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07.10.2014
The birds and the bees may rule the daytime, but as soon as the sun sets, it is the bats that get to work pollinating.  Worldwide, over 500 species of flowers in at least 67 plant families rely on bats as their major or exclusive pollinators.
Eating insects is by far the most common diet found among the 1,300 species of bats worldwide, which certainly benefits our farmers in keeping many insect species in check.
Bats like “Blossum”, a Common Blossom Bat Syconycteris australis from Australia, pollinate the flowers of plants that have evolved to produce nectar to attract them. While some of the flowers that attract bats can be quite beautiful, you probably wouldn’t want to receive a bouquet of them. As well as their keen sense of smell, bats also use sight to find nectar-producing flowers.
You may have heard of bats using echolocation to hunt insects, but did you know some bats also use it to find nectar-producing plants?
The second group is Megachiroptera (mega-bats), a group that includes all the large bats, including flying-foxes, which predominately eat fruit and nectar. Did you know that bats almost exclusively pollinate wild bananas, which originate from Southeast Asia? Mexican agave plants, a source of fiber and tequila, are solely reliant on the pollination services of several nectar-feeding bats. A house that gets only a few hours of sun a day should be painted a darker shade while a lighter color should be used on boxes with a long daily sun exposure. Your bat house location should be within a quarter mile of a freshwater source; a pond or stream or artificial source is fine. Bat houses can be set out at any time during the year, but since bats tend to set up their colonies in early spring, building a bat house can be a great winter project.
Now that you know how to attract bats to a bat house and have chosen your plan, it’s time to begin building.
Bats need a waterproof environment, so regardless of your bat house plan’s instructions, it is recommended to caulk all outside seams on the walls and roof.
Insect pollinators refers to the insects that have a primary role of pollinating the more than two-thirds of the world's plant species that require pollination for fertilisation. In addition to insects, there are certain birds, bats, small mammals and even people on occasion, who have a role in assisting pollination. Bees are responsible for the majority of pollinating in gardens, of crops and in all relevant natural settings. Not only are these little mammals important for pollinating so many plant species; they can be pretty darn cute too! Scientists believe that many groups of plants have evolved to attract bats, as they are able to carry much larger amounts of pollen in their fur compared to other pollinators. Bat flowers are often white or light-colored in an attempt to stand out against foliage or the night sky, but they also can range from brown and green to pink, fuchsia and yellow.


Indeed some plant species have evolved acoustic features in their flowers that make the echo of the bat’s ultrasonic call more conspicuous to their bat pollinators.
Within Chiroptera, the mammal order that encompasses all bats, two distinct groups are found.
Found in the Old World tropics of Africa, Europe, and Asia these bats lack the ability to echolocate, instead relying on their sight and sense of smell to find food. That is what it is like for the rare Anoura fistulata, a nectar-feeding bat from South America, which has the longest tongue (proportionally) of all mammals. Many tropical and sub-tropical rainforest ecosystems also rely on bat pollinators to regenerate.
Originally from Australia, Micaela worked for a state government research institute as a wildlife biologist before moving the USA in 2013.
Learning how to attract bats to a bat house takes a little effort, but it’s definitely worth it.
Many bat lovers find success in double houses either side by side or back to back, one side dark and one side light.
Bats prefer a home that is supported by a pole or the side of a building and fifteen to twenty feet off the ground.
There are many bat house plans available on the Internet and most will work in areas where a colony is already established, but if your concern is how to attract bats to a bat house where none were before, bigger is better. A bat house, according to extensive bat research, should have chambers at least 14 inches wide and 24 inches tall. We have specialized bat guano cleanup equipment we use to get the job done safely and efficiently.
The ability of bats to fly long distances is also another benefit to plants, especially those that occur in low densities or in habitats far apart from each other.
The smell is created by sulphur-containing compounds, which are uncommon in most floral aromas but have been found in the flowers of many plant species that specialize in bat pollination.
Even though they only open at night, bat flowers are often dull in color, which scientists believe may function more as a camouflage from other visitors than as a visual cue to bats.
These flowers often have a bell-shaped concave form, which effectively reflect the sounds the bats emit enabling them bats to easily find flowers in the dense growth of tropical rainforests. The first are the small, mostly insect eating bats called Microchiroptera (micro-bats), which predominately use echolocation. While they depend entirely on vision to negotiate their environment, they appear to do so quite well even in inclement weather and on moonless nights. Tequila is made from the agave plant, which relies solely on bats to pollinate its flowers and reproduce. The products that we value from these plants are more than just fruits, including fibers and timbers that we use everyday.


Without nectar feeding bats not only would our environment suffer, but our way of living as well! She is the Communications Officer for the Australasian Bat Society and is working with Bat Conservation International on conservation projects in the Australasian region. They tangle in your hair, suck the blood from their victims and turn into vampires on dark and stormy nights.
Just think about how pleasant it will be to sit outside on a balmy, bug-free summer night watching the swoops and dips and squeaks of your very own nighttime entertainment.
These two criteria for bat house locations offer the inhabitants open, direct flight access and better protection from predators such as birds of prey and snakes. They offer a greater variation in interior temperatures and the space needed for females and their pups. Any wasp nests should be cleaned out each winter and new caulk and paint should be applied every three to five years. The threat of rabies is minimal, but bats can still give a nasty bite when frightened or provoked. While species of this group are found worldwide, nectar-feeding bats from this group only inhabit tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. While the bats certainly drink a lot of nectar from the agave plant, you don’t have to worry about them getting drunk! Flying foxes, nectar and fruit eating mega bats from Australia, pollinate the dry eucalyptus forests, which provide us with timber and oils that are shipped around the world. She also is currently a research student at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC.
Collect bat guano regularly with a shovel and gloved hands and dispose of it in your compost pile or garden beds.
To make tequila, the base or “heart” of the blue agave plant is steamed and minced before being fermented. Both have the rough surfaces bats need to grasp, although it doesn’t hurt to roughen the interior even more. This part of the plant is quite removed from the giant flower stalk that the bats come in search of.
The truth is, attracting bats to your backyard is one of the safest and most efficient methods out there for natural insect control. Modern methods of preservation that may no longer be harmful to humans may still be harmful to bats.




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