Do you want to learn how to attract bats?
Well, you have come to the right place!
Attracting bats and creating a bat-friendly habitat is not only easy but can be a great deal of fun.
Today, you are going to learn 7 different ways you can encourage these small mammals to visit or roost in your backyard.
Many people wonder WHY they should attract bats to their backyard in the first place. Trust me; there are plenty of benefits to having these flying creatures around.
- *Make sure to head to the bottom of this post if you want to learn SIX reasons WHY you should attract bats! Or click HERE.
#1. Put up a Bat House.
In the wild, bats make their home in rock crevices, caves, abandoned buildings, and hollowed out trees. Unfortunately, the destruction of their natural habitat has left bats with fewer places in which to live.
Putting up a bat house solves their housing dilemma. It provides bats with a safe shelter, and as a bonus, they will not be tempted to take up residence in your chimney or attic.
If you want to attract more bats, putting up a bat house is one of the BEST things you can do!
Where can you get a bat house?
There are two ways to obtain a bat house.
First, you can buy one.
There are many options available online. Here are two high-quality bat houses you can buy on Amazon that get excellent reviews.
(The links below take you to Amazon to view today’s prices.)
Second, you can build a bat house!
Making a bat shelter is a fun DIY project.
The internet is littered with dozens and dozens of bat house plans and instructions. To get you started, here is a video that shows you exactly what to do!
What are some key elements of an ideal bat house?
For starters, the houses that attract bats best are typically at least two feet tall and fourteen inches wide. Inside, try to make the chambers a minimum of twenty inches tall. On the outside, you should include a landing area around three to six inches below the entrance to your bat house.
Bats have trouble landing or climbing on slick surfaces. To make your house attractive to bats, you will need to cut roosting grooves on the sides and floor. Roosting grooves are essentially lines cut into the wood that form a makeshift ladder. Rather than cutting grooves, some builders will place a mesh fabric over the interior surface instead, as you can see in the video above.
Treated lumber contains chemicals that can be harmful to bats. As such, cedarwood is recommended because it is naturally resistant to insects. A cedar bat house should be able to withstand the elements and remain sturdy for years to come.
There is a lot more to know about bat houses!
To learn more, I wrote a detailed article all about bat houses. It answers many questions, such as where to install a bat house and if you should paint it.
- Read now! – Bat Houses 101 (Coming soon!)
#2. Don’t destroy existing roosting spots.
As you probably know, bats are only active at night. During the day, these flying mammals rely upon roosting locations to keep them safe and hidden from predators. Bats do everything in their roosting spots, from raising their young to hibernating.
But unfortunately, many of the places that bats like to roost are considered “eye sores” and seen as undesirable in most people’s backyards.
For example, hollow trees make excellent roosting spots because bats can retreat inside them during the day. The problem is that most trees that become hollow are dead, rotting, and don’t look “nice,” so they get chopped down quickly.
So if you have an old, rotting tree in your yard, do not cut it down!
It may attract bats, especially if it’s an ash, oak, or beech tree. Please use common sense when deciding which trees to keep or remove. If you have a large, rotting tree next to your house and there’s a possibility it will hit your home when it falls, you need to cut this tree down for safety reasons!
Lastly, you might have an old, abandoned building or barn on your property that you have thought about tearing down. If so, you may want to leave it for bats to roost inside!
#3. Grow Native Plants to Attract More Insects.
Most species of bats LOVE eating insects. I mean, they can’t seem to get enough. For example, it’s been estimated that certain bats consume upwards of 6,000 bugs EVERY night.
So if you want to attract bats, you need to make sure they have enough insects to eat.
The best way to attract insects to your yard is to plant NATIVE trees, shrubs, and flowers! Native plants do the best job at drawing in bugs for bats to eat. That pretty exotic bush from China at your local garden center might look great, but insects from North America will probably leave it alone.
Leave part of your yard unmown if possible. This area will give insects a place in which to thrive, which in turn will attract more bats.
Planting a garden can encourage bats to visit too. They like feasting on pests such as cutworm moths, potato beetles, and spotted cucumber beetles. Make your garden a bat-friendly place, and you might enjoy better crops because of it.
#4. Avoid Pesticides.
Pesticides and insecticides are designed to kill insects.
Bats eat insects.
I hope you can see the problem!
