Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fight Mosquitoes, Build a Bat House

Bats are the single most important controller of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes. A single brown bat can catch and eat up to 600 mosquitos an hour! And it's fun to watch bats flying around the yard catching bugs. So help prevent West Nile Virus by inviting some bats to police your yard.

You can attact bats to your yard by building them a house on a pole at least 15 feet high in a spot that receives sun most of the day. Bat houses installed on poles are easier for bats to locate, have greater occupancy rates and are chosen two and a half times more often than bat houses mounted in trees. Mama bats like very warm houses to raise their babies, so that's why a sunny location is important. Bat houses have open bottoms to prevent guano from accumulating. Avoid placing your bat house above windows, doors, decks or walkways because guano may accumulate on the ground underneath. A potted plant or tray under a bat house will collect bat guano for use as fertilizer. Use shallow trays or buckets with mesh over them to prevent baby bats who fall out of the bat house from being trapped inside.

Every spring, clean out your bat house and get it ready for summer

Afraid of bats? You shouldn't be. The story that they get stuck in your hair is not true. Bats can catch a mosquito flying in an erratic pattern through the air, so they're unlikely to accidentally collide with a human head.

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