Updated: Aug 8
There are many benefits when bats are around, from eating pesky insects, to pollinating flowers, and looking really cool in the night sky! No matter your age or where you live, there are many easy and inexpensive ways that families can attract bats to their yards and homes. Read on to learn how to make some new nocturnal friends!
THE BEST TIME TO PREPARE
There’s never a bad time to start luring in bats, but it’s best to start between Spring and Summer, when they are most active.
They can also be just as active in the Fall—that’s when pups are just starting to fly, and need lots to eat. And bats flying against the moon looks straight out of a Halloween movie!
HOW TO ATTRACT BATS TO YOUR YARD
Bats need places they can depend on to have plenty of food, water and shelter. Even if you’re far from a water source like a lake or stream, bats will start flocking to your yard if they know it to be a place to get their other needs met.
They prefer living in one spot for long amounts of time, so once they trust that your habitat has everything they need, they’ll stick around for months! Here are some creative ways to attract bats to your home:
PLANT MORE FLOWERS
Did you know that bats are pollinators? They love to eat the sweet nectar from flowers, and move pollen around to help plants reproduce.
Planting more flowers—especially fragrant nocturnal blooms like garden phlox and evening primrose—will attract bats looking for a snack, and give you more, healthier flower friends.
BUILD OR PURCHASE A BAT HOUSE
Bats are always looking for a dark, safe place to “hang” out during the day. Built properly, bat houses provide all the conditions bats look for when finding a place to rest. The more bats that can fit in your house, the more will stick around and attract others. The bigger the better!
They typically cost between $30-$60, but can also be built at home easily, either using a kit or with your own materials. (Learn how to build a bat house at home for ~$20.)
Whether you purchase or make a bat house at home, check the following to make sure their shelter has everything they need to get cozy:
Bat houses should be built at least 2cm deep.
They should be hung between 10-30 feet off the ground.
Make sure your bat house is dark colored, and in full direct sun throughout the day to keep bats warm and cozy.
Make sure the box has no cracks or spaces where the elements can get through. This can make the temperature inside fluctuate, and feel less safe to sleepy bats.
Bats get scared to go out at night when there are bright lights around. Install your bat house in a place that stays dark at night.
Hang your bat house on the side of your home, or on a poll. Despite common belief, trees are not a great place to hang most bat houses, because their branches provide too much shade for bats and give predators easy access to their homes.
NOTE: Parental supervision is required if building a bat house with children. However, guiding them through the construction process and letting them help with measuring, decorating, using simple tools, and decorating is a great way for kids to exercise their math, engineering, and creative skills!
INSTALL BRIGHT LIGHTS (AWAY FROM THEIR HOUSES)
Bats love bugs, and bugs love light. So, install lights around your home to lure in bugs from your yard for bats to scoop up!
Just make sure you don’t install the lights so that they shine on any nearby bat houses. Bats are scared to leave their nests if there are bright lights close to their homes at night.
AVOID USING OUTDOOR CHEMICALS
Insects aren’t the only ones that get affected by pesticides. Bats usually eat around 4,000 bugs every night, and absorb any pesticides that insects are infected with. Keep bats happy and healthy in your yard by using less chemicals and pesticides.
Besides, bats are experts at taking out pesky insects on their own!
INSTALL A WATER SOURCE
Bats lose half of their body weight each day in water. They’re always thirsty! If you’re not close to a natural water source, adding a bird bath or fountain to your yard is a great way to give bats a place to drink.
Make sure your water source has grooved edges for bats to cling to, and that the water is shallow enough for them to climb out of.
PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR A BATTY SPRING
As mentioned, getting your home ready for bats before Spring is the best way to make sure you have plenty of bat watching opportunities in Summer and Fall.
One way to get started ahead of time is by preparing a garden bed to give bats plenty of sweet, chewy plants (it’s best to start in the fall—early winter). Click here to learn how: How to Prepare a Garden Bed for Spring!