Using chemicals to kill bugs means that bats won’t have anything to eat.
And even worse, some insects will inevitably survive pesticides. When bats eat these individuals, they are potentially consuming harmful poisons. It’s also likely that chemical residue will enter the water supply, causing other unknown problems.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t use pesticides. And hopefully, you won’t even need them, because if you are successful in attracting bats to your yard, they will serve as a natural pesticide!
#5. Offer a Water Source.
Like all living creatures, bats need a source of fresh water. Bats will typically hang around only if there is a water source within ¼ mile.
They prefer lakes, streams, and rivers. But you can still attract them even if you do not live near one of these natural water sources.
A garden pond, waterfall, or birdbath will provide bats ample water, and should also attract birds and butterflies.
- RELATED: How to Attract Butterflies: 17 Tips!
#6. Leave the Lights On.
Bats are nocturnal creatures that only come out at night.
So why would you leave the light on for them?
Simple. Porch lights attract insects, which in turn attract bats. Encourage more insects to visit your yard, especially at night, and the bats will follow.
#7. Join Bat Conservation International
The Mission of Bat Conservation International (BCI) is to “conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet.” Joining this non-profit group will allow you to connect with others who are interested in helping bats thrive.
Annual membership is not that expensive, and the money goes toward a good cause!
Why Should I Attract Bats?
Now that you know how to attract bats, perhaps we should talk about why.
You need to know there is absolutely no reason to be afraid of these winged creatures. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to encourage their presence.
Why is it a good idea to have bats around?
Here are just a few reasons.
Reason #1: Bats Provide Exceptional Pest Control
The average adult bat can eat its body weight in insects each night. In just one hour, they can consume as many as 1,200 mosquito sized bugs.
Bats use their echolocation abilities to find prey. Once they have been located, insects are virtually no match for the clever bats, who can scoop them up with their wings or tail.
Bats are far more effective when it comes to reducing insects than many modern pest control methods. At the same time, they can be much safer because they help you eliminate the use of chemicals.
It seems that many insects have a sixth sense that tells them when bats are in the neighborhood. As a result, many of them will become fearful and scatter. It’s just another way that bats help you with insect control.
Reason #2: Bats Help Farmers
Many bat species enjoy dining on nectar from flowers. So they are responsible for pollinating various crops, just like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Do you enjoy bananas, guavas, or mangos? The next time you savor one of these fruits, remember that bats probably pollinated them.
Bats do more than just pollinate crops, though. Remember how we talked about them being great at pest control? Well, many of the insects they eat are harmful to plants. So having bats around keeps crops safe and helps farmers avoid using pesticides that would harm the environment.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that bats save the agricultural industry between $3.7 and $53 billion each year in the way of pest control. These numbers don’t account for their pollinating abilities. It also does not consider how bats safeguard the lumber industry by eating pests that destroy trees. So the USGS claims that their contribution is probably much higher.
Even bat poop can be useful for crops.
Guano (another name for bat feces) has lots of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are three essential ingredients in many fertilizers. Bat dung also has anti-fungal properties and will destroy nematode worms that can wreak havoc on a plant’s stems and roots.
Reason #3: Bats Spread Seeds
When they are not eating insects or nectar, many bats also dine on fruit. After consuming fruit, they digest the flesh and defecate the seeds out.
Since they poop while flying, seeds are dispersed over an extensive area. New plants or trees will eventually form from these scattered seeds, which results in regions that were previously devoid of plant life experiencing new growth.
Reason #4: Many Bat Species are Critically Endangered
24 different bat species have been identified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The destruction of their natural habitat, along with overhunting, has resulted in a severe decline in the bat population.
For example, Indiana Bats were first listed as an endangered species back in 1967. Unfortunately, their population continues to decline.
Unfortunately, the focus on alternative energy sources may be causing issues for bats too. Wind turbines have killed dozens of different bat species in the United States and Canada over the past few years. More research must be done to ensure that alternative energy sources do not negatively affect the bat population.
Bats are in danger. By providing these nighttime animals with a safe habitat, you will be doing your part to ensure their survival.
We Need Bats!
Despite what people may tell you, having bats around is actually a good thing.
Hopefully, we have shown you plenty of practical ways to attract more bats. Follow these tips, and you will enjoy a host of benefits, while also helping these very important mammals survive.