Bats

Have you noticed lately that you see, hear, and provide blood donations to mosquitos more frequently than you remember in the past ? One of the reasons for the increase in the mosquito population is the decrease in our bat population. By providing safe living quarters for bats you attract these beneficial mammals to your garden.

Contrary to popular belief, bats are neither aggressive nor dangerous but actually shy and gentle.

Pesticides mostly kill the mosquito's predators rather than the mosquitoes.

 

REASONS FOR DECLINE

The decimation of suitable living space certainly has an impact on the bat population. Whether human action has an impact is still being discussed among researchers. Disease is to blame for much of the decline in the Eastern United States, and white nose disease, so named because a fungal affliction actually makes the bats' noses appear white, is one of the strongest bat killers we have seen. One affected bat can infect an entire colony. American bats prefer staying close together in large groups of hundreds and, reportedly, even thousands of bats during their dormant winter period. Affected bats wake up every few days and exhibit "strange" behavior such as flying at times when bats normally wait out the cold winter months. If you spot unusual behavior like that, call the Game Commission, or the Fish and Wildlife authority in your state and report your observations.

 

BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY BAT POPULATION

 

PREFERRED ACCOMMODATIONS

Bats like tight and warm spaces. They like it to be 80 to 100 degrees in July when they have their young with them.

A body of water should be relatively close-by.

 

GENERAL TIPS ON BUILDING A BAT HOUSE

Erecting a bat house provides bats with roosting or nursery space and helps keep them out of eaves and attics.

Many smaller bat houses accommodate small groups of male bats while bigger bat houses accommodate large nursing colonies of females and their young.

The bat house should be placed in the sun around 12 to 15 feet off the ground to prevent predators from catching them and to allow them to easily fly in and out.

Mount bat houses on the sides of barns or buildings facing a southerly direction. Two houses mounted back to back (the desired configuration) should face NW and SE. Do not face a lone bat house directly North.

Bats are less attracted to bat houses mounted on trees because bat houses mounted on buildings retain heat better and are less accessible to predators.

Use water based paints to keep down paint odor that might repel bats.

Many detailed building instructions are available on the internet.

 

PICTURE IDENTIFICATION

The bat in the picture on the right was photographed hanging from a poorly lit section of the ceiling of a natural cave in Virginia, USA. Several others hung in clusters nearby but this one, possibly a male, hung separately. The brightness of the picture was articifially enhanced to improve the visibility of the creature.