Real-life winged superheroes?
Meet, bats! Bats are a crucial member of our ecosystem and provide an incredible number of invaluable services to mankind and nature including:
- Pollinating. It isn’t just our beautiful bees that help pollinate plants - in many ecological areas plants are reliant on bats to pollinate, too! Bat pollination is called chiropterophilly. Don’t ask me to pronounce it!
- Pest control. Our family just got stationed in (what I consider) the Deep South and holy macaroni there are a lot of bugs down here. Bats fly at night and their primary food source for many species is all the night time insects that feed on plants and people and livestock (I’m looking at you mosquitos!). Having bats around helps with pest control for your home and family but also for agriculture. Bats are like a natural pesticide. In South Carolina alone the State reports bats accounted for a reduction in insect/pest pesticide use amounting to $115M annually. And let’s not forget how bad pesticides are for us and the environment so more bats is a very good thing!
- They are an “indicator” species in many regions for biodiversity and health of the ecosystem.
- They are seed dispensers and natural reforest minions. Think Johnny Appleseed but with bat scat (guano, poops, you get the idea) instead of a sack of apple seeds.
We were recently on our back deck at evening and were enjoying all the little birds flying at deep dusk time when I suddenly realized, those are bats!! I’m not a bat expert but we counted probably 20+ and we have small perimeter of forest around our suburban home so we promptly took up a bat box project. 10-12’ up from the ground, sun facing (especially morning sun), and it’s been a week but we are hoping we will have a colony or take up roost soon!
I have also ordered some night pollinator/night blossoming flower and plant varieties for the garden in spring, in the hopes that might attract them as well as the bees and butterflies.
Putting up a bat box is easy and could greatly contribute to these incredible superheroes! Find out about bats in your area & help them.