Although bats can be quite the nuisance to residential and commercial properties, especially if they get inside, there are times when you might benefit from having them around. Bats are a highly important part of our surrounding eco-system. They serve a vital ecological importance that should be respected and appreciated. For some, having bats nearby is a huge advantage.
Continue reading to learn why bats are so vital to our lands, and some tips on putting up bat houses to attract them to your property.
Bats and the Eco-System
Bats are not solitary mammals; they live their lives in large colonies. As insectivores, bats consume gnats, flies, mosquitos, moths, and more. In just one night, a single bat can consume more than 1,000 insects. Now multiply this by the number of bats in a colony, and you have yourself a natural, cost-free insect control system at your service!
So how does this influence the eco-system?
Well, not only do we get to enjoy pest-free outdoor activities, crops and lands are more protected from pesky insect damage, which helps farmers make more money, which also positively affects the local economies. In addition, insect control at these levels helps to reduce the spread of communicable livestock diseases that are often transmitted through insect and tick bites. And let’s not forget the bat droppings! Bats help fertilize and pollinate our lands as well, which makes our eco-system stronger and healthier.
What You Need to Know About Bat Houses
If your home or property is located on a large piece of land, perhaps near a body of water, you likely have the perfect place to put up a bat house. Not all properties are well-suited for bat activity, so it is important that you follow the recommended tips below in order to prevent costly bat intrusions or risky encounters.
Bat House Tips:
Choose (or construct) a bat house that is a total of 24 inches in height, and contains 2 to 4 chambers. The chambers should be at least 20 inches tall, 14 inches in width, and 1 inch deep, for optimal comfort. It should also have horizontal grooves about a half an inch apart on the inside. Bat houses should also have a landing plate with grooves, shingled roof, and an open bottom. Do not get overwhelmed with these features; you can buy a bat house that meets these standards.
As for choosing a place to hang your bat house, if the bat house is too close to areas where people are known to convene, it poses a risk of dangerous bat encounters or destructive infestations. So to be safe, aim for an area on the edge of your premises that faces north or south, preferably near a body of water, like a stream, creek, or river bank. Be sure the spot you choose gets at least 7 morning hours of sun. Mount them on something sturdy, like a large tree trunk. Do not mount the house directly to the surface; instead, be sure to use a spacer (2 to 4 inches) and a long backboard.
If you want to collect bat guano for fertilizing your garden, add a collection tray beneath the house. Before each winter, you must check the bat house for wasp or mud dauber nests, and clear them out as needed. And every few years, it will need a new coat of paint or stain.