Landscaping and Gardening for Bats
Karen Krebbs, author of Bat Basics, tells us about landscaping and gardening for bats. Bats serve as pollinators and play an incredibly important role as insect predators. If you want to help out bats, give them a place to live!
Purchasing or building a bat house is a great way to support the bats that are already hunting and flying around your neighborhood. Bats eat a lot of insects, including mosquitoes, moths, and garden pests, so you’ll get something out of encouraging these insectivores to forage in your backyard.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of a bat taking up residence in your house, putting up a bat house is a great way to prevent them from moving into your front porch or the eaves of your house.
Bats utilize trees, scrub, rocks, and buildings as roost sites. Tree-roosting bat species like red, silver-haired, or hoary bats, as well as many myotis species, roost in tree vegetation and in hollow trees. Some of the species roost under tree bark. A water source attracts insects and bats. Ponds, bird baths, and swimming pools serve as popular drinking fountains for bats.
It also helps if you make your backyard feel more like nature: the more natural plants and vegetation available in your yard, the more likely that you’ll attract bats to your home. Don’t forget your garden. Night-blooming plants attract insects, and bats will feed on the insects. Finally, steer clear of pesticides/insecticides, which eliminate the main food source for many bats and harm overall biodiversity.
In the Southwest, nectar-feeding bats are attracted to columnar cacti and succulents. Various species of agaves are easy to plant and provide nectar and fruit for nectar bats.
Bats are important pollinators for saguaro and organ pipe cactus. In the Southwest, bats can also visit hummingbird feeders at night, so if you put out hummingbird feeders, you might be able to watch hummingbirds during the day and bats at night!