If mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects have made it difficult for you to enjoy your outdoor space in the evening, include attracting nature’s insect controllers in your landscape plans for 2024. Bats can eat thousands of flying insects every night, but they’re best kept at a distance from humans.
Bats are mammals whose arms have evolved into wings. They live in colonies and are nocturnal creatures. They leave their homes at dusk and catch insects in flight. These creatures get somewhat of a bum rap, however, due to the fact that they can carry diseases, including rabies. That’s why it’s best to keep your distance from them, and don’t touch them if you see any on the ground. They have teeth and will use them on humans if they feel threatened. It’s best to let them do their own thing while you watch from afar. If your deck or patio is well lighted, bats will avoid that area. As nocturnal creatures, they don’t like bright lights.
Perhaps you’ve seen on various television programs stories from San Antonio. Texas about the huge colonies of bats that live under the Camden Street bridge over the city’s famed River Walk or the even bigger colony that lives in Bracken Cave Preserve just north of the city. Each night, thousands of people gather at dusk to witness and photograph the spectacle of thousands of bats taking flight for their nightly hunt.
You certainly wouldn’t want to attract a colony of bats the size of either of the two mentioned above, which are just two of 12 bat watching sites in Texas. Bracken Cave, owned by Bat Conservation International (BCI), houses 15 million bats and it’s estimated that one bat can eat 1,000 to 1,200 insect per hour.
The bats in San Antonio are Mexican free-tail bats. The most common species in our area is the little brown bat.
You probably don’t have a cave or bridge on your property, but you do need to provide a habitat that will satisfy them. Bats like native plants. They also need a source of open water, such as a pond, because they drink on the fly.
It’s recommended that you install a bat house. That’ll discourage them from setting up housekeeping in your attic. Install the house near water and away from bright light. Bat houses in kit form or fully assembled are available online from several familiar retailers. There are also local sources, including the big box stores and The Bird House on Monroe Avenue in Brighton.
If you like the idea of putting nature’s insect controllers to work for you but you don’t know where to start, our landscape professionals would be happy to help. Our designers can plan out your bat-attracting landscape and our landscape technicians can complete the installation first thing in the spring.