If you have a garden, it’s a good bet you have a birdhouse to attract birds, both to beautify the yard and to keep insects away. But did you know that bats can do the same job, just at night? Bats can be great for gardening and keeping pests out of the yard; consider installing a bat house to give them a place to stay while doing it. Here are some ways having a bat house helps you.
- Pest control – Many bat species are insectivores, and eat plenty of insects around the house. Bats can eat up to hundreds of insects per hour, especially the pesky ones that can damage your plants (e.g. moths and beetles). They can also significantly reduce mosquito populations, saving you from bites and possible insect-borne diseases. As an added bonus, bats are a natural method of removing insects. With bats around, you won’t have to use harmful insecticides that could harm you and your family.
- Pollination – Bats are also great at spreading pollen and seeds from plant to plant. Where birds do their work in the day, bats do theirs at night. This lets the garden get pollinated on a more regular basis. This can help your garden grow much faster, which can be more of a boon if you grow fruits or vegetables. If your neighbours have gardens of their own, bats can contribute to increased growth in their plants, letting everyone in the neighbourhood benefit.
- Fertilizer – Bats can leave guano around, which can be irritating to clean; however, guano can also be used as fertilizer to nurture your plants. Guano contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which help stimulate plant growth. It also has beneficial microorganisms that can help keep the soil healthy for extra benefits. If you’re looking for a good fertilizer for your garden, this might be it. Do wear gloves and a mask for protection against germs before using guano as fertilizer.
- Conservation – Bats are an endangered species in many places, including Canada. Unfortunately, bats also play a huge role in many ecosystems by pollinating plants and controlling insect populations. Building a bat house can help preserve their numbers and give local bats a refuge. Mother bats can especially use bat houses to raise their young and perpetuate the species. Think of it as paying the bats back for helping out with your garden.
Consider giving bats an easy source of water if you’re looking for more attractions for them. Have a bird bath in the yard? Bats can also use the water there, allowing you to get more mileage out of it. You can also plant night-blooming flowers (e.g. datura, moonflowers, or evening primrose) to give them more food options in the garden. Bats also find certain herbs like chives and marjoram attractive; plant these to give them more incentive to stay nearby.
For all this, bats can still be pests if they get in the house. Bats are protected by law under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, so refrain from hurting them. Killing bats also means you can’t benefit from having them around. In case one does gets inside, just contact pest control to get optimal results.