to - a bat house.
Why Attract Bats
Bats suffer from habitat destruction and loss just as other wildlife does, but they can be very adaptable and will easily fit in urban and suburban areas where bat houses are available. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about bats as disease-ridden, harmful creatures, and many homeowners and gardeners are reluctant to attract bats. In truth, bats are no more harmful than other birds, squirrels and backyard guests, and because they are active at night they rarely disturb humans' outdoor activites. Furthermore, a single bat can eat hundreds or thousands of insects in one night, providing spectacular insect control in their home territory.
A bat house is the easiest way to help a bat colony establish a home territory so you can take advantage of their hearty appetites for insects. Bat houses are thin structures (bats feel more secure in close quarters) that are open at the bottom and coated with a rough surface or mesh inside so the bats can crawl up to roost. Shop Hermitage Agway for your new Bat House.
To make your bat house most attractive to its residents...
- Install the house directly on a building or pole 15-20 feet high where bats can find it more easily, but avoid putting the house in a well-lighted or high traffic area.
- Place the house in a warm, full sun or only partly shaded area. bats prefer high temeratures and a south, east, or southeast facing wall is the best choice.
- Caulk the exterior edges and seams of the house to eliminate drafts that can make it a less desirable residence.
- Place a shallow tray below the house to collect the bat droppings. Bat guano can stain paints or surfaces, but when collected, it can be a great natural fertilizer for flowerbeds or gardens.
- After the bats have migrated for the winter, check the house for damage or cracks and remove any wasp nests so it will be suitable for the bats' spring return.
It may take a few months, even a year, for bats to discover your bat house and take up residence. If there are active bats nearby but they do not find the house, try moving it to a better location and minimizing pesticide use to ensure the bats have a reliable food source in the neighborhood, and soon you'l be one batty landlord.