Bats provide natural pest-control, provide seed dispersal, and are pollinators. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of bats and how to attract them.

Bats are considered our most important natural predators of night-flying insects. They consume mosquitoes, moths, beetles, crickets, leafhoppers, chinch bugs, and much more! Not only does this save our backyard gardens, but it helps protect our crops, forestland, and helps prevent the spread of diseases such as Malaria, Zika, and others.

Bats are responsible for pollinating over 530 species of flowering plants! Some of our favorite foods are almost exclusively pollinated by bats such as cocoa, bananas, saguaros, and agave which is used to make tequila.

Bats are also important for seed dispersal. Bats ingest a fruit, digest the pulp surrounding the seeds, and then defecate the seeds. This often happens very quickly. These seeds drop to the ground in their own ready-made fertilizer, which helps the seed germinate and grow. Because bats help pollinate and disperse seeds, they can even play an important part in helping regrowth after forest clearance.

How can you attract bats to your yard? There are 6 easy ways to attract bats:

  • Keep cats inside. Cats are one of the most common causes of bat casualties (this is also true for birds!). Keep your cat indoors at night, especially during summer months and specifically, a half hour before sunset and a half hour after sunset. This is when bats are most active.
  • Leave dead trees that do not pose a safety risk. Dead trees are good places for bats to congregate, often between the bark and wood or inside of hollow trees.
  • Do not use pesticides. This includes your garden, yard, and even the outside of your house. Bats eat night-flying insects, so the use of pesticides not only reduces the availability of their food, but it also poses a risk of poisoning.
  • Turn your lights off. Keep your yard as dark as possible. Excessive article lighting impacts bat behaviors, including how they hunt and where.
  • Provide food. Plant host plants that attract moths or other bugs. They are attracted to light-colored flowers and plants that are very fragrant.
  • Install a bat house. Bat houses are a great way to help provide shelter for the bats in your area. Bat houses can be purchased or built but be sure to research that they are constructed of materials that are safe for the bats. For example, houses should be at least 24” high and 16” wide for thermal stability and they should not contain fabric or mesh.

Helpful Links:

Here is a link to a DIY Four-chamber Nursery Bat House, but others are available:

The Bat House Builder’s Handbook:

Here is a link on installing a bat house:

If you would prefer to purchase a bat house, here is a link to ones that meet the criteria above (3-chamber option only): Bat Box

Bat Field Guides:

Bats: An Illustrated Guide to All Species – Taylor, Tuttle:

The Bat House Guide- Tuttle:

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