My Newest Venture: BATS
I went to a bat talk last week, given by Bats Northwest member Barbara Ogaard, and now I REALLY want bats in my garden. I even got a bat house.
Some local bats I can attract are hoary bats, yuma myotis, keen’s myotis, big brown bat, silver-haired bat, little brown bat, california myotis and long-eared myotis. These guys will range from 2-4 inches long with a 9-16 inch wingspan. They’re teeny tiny.
I learned a lot about bats during the talk. Here’s an overview:
- Bats consume half their body weight in insects each night
- In the rainforest they pollinate – ensuring we can eat bananas, cashews, dates & figs
- They are the only flying mammal!
- Some bats can live up to 30 years!
- They hibernate every winter and emerge in the spring
- AND…because people are afraid of bats, they’re in danger and need our help
I also wanted bats because of the guano — a great fertilizer. Why wouldn’t you want to attract something that eats harmful insects and fertilizes the garden? They sound almost as beneficial as my chickens!
How are bats good for my garden? Our bats eat many insects that normally feed on plants such as moths, flies and beetles. Additionally, their droppings, or “guano” is one of the world’s best fertilizers. Bats are part of a healthy ecosystem. – Bats Northwest
All I need to mount my bat house is a 14′ 4×4 post and some cement – so it should be about 15′ up. It was recommended that I put my bat house in full sun (it’s probably different in other parts of the US/world) and away from predator hangouts. To attract bats it’s recommended that I plant sweet-smelling and night-blooming plants such as phlox, stock, flowering tobacco and/or spearmint.
I plan on putting my bat house in the left corner of my front garden where the bird bath is sitting – right in the middle of my phlox patch! I need to get it up soon since the male bats will get kicked out of the maternity colony soon and need a bachelor pad.
For more information on bats, you can check out the Bats NW FAQ page or search for an organization near you dedicated to protecting bats and educating humans. I got most of my information for this post from the talk I attended and the fliers created by Bats Northwest.
Oh, and in case you’re worried about rabies, there’s a lot of information online and it’s not as bad as you may think. I’ll make sure my pets are current with their vaccinations and I’ll simply avoid touching the bats — because they are wild animals!