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BONNIE’S GARDEN – Why Bats Are Good For Your Garden

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Did you know that October is Bat Appreciation Month? Horror writers over the years have picked bats to play the villains in some of their books but, in reality, they’re heroes in the garden!

Interesting Bat Facts

Here are some interesting facts about these fellow mammals.

  1. Bats are the only mammals that fly. There are some mammals, like gliders, who can glide, but bats are the only ones with wings. They’re actually more maneuverable than birds and some species can even fly up to 99 miles per hour!
  2. The largest bat in the world is the Flying Fox, native to the South Pacific. Its wingspan can reach up to six feet! They eat mainly fruit but also love cicadas.
  3. The smallest bat in the world is Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat, also known as a Bumblebee Bat, native to Thailand. It weighs less than one penny and is only an inch long. They feed on insects.
  4. Bats can live 20 to 40 years.
  5. Bats are not blind. Their eyesight is better than ours. It’s just that their hearing is even better than their vision. They can locate human hair by a process called “echolocation.”
  6. Bats are “communal”–good to each other. They’ll share food with bats that may not have gotten to eat.
  7. There are about 1,200 species of bats in the world, with 48 species native to North American. There are only three species of vampire bats—all native to South America.
  8. About 30% of bats are nectar eaters. These bats are responsible for pollinating over 500 species of plants. Some of the best known—avocados, bananas, guavas, mangos, and agave. No bats, no tequila! And because bats are very good at dispersing seeds, they help to diversify their habitats—including the habitat of the cacao. No bats, maybe no chocolate either!
  9. 70% of bats are insectivores, eating up to their own weight in insects in one night. One bat can eat up to a thousand mosquitoes an hour!
  10. A mother bat generally has just one baby a year. She can locate her baby in a cave filled with hundreds of bats by its sound and smell. That she has only one offspring a year is one of several reasons bats are on the decline. The main reason is the loss of habitat.

Invite Bats to Dine in Your Yard

To encourage bats to dine in your yard, it helps to have a water source, such as a birdbath. Planting night-fragrant flowers to attract night insects may help—Evening Primrose, Nicotiana, Moonflowers, Four O-Clocks just to name a few. You could also hang a “bat house” under eaves.

Don’t use pesticides in your yard. That suits me just fine. I’ll sit on my deck and let the bats do the work.

Say “Thank You” to Our Bat Friends

The next time you see a bat, remember that they’re helping keep the mosquitoes in check so you can enjoy your yard on summer evenings and maybe even helping to provide the chocolate in that brownie you’re eating.

To read more from Bonnie, visit our blog

4 thoughts on “BONNIE’S GARDEN – Why Bats Are Good For Your Garden

  1. Good Morning Bonnie.
    Thank you for the Bat information. We had lots of Bats in the the attic before we moved into our house 14 years ago. We had the wildlife person come in an he safely removed them. We put up bat houses, but we have not spotted any for several years. Our property has many tall trees as well as a creek running in the back. We don’t use insecticides even though we have lots of mosquitos. We practice Mosquito Monday in which we clear the property of mosquito breeding grounds and clean our birdbaths. I do put out over ripened fruit for the butterflies and birds. We have a barred owl in the back as well as nesting hawks. How do I attract bat, especially at this time? Do they hibernate?

  2. Hi Bonnie, I loved the interesting facts about bats! I’ve been wanting to get a few bat boxes for my yard. Is there any particular brand, website, box you would recommend?

    Thanks,
    Danette

  3. Hi Evelyn—the best time to attract bats is late spring/early summer. Yes, they do hibernate over winter when insects are scarce. To attract bats, BCI (Bat Concervationists International) recommends planting flowers that are fragrant at night, having an easily accessible water source available and hanging bat house.

  4. Hi Dannette. The most important thing about an appropriate bat house is to make sure it is BCI certified–Bat Concervationists International.

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