Bird houses and bird feeders are common; but have you considered being a good neighbor to bats as well? If you have taken interest in the life of bats but you live in the city, you may simply put up a bat house in your backyard. But remember that they will not work just anyplace. Here are a couple of basic rules about making a successful bat house:
• Bats drink plenty of water, so bat houses inside a quarter of a mile from rivers, streams or ponds have a better opportunity of drawing in bats than those without any nearby water sources. Swimming pools also make excellent bat watering holes. Bats get their share of their drink by swooping down and seizing a mouthful of water on the wing.
• Do not hang your bat house in a tree just like a birdhouse; secure it to the trunk so it will not swing around. Bats want their houses high above the ground, mounted up on the side of your own house up under the eaves or on a pole. 10 feet or higher is fine.
Temperature is the most crucial single element in bat house living. Houses that get more than four hours of direct sun every day appear to be the busiest. If your bat house is not going batty, it may not be getting enough sunlight. Place it to a warmer spot and see if that does not help. Painting the bat house black will help absorb more heat. Ordering a catalog from Bat Conservation International will supply you with a map of the United States highlighted to indicate what color a bat house must be in your area.
Hotter climates should evidently get lighter-colored houses to prevent them from getting excessively hot. Individuals who live in the country appear to pull in more bats than city residents. This maybe the after effects of the massive use of pesticides in suburban and urban yards. We are doing our fiendish best to wipe out all the insects in our yards. What we forget is that whether they’re “good” bugs or “bad” they’re an integral connection in the eternal food chain that nurtures the other creatures that alive.
Did you know that more toxic chemicals are ditched in our yards each year than in the commercial agriculture areas in the state put together? When you visit your local hardware or garden store to purchase something, go down the pesticide aisle, take a big whiff. Then read a few labels and check what you’ve been breathing in. Pay special attention where it says “warning.” At this point, you may want to wear a HazMat suit when you get out to smell the flowers in your garden, doesn’t it?
The absence of all those flying insects has a definite negative impact on a flying mammal that must eat its own weight in insects each night. Bat species all over the world are in trouble due to this indiscriminate pesiticide usage.
Building Bat Houses by Dale Evva Gelfand, 1996
America’s Neighborhood Bats by Merlin D. Tuttle, 2005
Copyright © 2011 Athena Goodlight