What is a Bat Box?
Imagine you have bats flying around your property. Some have even taken residence in your attic space. What would be your reaction? Many people’s knee-jerk response will be to react in fear. Immediately, people’s minds get flooded with pictures of blood-sucking flying creatures – thanks to movies like Dracula. While there’s nothing wrong with removing bats from your yard, especially if they’re causing damage to your property, there are other ways to deal with a bat problem. One common example is to make use of a bat box or bat house. That’s why this post will consider what bat boxes are and why they are a good option.
A bat box is an artificial roost that offers bats a safe place to live in. Bat boxes are built to portray characteristic features of a bat roosting site – warmth and darkness, and rough walls. With a bat box, you’re giving them a place to live in that’s not part of your property. This deters them from causing damage to your property.
Why Even Consider a Bat Box?
Bats naturally reside in caves, rock crevices, and hollow trees. However, in our quest for urban development, we have destroyed a huge part of their habitat. That’s why bats have become acclimatized to humans. It’s not uncommon to find them living under bridges, in attics, and even old buildings.
If bats are on your property, it’s simply a reflection of what we’ve done to their natural homes. What’s more, you cannot harm them because they are protected by the Endangered Species Act. However, you might ask, “Why on earth would I want bats in my backyard?”.
Although you can have a professional remove them from your property, here are the benefits of having a bat box.
Having a relaxed evening outside in your yard during summer can be near impossible. Why? Pesky little insects just keep disrupting your peace as they swarm around your feet. Even worse is one of our nemesis – mosquitoes. Luckily, over 70 percent of the bats in the United States feed on insects, making them perfect for insect control. A single little brown bat, whose body is as small as an adult human’s thumb can eat between 4 to 8 grams of insects every night – that’s about the weight of one or two grapes. With a bat box, you get to keep bats around and they help to keep the insect population in check.
Great for your garden
If you have a garden in your yard, bats are a great pollinator. Therefore, having these flying mammals around is a great idea. In case you don’t know, over 500 species of plants rely on bats to pollinate their flowers. Furthermore, bat guano (or poop) is rich in nitrogen, making them good fertilizers for your garden or lawn. With a bat box, you keep bats around and reap these benefits.
It’s like killing one bird with two stones…
If you keep bats out of your property, there’s no way to benefit from the impact they have on the ecosystem. However, with a bat box, you create a suitable nesting condition that will keep them around. More importantly, you’d not have to deal with the problems associated with bats – like noises, poop in attics, and destruction to your house foundation.
Things to Know About a Bat Box
As you’d easily guess, you cannot force bats into the box. However, what you can do is make it as attractive as possible. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind.
- Make sure that untreated wood is used in making the box as bats are highly sensitive to chemicals.
- The bat house should be located, at least, 10 feet above the ground to keep them safe from predators.
- The box should be under the sun to keep it warm. It should also be dark to create a cozy shelter.
- The interior of the bat box should be rough so bats can easily cling to it.
- It should be located close to a water source.
- Keep your cats indoors to keep the bats protected.
When the conditions are right, your bat box becomes a magnet for bats.
The role of bats in the ecosystem cannot be over-emphasized. That’s why we need to find ways to peacefully coexist with them, especially since our actions have disrupted their natural habitats. Bat boxes provide a great way to make this possible.