How would you feel if you discovered bats nesting in your backyard?
For many people, bats are quite scary and the idea of having them in their yard seems like a nightmare. However, some people will welcome bats and even try to find ways to attract them to their yard.
Believe it or not, having bats so close to home can come with a lot of benefits. Our guide will go over the benefits that come with having bats outside your home, as well as how to attract bats to your yard.
Benefits of Bats in Your Yard
Bats are really beneficial to gardeners and farmers, so if you’re growing anything in your yard, they can be helpful for you too. If the idea of bats in your yard seems spooky to you, maybe hearing about the benefits will change your mind.
Bats Are Good Pest Control
During the day, your yard has a variety of critters that serve as pest control, like birds and wasps. But at night, bats are the best form of pest control you can get. A single bat can eat about 600 insects an hour, which can consist of mosquitos, beetles, moths, flies, wasps, and other pests!
Using bats as pest control is so effective that farmers all over the world do it to save money on insecticides. In the United States, it’s estimated that bats save over $23 billion annually in pest control.
Bat Droppings Make Great Fertilizer
Bat feces, also known as guano, makes a valuable fertilizer for gardens. Guano is full of rich nutrients and can improve the quality of soil to increase water retention.
Bat feces is pretty easy to identify; droppings are similar to those of a mouse but are larger with a crumbly texture. Sometimes guano is also identified by its shiny appearance due to the high quantity of insect exoskeletons in it.
To use bat guano in your garden, you can either drop it right onto the soil or you can mix some with water and use it as liquid fertilizer.
Use caution when you’re working with bat feces because it can carry a fungus that causes histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that usually presents itself mildly but can be severe and fatal for infants and those with compromised immune systems.
Bats Are Pollinators
Bats are very efficient pollinators. Some bats will feed off the nectar in flowers and spread pollen around that way, but most bats will spread pollen just from eating the insects off the flowers.
Bats have an advantage over insects when pollinating because they’re able to travel much faster and further, spreading pollen more efficiently.
How to Attract Bats to Your Yard
Now that you’re familiar with why bats are beneficial to your yard, the next step is attracting them to your home. Not all of these steps are necessary, but they will give you the best chances of luring bats to your yard.
Provide a Bat House
While the other parts of this guide are important, providing a bat house is the most important step to attracting bats to your yard. A bat house is a wooden shelter that will keep bats safe from other predators, such as owls and hawks, while still keeping them near your garden.
You can build your own bat house, or you can buy one. An ideal bat house is made from untreated wood, big enough for multiple bats, and should be a darker color to absorb more heat. You can find a variety of reliable and safe bat houses here on Nature-niche.com.
Once you have a bat house, you’ll want to find the perfect space for it to keep the bats happy and safe. You should avoid placing your bat house in trees because then predators will have access to them.
An ideal location for a bat house would be somewhere that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day, that’s elevated above 10 feet, and that stays dark at night time.
Maintain Your Bat House
Once you’ve provided a nice shelter for bats, you’ll need to maintain it as well. Bats are likely to return to your bat house the next spring if it was a suitable home for them.
Regularly check the house for drafts, overheating, rotting wood, and other damage. If you notice any problems, you’ll want to repair them as soon as the bat house is vacant and safe.
If your bat house has drafts or leaks, you may need to use caulk to seal up any small holes or gaps in the wood. If your wood is overheating, you may need to move it to a more shaded location or paint it a lighter color. If the wood is rotting, you may need to replace the bat house entirely.
Plant Flowers That Bloom at Night
Bats are nocturnal, so having flowers that open up at night are more likely to attract them to your yard. Regardless, if the bats are attracted to the nectar or the insects, a moonlight garden will provide what they need.
Some good examples of flowers that attract bats are:
- Night Blooming Jasmine
- Night Blooming Water Lily
- Evening Primrose
Provide a Water Source
Bats prefer to stick around areas where there’s an accessible water source. If you live close to a body of freshwater, then this won’t be a problem for you.
However, you can still provide a source of water to draw in bats even if you don’t live near any water. Setting up a birdbath or a water fountain can provide safe water for visiting bats. Just be sure to provide a ramp for bats to get out in case they fall into the water.
Watch the Bats and Enjoy the Benefits
Once you’ve provided a bat house and other attractions for bats, it could take about two to three years to see bats. However, once bats have found a welcoming shelter, they’re likely to return for the next spring and summer too.
Bats play a significant role in our environment and can bring benefits to you too if you provide a safe shelter for them. Hopefully, this guide taught you everything you need to know on how to attract bats to your yard.
If you found this article interesting or helpful, be sure to share it on social media. Take a look at some more of our articles to learn about other ways to improve your home and yard too!