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Encouraging bats in our gardens

ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,549

We talk a lot on here about encouraging beneficial wildlife in our gardens but not a lot about bats.  Did you know a tiny pipistrelle can consume 3,000 midges in one night?

We used to have a colony of about 30 when we moved here about 20 years ago but they are now down to just one or two even though we have turned former cow pasture into a garden with a pond and all sorts of plants designed to attract birds and insects so I've been googling about and found this info -

Scroll on down and you'll find a list of lovely plants that will attract them and the by product will be food for swallows and swifts and house martins too as they will come to eat the insects these plants attract.   Double whammy.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,848

    Hi obelixx, we may have your missing pipistrelles. We counted 201 out of our roof last summer. Just waking up now for this year. I'll study your link and make sure I've got the right things. 

    The hassle from the mozzies has decreased as the have bats increased, worth making them welcome just for that

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,549

    That's wonderful Nutcutlet.  We also get mozzies rather than mdges.

    I've bought a bat house but can't site it till the barn renovations are finished.  I've also bought some night scented stock seeds and already have quite a few of the other plants listed though I suspect this winter will have taken out some of the perennials so I'll fill gaps with nicotiana.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,124

    We have an SSSI just 100 metres from our front door with at least 3 species of bats using the old chalk mines - in the summer they swoop low over our garden taking moths and and midges before they fly over the hill to the marshes - one warm evening I lay on my back on the lawn while OH watched a bat swoop back and forth only a few inches above me - a wonderful experience.

    Here is some info from English Nature about the SSSI 

    "This site consists of a series of abandoned chalk mines that were probably excavated in the
    early part of the nineteenth century. The undisturbed tunnels are now used by various
    species of bat which hibernate underground during the winter months. The bats have been
    closely monitored for many years and the site forms an important research site for longterm studies in bat ecology. Nationally, bat populations have shown severe declines in
    recent years and are given special protection under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.
    The tunnels are used principally by Daubenton’s Bat Myotis daubentoni, Natterer’s Bat M.
    nattereri and Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus. Up to 40 bats use the site with peak
    numbers occurring in January. A metal grille has been placed over the cave entrance to
    protect the bats from unauthorised interference. The surrounding woodland in the chalk-pit
    influences the micro-climate within the bat caves and thus forms an integral part of the
    interest of the site."

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,549

    Hi Dove.  That's very interesting. 

    My garden is next to and opposite two boggy pastures which are designated a site of special environmental  interest for the breadth of species specialising in this habitat.  Trouble is the cow pasture gets a couple of treatments a year for certain weeds and most of the birds they list as resident actually feed at my feeders most of the year.   I don't know where the bats we lost were roosting and we surely have more insects than before but maybe not the right kind.   

    We get far more swallows and such swooping over the horse paddock across the road as that's ours and the farmer that uses it gets bonuses for maintaining it and his own neighbouring pasture as a wildlife site for birds, insects and plants.   Still no bats though. 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,848

    Don't worry about the bat house obelixx, we made thwm a summer and a winter roost and they've never used either.

    I love bats.

    And moths. Hope to run the first moth trap of the year this week

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,124

    Let us know what you get Nut image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,946

    I love bats  and we had one who flew around outside the lounge window every night at  last house. Plenty of insects for him there but I'm not sure if he had his little roost inside the house or somewhere else. It was semi rural and not many buildings close by apart from the house across the road. I also had them at my little house in south of Glasgow as I had quite a lot of trees so they got plenty of insects there too. Lots of people don't like them but I'm never sure why.

    Post some pix nut image

    I like the pix even if I'm scared of 'em image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,549

    I'd be interested too Nut.  We had a bad year for butterflies last year and that probably meant bad for moths too.   When we cleared our barn out at Easter, ready for renovation, we did find a few hibernating but only 3 or 4 which is not encouraging for this year's population.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Sadly, you answer the question of the decline of bats in your first post.

    The more people who renovate barns and old houses, the fewer places there are for bats, swifts and swallows and house martins.

    Please leave room under the barge boards and suchlike so that the bats have somewhere to roost.  Winter roosts are often quite different from summer roosts.  Bats mainly use space in the roof for their breeding roosts.  Don't stop them getting in!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,848

    Moth trap had to be postponed. Lurgy has reached us. I'll keepyou informed.

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