I live in Virginia. Through the mosquitos that share these wetlands (swamps!) with us we are at risk from West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis and now Zika. They’re all as horrible as they sound. Who knows what diseases you are at risk from where you live!
Which is why I like the bats that live in my trees. They gobble up the mosquitoes bugging my property. And they operate for three seasons! Saving me from bugs!
In case you don’t have bats already, here are some ways to attract and keep them.
1. Build a bat house.
Constructing and installing bat houses is perhaps the easiest and least-expensive way to support bats on your farm. Plywood (1/2-inch four-ply) or cedar make excellent choices for construction.The booklet below shows you how to build one — it’s not difficult and factors in design, location, sun exposure and coloration variations of the house for different regions of the United States. follow the instructions about how high the bat house should be placed – you need to defend them against natural predators, such as snakes.
2. Old barns are great
3. Mimic or preserve native habitats.
4. Hollowed out trees
Bats are among the cheapest and most effective ways to keep down annoying, disease-carrying mosquitoes. And that’s where the bat box comes in.
The benefits of having bats in your neighborhood extend beyond mosquito control. They also eat bugs that can damage gardens and farm crops. More bats mean fewer pesticides and that’s good for your health, too. Fewer pesticides also help keep water systems cleaner.
The great thing about a bat box is that once a bat moves in, you’ll have mosquito protection – and the other benefits – no matter what happens. If there’s an outbreak of West Nile virus, you’ll have less to worry about because your bats will be reducing the risk!
No good at D.I.Y? (You really should give it a go, how badly can you mangle a bat house?)
Easy-to-assemble or ready assembled bat boxes are available at most local hardware stores like Lowes or Home Depot for $9.99 as well as local home and garden centers. We saw a super-swanky Victorian-themed one online at Planet Natural for $90!
No they’re not infected and no, they won’t fly into your hair
Most of us have watched the movies and worry that bats carry disease like rabies, or they’ll suck our blood. Like most mammals, bats can get rabies, but it’s very rare. Bats – even rabid bats – don’t attack humans, so your risk of getting sick from a bat is very nearly zero. Bats won’t get tangled in your hair or suck your blood. The benefit of bats is they actually reduce diseases.
Thanks to Bat Conservation International