Go To Bat For Your Garden

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Many people put up  birdhouses to attract birds to their yards, so why not put up bat houses to attract bats?

One of the benefits of the bat’s worldwide population is that they consume enormous amounts of insects, greatly minimizing the impact of these pests in gardens and agricultural crops.  It has been said that a fleeting encounter with a bat is one of the most magical and rewarding for a wildlife gardener.

There are over a dozen species of bat in Virginia – even one called Townsend’s big-eared bat.  Unfortunately, it and many other species are becoming endangered throughout North America and the rest of the word due to habitat destruction, mutation and disease.

If you get the heebie jeebies from seeing bats, here are a few fun facts that might lure you into attracting them into your yard:

  • The little brown bat, a common species in Virginia, can eat up to 1000 insects per hour which helps minimize the impact of pests in your garden.
  • Bats are mammals and make up 1/5 of all mammal species worldwide.
  • When bats fly, they navigate by a sophisticated echolation system; they can avoid a single human hair with extreme accuracy, even in total darkness.
  • Bats also use their ecolocation, an ultrasonic sound system, to find their prey – usually insects, and can distinguish between different kinds of insects through this system.
  • Almost 3/4 of the world’s bats are insect eaters consuming both aerial and ground dwelling insects.
  • In the Orient these gentle animals are symbols of good luck, long life and happiness.
  • Bats are meticulous in their grooming, spending a fair part of the day and night combing and grooming their fur.

If you want to provide habitat for bats and reduce insect pest populations in your area, you should install an inviting bat house.  Bat houses are most often utilized when they are installed on a pole at least 12 feet tall or on the side of a building, tree or house, and are within 1/2 mile of a water source.

Information on bat conservation, the importance of bats, and building bat houses can be found at Bat Conservation International.

Bat Houses II               Bat Houses

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