|Our work to hopefully bring more bats to the farm
We want to encourage bats to our farm to help us in dealing
with insect pests that are active at night, such as the Light
Brown Apple Moth. We see very few bats in the evening at our
farm. So we decided to start by putting up a bat box and a
source of water for the bats since the nearest permanent
water source is more than a quarter mile away from the
property. We sought advice and information from U.S.
National Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service.
Our research indicated we needed at least a 12 foot water
source about 3 feet wide to satisfy 80% of the available bat
species. Bats drink on the fly, skimming over the water to do
so. We learned the other 20% of bats that need longer
expanses of water to drink, also fly greater distances each
night. Therefore, it is possible these faster flying bats could
be encouraged to visit our farm as well, even if they can't drink
from our water trough. Additionally, we learned we also
needed to be sure to provide escape options for bats and
other animals that might fall in the water trough.
Using information from our research, we put up a bat house
that should house 200+ bats and carefully placed the house
based on the research. The picture to the left shows the bat
house before we built the water trough. You can see the wood
for the water trough in the background on the right. After we
put up the house, we constructed the water trough pond from
salvaged wood on our property. In the below left photo you
can also see the pole for the bat house in the backgound.
At the bottom edge of the above right photo you can see a portion of the escape ramp for any bat or small animal that falls in the
trough/pond. This edge of the trough/pond is slanted at a 45 degree angle into the trough, making it easier for any small
animals to climb out. You may also be able to see on the water trough/pond photos that there are some flat rocks in the water,
which could also be used as an escape ramp. Goldfinch and other birds use these rocks to stand on and drink. In the photo
below, you can see another pond visitor who comes for a drink.
Bobcats in the area (or maybe it is just one) come to visit the water trough for
drinks a few times per month. Other animals have been spotted visiting too
- coyotes, raccoons, skunks, deer, a gray fox, an owl, bats, turkey vultures,
red tail hawks, and many goldfinch. You can see from the photo at the left,
that a bobcat brought her cub to the pond too.