After spending time outdoors at our new home, we realized we were sharing our property and summer months with swarms of mosquitoes. We wanted to eat outside, play in the woods and start a garden, but the mosquito population was really something we had to battle. We researched suggestions for controlling mosquito populations, and found many options, as well as some interesting statistics about a method that seemed natural, simple and time-tested — bats! After reviewing a few plans, we constructed a homemade bat house to attract these winged mosquito-eaters to our property. My husband is certainly no stranger to a wood shop, and he already had most of the required materials on hand.
We nestled the bat house just under the eaves of our home and waited for its pest-controlling inhabitants to arrive. We chose a location that would allow us to see the bat house, but would still give these flying mammals their privacy. Looking back, we should have chosen a free-standing bat house (like the one in the photo at left) farther from the house to discourage the bats from finding small entries into the attic, and to prevent their droppings from dirtying our house’s siding.
Summer turned to fall and the mosquitoes naturally disappeared as cold weather set in. Winter passed and spring emerged, showing signs of green, pink, yellow … and black. That’s right — black bat droppings appeared directly under the bat house. We definitely had some new residents. One evening, as dusk approached, my husband and I sat on the back porch, swatting away a few mosquitoes and keeping our eyes fixed on the entrance of the bat house. Sure enough, one by one, the bats dropped out and flew away. How exciting! We wished them a happy flight and encouraged them to do some productive mosquito control.
Apex, North Carolina
To learn more about these fascinating creatures and view various housing options, check out Bat Conservation International, a nonprofit organization working to protect bat species. — MOTHER