Did you know that bats are the only flying mammal? There are about 1,000 kinds of bats in the world, from the very small Bumblebee Bat in Thailand to the Flying Fox bat in Central and South America. Bats live in every part of the world except Antarctica.
A lot of people are scared of bats. When I was young, we thought bats would fly into your hair, which they don’t. Some thought bats were blind, which they are not. They see as well as you or me. Some think they all carry rabies when only a small number of bats actually do. Some people think bats will drink your blood. They won’t. The bats most people see flying near their homes in the nighttime in our area are the Little Brown Bat or the Big Brown Bat. When the weather turns cold these bats migrate to caves or mines and occasionally come out on warn winter days before returning to our neighborhoods in the Spring.
Only one young is born to a female bat each year. Unfortunately, their numbers are declining due to habitat loss, use of pesticides and insecticides on crops or direct persecution. The good thing about bats is that they can eat about 500 small insects like mosquitoes in an hour while on the wing. And while they are at it, they can fertilize our gardens with their droppings which are an excellent fertilizer. And if you enjoy melons, bananas, avocados for example, you can thank a bat called the Fruit Bat who lives south of our borders; while this bat is sipping nectar it is spreading pollen and helping to pollinate these plants better than any other animal could do.
While we are enjoying the bats in our yard, we can admire the way they use “echolocation” find their prey. Some people install bat houses in their yards to attract them to their property. You can find directions on how to install these houses on the internet.
One thing we don’t want is bats in our house. If this happens, call a professional to remove and release it and seal up any areas where the bat may have entered.
LEARN MORE about bats, beetles, bees, butterflies and other pollinators during Hillsborough’s celebration of Pollinator Week June 21-28, 2021. Details coming soon!
Buzzin’ Around is an educational project of the Hillsborough Garden Club in support of Hillsborough as the 35th Bee City USA. Bee City USA® galvanizes communities to sustain pollinators responsible for 1 in 3 bites of food we eat and the reproduction of almost 90% of the world’s flowering plant species – by providing them with healthy habitat, rich in a variety of native plants, and free to nearly free of pesticides. Bee City USA is an initiative of the Xerces Society. https://www.beecityusa.org.
For other gardening questions or to become a member of the Hillsborough Garden Club, please email us email@example.com or visit our website at www.hillsboroughgardenblubnc.org. All gardeners or would-be gardeners are welcome.