Backyard Chirper

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How to Attract Bats to Your Yard

So you’re out in the backyard watching the final birds flying to and fro at dusk. Then you see an unusual bird flapping through the sky making a strange squeaking noise.

Then it dawns on you… it’s a bat!

We at Backyard Chirper primarily focus our attention on birds, but we also sell a variety of bat-related products. Why? Read on.

The Benefit of Bats

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It’s fair to say that bats are unfairly characterized and much maligned. We see them as blood-sucking creatures on par with spiders in terms of creepiness.

But despite their gargoyle-like appearance and snarling faces, bats are surprisingly beneficial to properties. People talk a lot about how Purple Martins eat tons of mosquitos, but bats are the real heroes when it comes to mosquitos. Some bats can eat anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 mosquitos in one night. I don’t care who you are… mosquitos are the worst.

Along with eating mosquitos, bats chow down on an array of other insects that could be harmful to gardens.

Even though they may not bring the same grace and colorful appearance of birds, they have similar benefits to gardens and properties.

Best Way to Attract Bats

The easiest way to attract bats to your property is a bat house. A bat house, which is similar to a birdhouse, is a place for bats to roost during the day. There are a few ideal dimensions, including a height of no more than 24 inches, a width of 13 inches, and a depth of 3 inches, according to the Organization for Bat Conservation. You can find a variety of bat houses at our store.

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Here’s more from the conservation organization on proper bat house placement:

Place your bat house at least 15 feet high, facing south to southeast, where it will be 6-8 hours of direct sun. … The best location is on a pole or the side of a building with no obstructions blocking the view of the bat house or the flight path. An open space of about 20 feet in front of the bat house is recommended.

The key is to not put bat houses in shady locations or on trees. It seems counterintuitive for a nocturnal creature to roost in a box that gets about seven hours of direct sunlight, but that’s what they prefer.

Other Things to Remember

The first thing to know about attracting bats is to practice patience. It could take up to two years before bats start roosting in your box. And since it may take that much time, the box is susceptible to unwanted guests like wasps. Be vigilant and keep the bat houses clear.

Remember that bats are important members of local ecosystems, so instead of cringing at the thought of a bat, why not host a bat on your property?

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.