Issue 91 Bring In the Bats!

Rather than spraying chemicals, bats can control insects naturally. One brown bat can eat 3,000 to 7,000 mosquitoes in a single evening. And mosquitoes aren’t the only insect they eat. Attracting bats is a great way to cut down on insects. These winged creatures are declining in numbers in North America because their habitats are being destroyed. Putting up a bat house in your garden might do two things: control your insect population and help save the bats. Bat houses are open at the bottom and have a roof over the top. They’re rough inside so the critters have something to hold onto. Each house has a few narrow compartments, or roosting chambers, inside. These roosting chambers are about 1 inch wide. Bats like it warm, but not too warm. In general, if your summer’s average high temperatures are below 95 degrees, choose a dark-colored paint. And if your summer’s average temperatures are 95 degrees or higher, use a light-colored paint. Mount the house where it will get four hours of morning sun. Since bats tend to hang out near bodies of water, a location within ¼ mile of a stream, pond or river is perfect. But if you don’t live near water, don’t let it discourage you. Hang your bat house (or a couple of them) about 15 feet high in a sunny spot and see what happens. Bats seem to like houses mounted on poles or buildings better than those on trees.