What else can I do to help bats in my garden?
Trees and shrubs can offer a range of benefits if you want to attract bats to your area:
- Food for insects and their larvae
- Shelter for insects
- Roosting opportunities for bats
- Flight-lines to move through the landscape
- While trees such as oak or willow are not suitable for all gardens, smaller specimens that can be coppiced, such as Elder or Hawthorn, can offer a great supply of food for leaf eating insects.
Bat boxes are artificial roosts designed to encourage bats into areas where they have fewer natural roosting sites. They are usually made from wood or woodcrete - a mixture of woodchips and concrete. If you do decide to put a bat box on your house or in your garden here are a few pointers:
- All timber used must be rough sawn, to allow the bats to grip on, and untreated. It must have a landing area, preferably a ‘bat ladder’, and an entry slit that allows the bats to enter but keeps out predators.
- Boxes need to have well-sealed joints and firmly fitting panels, to provide maximum insulation.
- Boxes are most likely to be used if they are located in a place where bats are known to feed, with an entry path clear of obstacles. The box should be placed as high up as possible, at least 4 - 5 metres off the ground.
- If possible, try to put 2 to 4 boxes up together in a cluster, facing different directions. This allows the bats to adjust their roosting temperature at different times of the year.
Ponds are always a good way to increase the biodiversity in your garden. No matter how big or small they are, ponds, bog gardens and marshy areas always attract a huge range of invertebrates. Many bat species feed on tiny flies that start life in the pond as aquatic larvae. Daubenton’s bats feed just above the surface of the water like miniature hovercrafts, catching these flies as they emerge. Ponds also provide much needed drinking water for bats.