Bats are among the most important consumers of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes, moths and beetles. A single little brown bat can catch more than 600 mosquitoes in an hour. In our garden, we love watching our bats emerge from their hiding places and begin their nighttime ballet. Graceful, beautiful, and industrious, these little mammals are essential to the ecosystem of the garden.
To help attract bats and provide them with much-needed roosting habitat, you may want to consider putting a bat house in your yard. The houses can be placed on poles or buildings 15’ high in a spot that receives 6 or more hours of sunlight per day. Tree trunks are usually too shady for bat boxes. Some species such as red bats and hoary bats will use the foliage of shrubs and trees, while others, such as evening or Indiana bats, will roost under loose bark or in the cavities of rocks and dead branches.
There are several species of plants that are sure to attract bats to the garden. Night blooming flowers and scented herbs, pale flowers that are more easily seen in poor light, so attracting insects at dusk and flowers with insect-friendly landing platforms and short florets, like those in the daisy or carrot families.
Bat-friendly gardeners should aim to plant a mixture of flowering plants, vegetables, trees and shrubs to encourage a diversity of insects, which in turn may attract different bat species. Flowers that bloom throughout the year, including both annuals and herbaceous perennials, are a good idea: night-flowering blossoms attract night-flying insects. Trees and shrubs provide food for insects and roosting opportunities for bats.
HERBS AND Plants to attract bats:
Grandfather’s Whiskers, Spearmint, Candytuft, Verbena, Moonflower, Sweet William, St. John’s Wort, Echinacea, Evening Primrose, Field Poppies, Borage, Yarrow, Mallow, Knapweed, Night-scented Stock, Fennel, Cornflower, Salvia, Red Valerian, Ox-eye Daisy, and many more…
Clean, fresh water is as important to birds as it is to bats and other forms of wildlife. Keeping water in a saucer, bird bath or backyard pond is good for your animal friends.
As with all wildlife, bats should be watched but not handled or chased. Bats are generally shy of humans, and rarely attack or fly after a person, but if caught or picked up, a bat may bite in self-defense.
Check out: The Bat Garden, A Traditional Collection of Seeds to Attract Creatures of the Night, 6 Species
10% of the proceeds of this sale will go to bat conservation.