How to attract bats to your garden
Bats play such an important role in an ecosystem, and with natural habitats in decline they need our help now more than ever. Bats can travel over great distances across the landscape. Turning your garden (whatever its size) into a bat habitat can help link green spaces across the landscape between their daytime roosts to their nightly foraging areas.
There are lots of ways you can encourage bats to your garden. Like all animals, bats need food, water and shelter. By offering any of these things, you are creating bat habitat. And in return, insectivorous bats will eat many of your unwanted garden pests (a single bat can eat up to 3,000 insects a night!) bat guano (poo) is high in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate and helps root and flower growth, and you will be amazed by their nightly displays of aerial acrobatics.
Increase their food supply
Grow native plants with flowers that are likely to attract moths and other night-flying insects. Moths and other nocturnal insects are more attracted to flowers that are white or very pale in colour. Creating a pond is a highly effective way to increase invertebrate numbers as many insects start life in freshwater, emerging only as adults.
Supply a source of water
Even small garden ponds can provide an important source of drinking water.
Leave old and dead trees in areas where they don’t create a hazard. Their trunk cavities, loose bark, and splits in branches may be used as roosting sites. You can also encourage roosting bats by putting up a bat box. Bat boxes can be purchased from garden centres or made from wood that has not been treated with wood preservatives. Choose locations with a sunny southerly or westerly aspect away from doors or windows.
Avoid using pesticides
Keep it organic, let your garden go a little wild and avoid the use of pesticides. Be more tolerant of insects in your garden. They will provide much needed meals for bats.
Plant native trees
Trees are beneficial in so many ways. They don’t close their flowers at night and they are host plants to many insect species. They also provide potential roost habitats for bats.
Keeps cats indoors
Cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties. If you cannot keep your cat in all night, keep it inside an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunset, especially between mid-June until the end of August because bats will be looking after their babies. Sometimes a collar with a bell will alert bats (and other wildlife) to a cat’s presence.
Turn off unnecessary lights
Light pollution can disrupt or deter bats. Turning off any unnecessary lights to provide a dark environment can help bats.