Beneficial Bats

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Poet's picture
Poet
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Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
Beneficial Bats

I noticed there's not that much discussion about keeping bats here in this community.

And yet we know bats provide two great benefits:

1. Mosquito and Insect Control - a single bat can eat a thousand mosquitos in an hour, hundreds of other insects in a night.

2. Fertilizer - bat guano is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, contains organic matter, and apparently kills nematodes.

So I thought I'd post some helpful information about bats and building bat houses.

Bat Facts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat

Bat House Resources (various links)
http://www.eparks.org/wildlife_protection/wildlife_facts/bats/bat_house.asp

Bat Guano Fertilizer Information
http://biogrow.co.uk/benefits.html

In the future, it may be easier to have the bats come to you, than for you to buy fertilizer or collect it from distant caves. I bet having collection trays under bat houses would be of great benefit to bats - but I don't know if having compost piles right under bat houses would be beneficial or harmful to bats. I would love to read of anyone's experiences with keeping bats, building bathouses, and using bat guano in compost or as fertilizer.

Poet

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
Bat house

My wife gave me a bat house for my birthday a few years back. I'm a fan of bats for all the reasons Poet listed above. We mounted it on the side of our house and before long we had at least one resident. I liked going outside at sunset and standing still. Eventually a bat or two would be swooping and diving within feet of me to feast on the Mosquitos I was attracting. Nice!

Unfortunately two summers ago the house was empty and near as I could tell we only had a part time resident last year. Probably the effect of the white nose fungus unfortunately. I'm already crossing my fingers that we'll have a resident this year. There was a noticeable increase in the mossy population the year the bat house was empty...

Viva -- Sager

SteveW's picture
SteveW
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Posts: 490
Bat deaths

Tragically it seems that N. American bats could be in danger of extinction from white nose. While the condition is confined to the North East it has spread rapidly from Albany, where it was discovered, through New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia says:

Quote:

White nose syndrome

Main article: White nose syndrome

White nose syndrome is a condition associated with the deaths of more than a million bats in the Northeastern United States.[49] The disease is named after a white fungus found growing on the muzzles, ears, and wings of some afflicted bats, but it is not known if the fungus is the primary cause of the disease or is merely an opportunistic infection.[50] Mortality rates of 90–100% have been observed in some caves.[50] At least six species of hibernating bats are affected, including the endangered Indiana bat.[51] Because the affected species have a long lifespan and a low birth rate of only about one offspring per year, it is not expected that populations will recover quickly.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1892
White Nose Syndrome
SteveW wrote:

Tragically it seems that N. American bats could be in danger of extinction from white nose. While the condition is confined to the North East it has spread rapidly from Albany, where it was discovered, through New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia says:

Quote:

White nose syndrome

Is there something that can be done? Perhaps we can innoculate bats with some kind of medicine. Or even (gasp!) import European bats that seem to be less affected?

It sounds to me that bat houses thus become even more important, by creating additional habitats for bats other than communal caves with populations in the millions where epidemics may sweep like wildfire.

Poet

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
bats and pollination

It;s worse than that, Poet & Sager - Bats pollinate things. At least they are not major pollinators in temperate North America; let's just hope the disease does not spread to the desert and the tropics where they are much more important for pollinating plants

'Cause losing bats at the same time honey bees are threatened? That would not be good,.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Posts: 2252
safewrite wrote: It;s worse
safewrite wrote:

It;s worse than that, Poet & Sager - Bats pollinate things. 

Indeed.  Pollination.  Can you imagine having to go out into the garden w/a brush and hand-pollinate everything?  

cmallende's picture
cmallende
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Joined: Apr 1 2011
Posts: 10
Thanks

Thanks for the info poet. I knew they ate mosquitos, for which I am eternally grateful, but didn't know about the fertilizer bit. Something that smells that bad has to be good for something.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1892
So What Can Be Done?

Thanks to everyone for contributing comments.

So... Pollination, fertilization, and insect control. Bats are useful for all of these things!

What can we do to HELP them fight white nose disease? What can we do to help promote bat biodiversity and abundance in an age of such diseases?

We've lost a lot of fireflies and frogs these days, too. :(

Poet

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Joined: Feb 11 2009
Posts: 2252
Poet wrote: Thanks to
Poet wrote:

Thanks to everyone for contributing comments.

So... Pollination, fertilization, and insect control. Bats are useful for all of these things!

They're also so ugly they're beautiful.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
OMG LOL Puppies!
SagerXX wrote:

They're also so ugly they're beautiful.

http://www.ohmyweird.com/2007/11/23/adorable-baby-bats/

OMG LOL Puppies!! Bat babies are so cute!!!

Poet

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