Dear Uncle Joe:

My neighbor recently told me that he will be demolishing the old barn at the back of his property. I’m concerned about the bats who are now living there and will have no place to go once the barn is torn down. Is there something I can do for them?


Malaga, NJ.

Dear Adam:

Thank you for caring about the well being of the bats! There is indeed something you can do, and the sooner you take action the better chance you have of keeping the bats around.

First, speak to your neighbor and make sure he will not be killing the bats. If he does not care about their fate, remind him that bats can help keep a yard free of mosquitoes. According to  a single little brown bat can catch 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour. Bats are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, in part because they are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size, most producing only one young annually. More than 50% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide. These are some very good reasons to have bats around.

You can encourage the bats to move from your neighbor’s barn to the safety of your property my mounting bat houses on your trees. Plans for a simple bat house can be found at the  website, or you can buy them at your local garden center or agricultural supply store.

The houses should ideally have a southern exposure and mounted 15-20 feet up a tree or on a pole. You should expect the bat houses to remain vacant for several months before bats begin to call it home. A common single-chamber bat house is capable of housing 50 bats, while a larger multi-chamber design can attract colonies of 200 or more.

With a little effort you can be sure that the bats on your neighbor’s property will have a safe place to relocate once their current home is taken down.


Uncle Joe


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