So you want to learn how to attract bats to your yard? Bats are a must if you love backyard wildlife. Despite the reputation they get for being spooky and blood-sucking, bats are actually very beneficial for your yard.
Attracting bats is a bit like attracting any animal really. You want to provide them with three main things: food, water, and shelter. Once these three things are available, you’ll create the perfect habitat for bats to visit your yard.
This guide will take you through 11 ways to attract more bats to your yard. But first, let’s look at why you would want to attract bats to your yard in the first place.
Why Bats are important for Yards
Bats are amazing creatures to have in your yard. They get a bad rep for being dangerous by attacking people or carrying diseases. Yet they provide so many benefits to a garden. Here are some reasons why you want to attract bats to your yard.
Bats are pollinators
Bees and butterflies don’t get all the credit for pollinating plants. Bats are excellent pollinators too. They help with cross-pollination by carrying pollen on their fur and passing it between plants as they eat.
Bats eat hundreds of thousands of insects every day. That means if you have an insect problem in your yard attracting bats is a surefire natural solution to deal with them. Bats save the agriculture business billions of dollars each year with the number of insects they eat.
Bat poop, also known as Guano, is one of the best soil fertilizers you can find. Guano is crammed full of nutrients that help plants thrive. It can also act as a natural fungicide and prevent harmful nematodes in the soil.
When bats are around it’s an excellent sign that the environment around them is good. Bats are susceptible to environmental changes. Because they won’t stick around in poor conditions, having bats indicates your yard is a good area to visit. This can help encourage other wildlife and birds into your yard.
These are just a few reasons why bats are good for back yards, but there are many more reasons why bats are a vital species for our environment. Take a look at my guide to 9 reasons why bats are important.
Now that we know bats are good to have around, it’s time to look at how you can attract them.
How to attract bats to your yard
1. Provide Water
Like most animals, water is essential for a bat’s survival. In fact, bats can lose up to 50% of their body weight in water every day. Bats need strict water intake because of this. Water surfaces also provide bats with a good source of insects.
Ideally, bats will nest near a good water source. If you live close to a pond or river, this will be an excellent source of water for bats.
If you don’t have water nearby, you can use a bird bath. Adding a solar water feature to alert bats to the presence of water in your yard. A bird bath is ideal as it provides a gradual slope for bats to use. To keep both bats and bird-safe, don’t fill the deepest point higher than 2 inches of water
2. Give them Shelter
Hanging a bat house on your property is one of the best things you can do to provide bats with shelter.
You can build your own bat house or buy a ready-made one (this is a best seller). If you buy a bat house, it must contain at least three chambers. Don’t use a landing pad with mesh or fabric this should be made of roughed wood.
Bat houses are mainly used by single male bats seeking out females. Others can be used as nurseries for raising their young.
Bats hibernate over the winter months and a bat house can be used by them if they can’t find another suitable rooting place. Because bats roost together in large numbers, you don’t need to have lots of bat houses. One or two would be enough to cover the average yard.
3. Maintain the temperature
One thing that bats need from a hibernation spot is a consistent temperature. Bats will naturally choose sheltered and secluded areas to hibernate. This is because the temperatures don’t fluctuate with the weather.
Your bat house will have to maintain a temperature of 80- to 90-degree Fahrenheit. If the temperatures constantly fall or rise above this then the bats will abandon the area.
If you use a dark-colored bat box hand it in a southeast position. This will allow the sun to warm it in the early morning and then hold on to that heat throughout the day. If you use a light-colored bat box hang it in a North West position. This allows the house to be mostly shaded in the morning but warmed in the afternoon and evening. Ye the light color will help prevent the box from overheating.
You should always position a bat box where it will get at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
4. Location Is Vital
We’ve discussed why location is important for temperature, yet it is also vital to provide safety for the bats too.
Bat houses can make bats more vulnerable to predators than they would bin in a cave or disused mine.
You’ll find bats are much more likely to occupy your bat house if you hang it on a pole or on the side of your house. This is compared to mounting the bat house on a tree. This is because predators have easier access to trees.
