2019 Oaklyn Green Team Bat House Pilot
Bats are immensely beneficial animals who have been declining in numbers lately. They eat many night flying insects such as beetles, moths and mosquitoes The Oaklyn Green Team wanted to help our little mosquito eating friends in any way we could, so we decided to start installing bat houses around town.
The first house was erected in early May of 2019 on the east side of town just off of the swampy area of the lake near the pumping station on Bettlewood Ave. This location was ideal. It is close to a vast water source and tree cover, but free of trees southeast of the bat house. In addition, there’s plenty of clear space underneath the bat house for the bats to navigate after leaving, and the wooden pole is not situated too close to the water level, ensuring adequate drainage. If you would like to come view the new bat house, visit that section of the park, walk toward the lake and look to the left. It’s in the host’s back yard up on the hill. Hopefully, the house will soon have inhabitants and you’ll be able to view their nightly exit around sunset.
For this pilot run, we decided to purchase a 4-chamber bat house from Bat Conservation & Management, which is in the middle of their range of available sizes. We weren’t sure of the local bat population size just yet, so we didn’t know how much space we would need. Picking too large of a bat house could cause it to be drafty if the population isn’t large enough to generate sufficient body heat. The 4 chamber box accommodates approximately 140 bats depending on species. The houses from BCM have a solid plastic exterior shell which reduces draftiness and the need to repair and replace it as often as all-wood boxes would require. Also, fewer external seams would reduce rain from seeping in, keeping the bats warmer, drier and healthier.
We’re hoping that our new bat friends will help reduce the population of night flying mosquitoes in the area.
However, these bats may not make a significant dent in our huge day flying mosquito problem. For that, we’re considering the possibility of building dragonfly habitats as well (which are a bit more persnickety and need much more space). By helping to boost the local bat and dragonfly populations, we hope to reduce or eliminate the need to use chemical pesticides to kill mosquitoes in our town.
How can you help?
- If you would like to host a bat house on your Oaklyn or Oaklyn adjacent property, but don’t know if your location is suitable or where to situate it, feel free to contact us and we can help.
Ideally your house would be within 1,500 feet of a permanent water source. We can also give you some tips on installing the bat house based on our experiences with this initial installation.
- Plant a diverse array of host plants on your property to encourage healthy populations of beetles and night flying moths which will in turn feed the bats. Nectar sources are great, but don’t forget about plants that are food for the caterpillars and larvae too!
- Participate in the summer bat count
- Learn what to do if you find a bat in your house or on the ground.
A single bat can eat up to 8,000 insects each night
Oaklyn Green Team members and our partners work to install bat house near Newton Lake Park in Oaklyn