Bats in the garden? It’s actually a great idea! Some find them endearing, others disgusting, but bats are actually innocuous nocturnal creatures that fly overhead on summer evenings. They are very important to nature and there are many good reasons why we should offer them lodging under our eaves. Here’s how you can lure them to your place!
Why bats are important
Bats are mammals that rest hanging upside-down in caves during the day and come out in search for food as the sun sets over the horizon. They go into lethargy in winter and you will be unlikely to see them, although they don’t have a deep sleep and any sort of noise can awaken them.
Many people believe the old legend that bats swoop down to get into human hair. The truth is bats are very sweet natured and very useful to mankind. Having them near your home and garden is not dangerous at all, on the contrary! Here’s why:
1. THEY EAT MOSQUITOS. Bats eat a wide variety of insects, and especially love mosquitoes. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mosquito-bite-free summer?
2. THEY POLLINATE. Some species of bats feed on nectar, so they move from flower to flower gathering and spreading pollens. This is a vital natural event that helps brings about flowering and the growth of fruit.
3. THEY FERTILIZE. Their excrement is rich in nutritional substances like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, all of which are powerful fertilizers. It is used to enrich the soil in vegetable gardens, and to care for plants and flowers. Be careful though, don’t ever touch bat excrement with your bare hands!
4. THEY ELIMINATE PARASITES. Bats eat all kinds of parasites that damage vegetables and plants, so they actually help protect and keep your growing veggies healthy and whole, without you having to spray the patch with chemicals.
How to attract bats
Bats are a part of nature, and important members of the eco system. It’s not easy to get them to come and stay with you, but you can do some things to lure them. Seeing as they are night creatures, plant flowers that open as the sun goes down, like nocturnal jasmine, Four O’Clock flowers or some nocturnal orchids.
You could get a bat box, a wooden box for them to settle into. Ferplast’s bat box is a great refuge for them that you can hang on the side of the house or high (4 to 7 metres) on a tree. The best place for it would be where it gets plenty of sun (they like the warmth) but far from lots of foot traffic. The Bat House by Ferplast is made of eco-sustainable wood and has a hole on the bottom for them to get in and out of. To convince them to stay with you, would could also put a container of clean fresh water (that you need to quietly replenish often) nearby.
I’ll bet you think better of bats after having read this!