It’s recommended you hang your bat house at least 15ft off the ground. If you can get it higher than this, at least 21-30ft, then it’s more likely bats will choose your house for safety.
5. Get the season right
You can hang a bat house at any time of the year. Yet it is much more likely to be successfully occupied by bats if you hang it in early spring.
That’s because bats will wake from hibernation during this period. They will look for suitable roosting places to mate and raise their babies.
Bat houses that are installed at other times of the year will still attract bats, but not as many as when they are placed out in the spring and summer months.
Usually, it will take bats around 2-6 weeks to locate a bat house. It is expected a bat house placed out in the spring will be occupied within the first 6 months.
6. Plant flowers
Providing bats with lots of plants is a great way to attract them to your yard. Flowers not only provide nectar for bats, but they also attract insects for them to eat.
What’s more, is that bats use flowers along with their echolocation skills to navigate around your yard.
The best types of flowers to use for attracting bats are ones that:
- Produce nectar
- Giving off musty or rotten scents
- Bloom at night
- Are UV reflective
These types of flowers will stimulate all the bat’s senses and make them want to stick around in your yard. Some flowers we recommend to attract birds to your yard are:
- Evening primrose
- Four o’clocks
- Silene catchfly
7. Attract insects
Attracting insects to your yard will provide a rich food source for bats to eat. Planting flowers is the ideal way to attract a wide variety of insects for bats.
Another way you can attract more insects is to use a light source during the night. Bugs are attracted to any type of bright light. That means you can use simple solar lights dotted around your plant beds.
You may also want to consider using blue or backlights which are very attractive to flying insects. These lights also don’t emit as much light pollution which may be an issue for your neighbors.
8. Avoid chemicals
One thing you can stop doing today to help your local bats is to cut out using any insecticides or pesticides.
When you spray these chemicals onto plants, it helps to cut down on insects. But, it also introduces nasty chemicals to the animals that eat those insects.
Bat have very delicate internal structures and these chemicals are lily to be harmful to them. In fact, an accumulative effect can poison the bats.
If you’re trying to attract bats to your yard, then they are all the insect control you need. They do the job of those nasty chemicals for free. Remember that bats aren’t the only ones affected by insecticides, birds are too.
9. Keep dead trees
Bats use dead trees as comfortable roosting and resting spots. If you have a dead tree in your yard, try to leave it intact as it provides a habitat for the bats.
The holes, cavities, and bark of the tree will provide bats shelter during the winter seasons. This helps them conserve energy when they wake for short periods during hibernation.
If you need to fell the tree, then try to do it out with the months of May to early August. As bats may be raising their young in the trees during this time.
10. Stop Cats Roaming
Outdoor cats pose a huge risk to bats. If you have one, then it’s best to adjust their roaming schedule to help protect the bats.
It’s recommended you keep your cat indoors half an hour before sunset and half an hour after sunrise. This is the time when bats are most active and will be very attractive to prowling cats.
This is very important in the summer months when there are lots of nursery colonies. Your cat may kill a nursing bat which places all her young at risk of starving. Your cat may even detect the bats roosting place and place the whole colony of bats at risk.
11. Seal up your home
When you trying to attract bats to your yard, you want to encourage them to use your bat box as a habitat and not your actual home. Bat proofing your home before starting to encourage the bats to your yard is the best way to do this.
The make sure bats don’t find a way into your home we recommend you:
- Use window screens
- Use chimney caps
- Place draft-guards beneath doors to attics
- Fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking
- Ensure all doors to the outside close tightly.
It’s best to do this in any month other than May through August. That because these may be bats living in your attic, they will get out but if they can’t get back in, then their babies will starve.
Attracting bats has so many benefits to your backyard. They control insect populations and can even help you to attract more wildlife for you to watch.
The best way to attract bats is to provide them with food, water, and shelter. If you follow this guidance, then you’ll have bats occupying your bat house and helping your yard in no time.
Keep them safe and you’ll be sure to have them coming back season after season to help your yard out.