Bat Houses and why Bats are Important to every Garden

Bats in your belfry?  Don’t chase them away- give them a home of their own and make them want to stay!  Despite the bad press from cartoons and horror movies, bats are really quite harmless and are one of the best all-natural pesticides out there. Bats are considered good luck in China as the Chinese word for bat is fu (meaning a greeting of good fortune or good luck).

The most common bat in Southeastern Pennsylvania is the little brown bat or Myotis lucifugus who is capable of catching up to an astounding 1200 insects an hour!  Because of their prolific consumption of insects bats are an environmentally friendly way to reduce the insect population around your home and garden.  Little brown bats hibernate from October to April or May, often returning to the same location year after year to take up residence for the winter.

Like honeybees, bat colonies have suffered a dramatic drop in numbers over the past few years.  Researchers believe it may be due to a virus, fungus or from the increased use of pesticides in an attempt to combat West Nile virus.  If bats completely vanished from our area, the impact would be long-reaching- bats do a great job keeping mosquito populations in check and helping protect crops from insect damage.

If you’re interested in nurturing your own colony, Garden Accents can help with advice and a  great selection  of bat houses which are both decorative and functional.  We recommend houses  constructed of cypress which is naturally resistant to harsh weather conditions, fungus and insects.

Another consideration in choosing a bat house is size.  Our Wayne Manor Bat House is a great example of one that can accommodate up to 30 bats while the larger portioned Cape May Bat House can comfortably house up to 75 bats.

Location will play a role in the success of your colony.  Highest success rates for occupancy occur when the house is mounted on the side of a building or on a pole in a location that receives 10 or more hours of sun per day.

Optimum height is 15-18’ off the ground, and to decrease vulnerability to predators, bat houses should never be attached to a tree.

An attractive bat house can add an interesting decorative element to your home and garden and provide a safe haven for your mosquito patrol.  For more information, here’s a great website to learn more about these mysterious little creatures.

http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/uh081.pdf

If after reading this you’re still not ready to extend a warm welcome and make Myotis your Otis (I know, I apologize 🙂 ), why not choose from our selection of  some great hanging metal bats to add a quirky, fun accent to your garden.

 Each of these three-dimensional bats is handcrafted out of metal by the artist, a former aircraft welder and manufacturing engineer.  The bats feature a rust color body and are accented with bright ball bearing eyes.  These are available in large or small sizes, with open or closed wings and are suitable for indoor or outdoor use.

 

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