Friday, July 1, 2011

Permaculture Projects: Attracting Bats

The Little Brown Bat.
The most common bat in North America.
3-4 inches long and less than 12 inch wingspan.

Attracting bats?  Oh, yeah!  I love bats.  Hopefully, after reading this post, you will at least gain an appreciation for this much maligned denizen of the night.

In the last few weeks, there has been a huge increase in mosquitos where I live.  Last year at about this time, I could watch the bats hunting at night.  This year, I haven't seen any bats.  I am hoping that this is just temporary.  I have had to treat cellulitis from infected mosquito bites about five times in the last week alone.  I have never before had this many infected bites clustered in a short time like this.  There are real consequences to not having bats in your local area, and this is just one of them.

The beautiful Hoary Bat.
A common North American bat, and the only bat in Hawaii.

Quick Bat Facts:
  • Bats are the number one predator of insects.
  • One bat can eat 2,000 - 6,000 insects... per night!  Reread that last sentence.  Wow!
  • In one summer (let's say 90 days), that is over half a million insects... for one bat!
  • Bats are the primary pollinator of the agave plant.  Tequila comes from agave.  No bats... no tequila!
  • Vampire Bats do exist... not in North America, and they are quite rare.
  • About half of all bats are endangered or threatened... primarily due to loss of habitat, pollution, and human persecution.
  • Bats rarely contract rabies... less than 40 people have gotten rabies from a bat in the last 50 years.  Worldwide, over 50,000 people die each year from rabies, and the most common vector is dogs.
  • Bats are not blind.
  • Bats are not attracted to humans, and will avoid humans at all costs.
  • Bat guano (manure) is a great fertilizer with a very high concentration of nitrogen.

Townsend's Big-Eared Bat.
Endangered in Eastern North America

I have stood in a field both in Nigeria and in Turkey with bats swooping all around me.  They were feeding on the insects flying over the fields just after dusk.  I could feel the breeze a few times as they flew close, but they never touched me.  I am talking about dozens of bats in a small field, in the dark, with no collisions with me or each other while picking insects out of midair.  They are amazing flyers!

Installing a bat house!

Attracting Bats
How do you attract bats to your property?  Build bat houses!  This will keep insect populations down in your local area and will provide you with a source for great compost.

The Organization for Bat Conservation is a great resource for information on bats.  They also have free plans for building bat houses as well - click here for a link to their PDF download page.

Here is a great interview with the Rob Mies, the co-founder and director of The Organization for Bat Conservation.  Aired on The Survival Podcast.

Not all bat houses will be used.  If you live in a cool climate, they may stay in the bat house for the spring-fall, but will hibernate somewhere else.  Where you place the bat house is determined by where you live.  Again, The Organization for Bat Conservation has a great page explaining where to place your bat house.

The Spotted Bat
An elusive and little known bat of North America.

So, I am a huge fan of bats.  They are a huge asset and, to me, an integral component of a well-designed Permaculture System.  Consider attracting bats to your property today!


  1. Best option to selects your sports demands online. You can get best design and better idea to choose your sticks and other things related to cricket or more games.
    Visit: online bats

  2. Best option to selects your sports demands onlie. You can get best design and better idea to choose your sticks and other things related to cricket or more games.
    Visit: online bats

  3. Hi John - great site - all the information I have from many books in one digital spot. Great work. I just read the bat article and the links to the Organization for Bat Conservation is broken.

    I did a search and this is the link that I think you want:


  4. Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING Plans at here
    Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine.
    Arbor Projects ,
    Adirondack Chairs ,
    Artwork Display ,
    Bathroom Unit ,
    Box Designs ,
    Billiard/Pool Table ,
    Barn Plans ,
    Bed Plans ,
    Bedside Cabinets ,
    Bee Hive Plans ,
    Bench Projects ,
    Bird Feeders ,
    Birdhouse Plans ,
    Boat Plans ,
    Book Case Plans ,
    Baby Changing Table ,
    Coat Rack ,
    Cabin Plans ,
    Cabinet Plans ,
    Carport Plans ,
    Cart Plans ,
    Cat House Plans ,
    CD/DVD Holder ,
    Cellar Projects ,
    Chair Plans ,
    Chest Designs ,
    Chicken Houses
    Childrens Room Plans ,
    Clock Plans ,
    Coasters ,
    Coffee Table Designs ,
    Cold Frame Plans ,
    Compost Bin ,
    Computer Desk ,
    Containers ,
    Cradle Projects ,
    Small Crafts ,
    Cutting Board ,
    Deck Plans ..
    Hope it will help you next time !