Bats have earned themselves a bad reputation over the years, but they’re not the spooky, vampire-in-disguise creatures they’ve been portrayed as. In fact, bats are extremely important for the environment. Group of batts can consume millions of insects in a single- yes, including the pesky mosquito.
Many species are nectar drinking and fruit-eating, making them important pollinators. More than 500 plant species rely on bats for pollination, including bananas, mangoes, and avocados. Fruit-eating bats also help replenish fruit-bearing plants by dispersing seeds.
For an animal that is so important to the environment, more than half of bat species in the US are listed as rare, threatened, or endangered. Meanwhile homeowners in the US spend hundreds of dollars a year on pest control- a service that bats will do for free. A single bat can eat 500-1,000 mosquitos an hour!
While bats may be happy to remove the mosquito populations from your yard, they still require a safe nesting solution. Bats are mammals, the only mammals with the capability of flight. They normally roost in cracks or crevices high up in trees, this helps keep them hidden and safe during the day as they sleep. All bat species sleep upside down. This is because their legs cannot be used for running if they needed to flee a predator. The upside-down sleeping is so that when they drop, they already have momentum, and can take flight easier.
Bat houses are a great way to attract bats to your yard, as well as protect them. Like a birdhouse, bat houses have specific designs and needs.
A successful bat house will need:
7+ hours of direct morning sunlight
To be planted near, but not shaded by trees
To be located within 1/4 miles from fresh water
To be watertight and need to be repainted and resealed every 3 years
Providing a home for wildlife is very enriching for many people. Bats are harmless to humans, as well as being a great source of natural pest control. We hope you enjoy building and watching your bat house.
For information on having your yard become a Certified Natual Habitat, follow the link.