How to Attract Bats to Your Yard and Why You Want Them There!

Last Updated on May 15, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster

There are many reasons for wanting bats in your backyard.  But, just because you want them there, doesn’t mean they will come!  Here are a few tips on how to attract bats to your backyard.  And some interesting bat facts about why you want them there!

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bat in tree and box house in back yard

Why Is the Bat Population Decreasing?

Years ago, my family went caving in Kentucky.  We learned quite a bit about the plants and animals in the surround areas and the guide was passionate about bats.  The bat population in many areas is decreasing due to the spread of numerous fungal illnesses and a serious loss of habitat.  

Learning how to attract bats to your yard can be a great way to do your part to support the local bat population.  You may think they are a bit intimidating but honestly, they need our help if they are going to thrive!  Here are a few ways to attract bats to your yard and a few reasons why you really DO want them to live there!

How to Attract Bats to Your Yard and Why You Want Them There!

Benefits of Having Bats

Bats seem to have a really bad reputation but here are a few reasons you want to encourage them to take up residence in your yard:

  • They eat millions and millions of mosquitos every night.
  • Bats help eliminate pests that may attack your garden produce, thus helping you reduce your need for pesticides.
  • They are more effective seed dispersers than birds. Bats eat loads of fruits and berries and then spread the seeds far and wide when they poop.
  • Bat poop (guano) is a great fertilizer.
  • Bats are actually pollinators.  Certain species help pollinate the flowers of the fruits we eat.  These include bananas, breadfruit, avocados, dates, figs, peaches, mangoes and many others.

small brown bat on a tree

How to Attract Bats to Your Yard

When many people think about bats, they envision huge colonies of them living in caves.  This is true in many instances, however, many bats will be happy to call your backyard home, even if you don’t have your own personal cave.  Here are just tips on how to attract bats to your yard.

More Backyard Tips

Know Which Bats You Want to Attract!

Contact Bat Conservation International for more information. Creating the perfect environment means that you need to know which species you are trying to attract.

Give them a water source:

Like all mammals, bats need a water source and will make their homes in nearby areas. If you don’t have a natural water source nearby,  install a birdbath or fountain to attract more bats to your backyard.

yellow flowers

How to Put Your Garden to Work:

Certain fragrant flowers and herbs attract night-feeding insects, which, in turn, will attract bats to your yard.  Also, consider planting night blooming flowers since nighttime is when bats are most active.  Try planting dahlia, marigolds, evening primrose, thyme, or honeysuckle.

Thyme is one of my favorite herbs to grow.  Not only is it delicious in your food but you can make an easy  Lemon and Thyme Gardener Hand Scrub or make some Lemon and Thyme Infused Sea Salt.

Attract Bats by Building (Or Buying) A Bat House:

Bat houses are like miniature caves for bats.  They like enclosed spaces for sleeping, preferably one that will allow them to hang out with their friends while they rest.  Check out the World Wildlife Federation for tips on how to build a bat house or shop for bat houses on Amazon.

Where is the best place to put a bat house? Mount them least 10 feet above ground.  12 to 20 feet is even better. Make sure you hang bat houses in a sunny location on the East or South facing side of your house. Bat houses ideally need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. If only partial day sun is available,  morning sun is preferable if possible. 

Can you buy bats to put in your new bat house?  Um, no.  Sorry. Bats are a protected species and  it is illegal to buy, own, or sell them. If you want them in your backyard, you’ll have to attract them the old fashioned way. 

bat houses in a tree

Skip the Pesticides for Bat Health:

Nature is one big, giant cycle of life.  If you use chemical pesticides to destroy the bugs in your yard, bats aren’t going to come hang out in your yard.  You just killed off their food source.  Skip the pesticides to ensure that the bats have plenty to eat.  If you DO have to use a pesticide in your garden, make sure you choose only organic pesticides to protect bats from harmful chemicals.

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Bats are not the scary, blood-sucking creatures that they are portrayed as on television.  There are a lot of benefits of having bats in your backyard!  With the warmer weather coming, now is the perfect time to build your bat house, plant some insect attracting flowers and set up your backyard water source!  Now that you know how to attract bats to your yard, you are well on your way to becoming a card carrying naturalist!

Do you have a bat house in your yard?

(NOTE: post updated and content added from previous publish date)

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bats and bat houses on a tree

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  1. You got my attention for sure. Wow, had no idea that there were so many reason we should attract bats to our yard. Thanks for educating me and will pass along the information
  2. I never thought we can have a symbiotic relationship with Bats. Why Not? They very much belong to our group..'The Mammals' :)
  3. My kids and I love bats (as long as they stay out of our house...) A bat house is definitely on our todo list this summer. Thanks for the great tips!
  4. Deborah L. Roling says
    I wish someone could tell me exactly how to get rid of bats. They are always coming in the house. In fact I had one the other day and it was sleeping on the ceiling in the daytime. This has been the worst year so far.
    • Diane Hoffmaster says
      Wow! I love having them OUTSIDE but I agree, I do not want them in my house! I wonder if you need to have someone come in and patch up some holes?
  5. CaseyMarie says
    I.m unsure where to put ours. From what read, you aren.t supposed to attach the house to a tree. Any advice would be most appreciated!
    • Diane Hoffmaster says
      i have seen many attached to trees although I have also seen this not recommended on some sites. . I have also seen them on metal poles I think, but that seems to be a lot more work. Here is a site that may help
  6. Sheryl Smith says
    BatBat houses should NOT go on trees (you won't get any bats). Trees attract predators so bats will avoid that. They should be quite a ways away and 16 - 20' in the air.
    • Diane Hoffmaster says
      Thanks for that tip! Interesting. I wonder why it is okay for them to live in trees but not put bat houses on trees. Fascinating tidbit!

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