Bats Aren’t As Scary As You Think

Bats get a bad wrap. Yes, they are a little creepy looking and Dracula certainly didn’t help with their reputation either. Even Batman brings out the dark side of people’s opinions on bats, and he is a crime fighter.

But the truth of the matter is, bats play an important role in the ecosystem and offer many benefits for us humans:

  • Bats eat tons of insects (somewhere between 600 – 1200 an hour!) including moths and mosquitoes.
  • Some bats are important pollinators of fruits and seeds that humans eat.
  • Fruit-eating bats are very important for the dispersal of seeds.
  • Guano (bat droppings) can be very good fertilizer.

Here is the downside. In the US, 40% of the 45 bat species here are endangered. Their habitat is quickly being reduced and eliminated. Industry, development and pollution are all taking away the delicate environments that bats need to survive.

Bird gardens, butterfly gardens and hummingbird gardens all get a lot of attention. Why not create a bat garden, or at least a garden that helps bats out. Here is what you can do:

  • Use plants that flower late in the day or stay open at night.  They will attract nighttime insects for the bats to eat. Some examples include Morning Glory, Four  O’Clocks, Evening Primrose and Japanese Wisteria.
  • Avoid using pesticides. Pesticides kill the insects that bats feed on. Also, bats are very sensitive to them.
  • Leave part of your property un-mown or natural. This will become a habitat to the insects bats eat.
  • Install bat houses.

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