Think insecticides are the only way to get rid of bugs from your garden? Think again! A better way to rid your garden of pests is to use bats. Yes, that’s right, bats! They consume up to half their body weight in insects. In fact, a single bat can eat between 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour.
Are bats dangerous? No, not at all! These nocturnal animals are quite gentle and timid. They avoid contact with humans and have a lower incidence of rabies than skunks and raccoons. Most bats in North America live exclusively on insects. And they kill more insects and mosquitoes than bug zappers and birds combined. If you have a homestead, garden or farm, there are many more benefits to bats:
1. Bats Eat Moths And Mosquitoes
Attracting bats to your off-grid garden or farm is an excellent way to get rid of insects. After all, an entire colony of bats can eat up to 100 tons of insects in one season. According to Bat Conservation International, bats save the United States about $3.7 billion in insecticides and reduced crop damage.
So if you’re tired of moths or other pests on your plants, bats can help you get rid of them without the use of dangerous insecticides.
2. Bats Make Great Organic Fertilizer
Besides eating insects, bats also make an outstanding organic fertilizer. According to Fine Gardening:
“Bat guano typically contains 10 percent nitrogen, 3 percent phosphorus, and 1 percent potassium, and it has no fillers, as other types of fertilizer often do. This natural plant enhancer benefits flowers, ornamentals, vegetables, and herbs. It is also extremely long-lasting in most types of soil.”
3. Bats Help Pollinate Plants
Bats help farmers and gardeners because they drop seeds; therefore, they help to pollinate plants. If you love avocados like I do, thank bats. Avocados depend on bats. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA,) over 300 species of fruit depend on bats to pollinate. These fruits include:
How To Attract Bats To Your Garden
It’s easy to attract more bats to your garden or farm. Like all mammals, bats need food, water and a place to live. Since your garden already provides lots of insects as food for the bats, the only thing else that you need to attract bats is water and shelter.
They need a source of water that is easily accessible. Bats in the wild get their water from ponds, lakes or rivers. So having a pond near your garden is an excellent water source for bats. If you don’t have a pond and don’t want to make one, use a raised birdbath as a source of water instead.
Bats usually live in dark places like caves, trees and even church steeples. If you want to have bats help your off-grid farm or garden, installing a bat house is the best way. You can easily build one. To find a design to build a bat house, you can download a free one from Free Wordworking Plans.
How To Install A Bat House
Here are some tips to installing a bat house in your garden or yard:
- Put the bat house 12 to 18 feet off the ground.
- Fasten it to a tree, pole or building.
- Keep the inside of the bat house dark.
- Make sure the bat house has 8 hours of sunlight every day.
- Paint the bat house with water-based paint.
- Use a mesh screen on the bottom so that bats have something to attach to.
- Put the bat house within 1,500 feet of a water source like a pond or stream.
So if you’re having a hard time keeping insects away from your plants, try attracting bats to your garden. Again, bats are relatively safe. Vampire bats aren’t found in the United States; they are only found in Central and South America. But if you do decide to install a bat house, make sure that your pet’s vaccinations are current. And never try to touch a bat.
Would you install a bat house to help attract bats to your garden? Write your response in the comments below.