Inviting Bats to Your Yard
Bats make great gardening buddies. Learn more about these all-natural pest controllers.
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Build Your Own Bat House
You can purchase kits made from cedar, but you can also make a bat house from any type of wood that is not toxic to bats. Do not use pressure treated wood, but most anything else works fine.
When making your bat house, use screening or something similar for the bats to land on and travel up inside your bat house (figure B). (Do not use fish netting; that could snag on a bat’s wings.) Be sure to completely drive in any extruding staples or nails that could injure the bats.
After assembling the house and screen, put the sides on and secure it with a few screws. The front portions slide in and you’re ready to go. A bat house should have about 3/4 of an inch of space in the chamber. Bats like it cozy (figure C). Apply a couple of coats of latex paint to your bat house and you’re ready for occupants.
Your bat house should face southeast where it gets the most morning sunlight. Bats like between four and seven hours of direct sunlight per day. You can hang it in an open area on a barn, other outbuilding, or mount it on a pole.
Once you have occupants, start collecting your free guano fertilizer on plastic sheeting from beneath your bat house. Take one tablespoon guano and mix it with a gallon of water and let it sit overnight. The next day just give it a shake and voila — free fertilizer.
So now you know that having "bats in your belfry" is really a great thing! Just be sure and welcome them safely into your landscape by omitting the use of pesticides in your garden, as they can cause serious health issues for your bug-loving bat buddies.
Gardening expert Paul James offers advice on fertilizing, seeding and planting.