How to Attract Bats to Your Backyard
There are many reasons for wanting bats in your backyard. Whether it’s to benefit from their pollination pest control services, or you just simply enjoy their nightly displays of aerial acrobatics, consider these tips for attracting bats to your backyard!
Dead Trees – AKA Snags or Wildlife Trees
For many species of bats, dead trees, also known as “wildlife trees” or “snags”, provide prime roosting locations. The narrow, rough space between the bark and the wood provides an ideal space for a bat (or a few) to squeeze in nice and tight. If a dead tree does not pose a safety concern, consider leaving it in your yard to provide protected refuge for bats and the insects they eat. If your standing dead tree is quite large, trim away some or all of the branches and leave the trunk. If still too tall and overpowering, top the trunk to a reasonable height, relevant to your house, neighbouring houses, or structures. But if you cut the tree too short, it will be overlooked by roost-seeking bats. Without sufficient height, bats are unable to alight and take off safely and will be easily attacked by predators while they sleep. Naturally, the best thing to do is nothing, leaving the tree to take its own course, but in a small suburban lot, or near public walkways, safety concerns must be evaluated. Examples of wildlife trees can be seen at The Little Schoolhouse on Brandon Lane and along the Beach Avenue promenade.
Dead tree, not an option? Give the bats the next best thing – a bat house to mimic the space and habitat that a dead tree would normally provide.
Bat Houses or Boxes
Build or Buy a Bat House
Building your own bat house is a great way to get involved in bat conservation. Click here for free plans for different types of roosts; single chamber, four-chamber, and rocket boxes. Please note that single chamber bat houses are strongly discouraged in the Okanagan region, due to the high temperatures in the summertime. Bat House Installation instructions can be found here.
Opting to buy a bat house instead? Email email@example.com to explore your options and order one! Or call 250 767 2143.
Please bear in mind that although we utilize and encourage best construction practices and materials for the safety and health of the inhabitants, it may take quite some time before bats roost in your bat house. The information offered for the construction, placement, and orientation of bat houses, is based on years of experimentation and sharing of information. Don’t get discouraged, other conditions may prove welcoming to bats, as evidenced by bats living on balconies, doorframes, eaves, or even among the folds of patio umbrellas or awnings. It may be as little as the “new” smell of the lumber or perhaps a resident colony of wasps or bees, that discourages your ideal occupants. Clean it out in fall, and allow the wood to weather, and you may yet see success!
Bats are in trouble and need our help! Nearly half of BC’s bat species are listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered due to many threats including habitat loss.
Peachland community bat houses were installed at The Little Schoolhouse and Hainle Estate Winery as examples of how we can help. Bat Friendly Gardens at both locations have examples of plants that attract night-flying insects and/or provide food for larval forms.
You can create your own Bat Friendly Garden by adding some of the plants listed below to your garden.
- Indigenous Plants (Yarrow, Oregon Grape)
- Aromatic flowers (Mock Orange, Scented Geranium)
- Aromatic herbs (Oregano, Basil, Mint)
- Pollinator plants (Phlox, Coneflowers, Sweet Williams)
- White blossoms (Lavender, Rose)
- Pale or silvery foliage (Dusty Miller, Lambs Ear)
Click here for a detailed list, compiled by John Saremba, a bat enthusiast from the Fraser Valley.
Click here to find out about Safe Alternatives to toxic pesticides, provided by Consumer Notice.