Bats are quickly becoming welcome guests around homes as research has shown bats to be excellent eradicators of pesky insects (like mosquitoes), essential in healthy ecosystems. Bats have also been proven to not be dangerous to humans and pose no risk to human health. This belief resulted in the systematic eradication of bats for decades, especially in the US. Because of this, several species of bats are still considered threatened species. If you’ve been interested in the idea of attracting bats to your yard and garden, now is the time to work on creating a space inviting enough for bats to come and stay.
Studies done by Colorado State University have shown that provided the same method of attraction, bats are still less likely to set up residence in homes that are in suburban and urban areas when compared to rural areas. But, the positive ecological impact bats have on all of these areas is extremely important, so if you live in a suburban or urban area attracting bats to your home is of special importance.
The first step in attracting bats to your home requires an understanding of what bats need in their everyday lives. Because the bats that live in the US are primarily insectivores and feed at night, attracting insects that are active at night is critical if you want to attract bats to your home. Here’s how to attract more insects to your yard at night:
- Bats eat lots and lots of bugs, and bugs need to eat. This is probably the most overlooked and important aspect of attracting lots of bats. This means adding night-blooming plants to your landscape is essential. These night bloomers bloom at night so they can be pollinated by night insects - most notably moths. Moths are a bat favorite and a staple in their diets. Lots of gardeners report seeing moths among their annual devil’s trumpets (datura), as well as brugmansia (you can grow these as landscape plants in the south, but they make great tropical potted plants everywhere else). Try adding some potted night blooming plants like datura, Brugmansia, yucca, jessamine, butterfly bushes, lavender, rosemary and evening primrose to your deck, or among your perennial borders to attract lots of bat food.
- Lights are bug magnets. This is an easy way to bring bats to your property. But you may live in an area that has plenty of lights that are kept illuminated at night. This isn’t a necessary step, but it can help attract insects if you don’t already have a lot of lights that are on at night. A simple lamp kept on outside of a garage is all you need, for example. The light doesn’t have to be a specific type, as long as it’s an appropriate light for the outdoors.
Attracting bats to your yard is good, but getting bats to stay is even better. Bat houses are becoming very popular among home owners as a way to entice bats to stay, and even reproduce. Buying a bat house kit is a great starter bat house. You can put this great kit together during a weekend project with the family.
There are some requirements that bats need in order to find a happy home in a bat house. You can read up on how to place and maintain your bat house here.
We hope you enjoy the wonderful benefits that bats bring to your home.