Bats are the only flying mammals. Bats are extremely beneficial because they eat enormous numbers of insects. The numbers of bats have decreased because of disturbances to their colonies while they are hibernating and when mothers are nursing offspring. Bats are considered an indicator species, which means that their presence, abundance and diversity reflects the health of an ecosystem.
Bats have very few natural enemies. Their dependence on wetlands for foraging, mature trees and snags for roosting, and caves and mines for hibernating exemplifies the need to protect these types of natural resources.
By putting up a bat house you are helping our bats find a home. You will also benefit from having fewer yard and garden pests and will enjoy learning about bats and sharing your knowledge with friends and family.
As the primary predators of night-flying insects, bats play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature. Bats are consumers of vast numbers of pests and they rank among humanity’s most valuable allies. A single little brown bat can catch hundreds of mosquito-sized insects an hour.
Bats are not blind and they are very clean. They do not get caught in peoples’ hair or eat through the attic of your house. Bats will not interfere with feeding backyard birds, and they will not be disrupted by pets or children.
There are 15 bat species native to Washington. The Washington Department of Wildlife lists nine bat species as "Species of Special Concern". The Townsend's big-eared bat is one of our rarest Puget Sound bats. They are very dependent on caves, where they hibernate and raise their young. This bat is extremely sensitive to human disturbance - entire established colonies have disappeared following disturbance.
Bats you're likely to see (or hear) around the Puget Sound area:
• Little Brown Myotis, Myotis lucifugus(pictured above)
• Yuma Myotis, Myotis yumanensis
• Keen's Myotis, Myotis keenii
• Long-eared Myotis, Myotis evotis
• Long-legged Myotis, Myotis volans
• California Myotis, Myotis californicus
• Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus
• Silver-haired Bat, Lasionycteris noctivagans
• Hoary Bat, Lasiurus cinereus
• Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Corynorhinus Townsendii
Additional Washington State Bats:
• Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus
• Fringed Myotis, Myotis thysanodes
• Small-footed Myotis, Myotis ciliolabrum
• Western Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus hesperus
• Spotted Bat, Euderma maculatum
• Bats' slow reproduction rate makes them exceptionally vulnerable to extinction; most species of female bats give birth to only one young each year.
• Bats are an important predator of night-flying insects. They consume mosquitos, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, locusts, and other insects.
• More than 50% of American bat species are in severe decline or already listed as endangered.
• Loss of bats increases demand for chemical pesticides, can jeopardize whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species, and can harm human economies.
• A colony of 150 big brown bats has been known to protect local farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
• Bat droppings in caves support whole ecosystems of unique organisms, including bacteria useful in detoxifying waters, improving detergents, and producing gasohol and antibiotics.
Cedar Bat House:
Size: 12 X 4.25 X 17.5 inches
Made in the USA.
The cedar bat house is made of long lasting red cedar with a single chamber large enough for 20 bats. The interior surface and landing platform is made of rough hewn cedar and is grooved to make it easy for bats to cling when roosting and landing. It may be mounted using the included zinc-plated deck screws and pre-drilled holes or pole mounted.
The Gentle Bee - Orchard Mason Bee:
This small black gentle bee is a native of almost the entire continental United States. Mother Nature's great spring pollinator, the orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria), was pollinating the fruits and flowers of the continent for millions of years before the first colonists brought the honey bee to North America.
This bee is not a hive dwelling social bee like the honey bee. It lays individual eggs in a mud walled cell that it has provisioned with pollen and nectar. Because it can not make it's own hole, it depends upon others for the nest site. In nature it frequently lays it's eggs in abandoned beetle holes in the old growth forest. In cities it will use the spaces between shingles on a dwelling or any other small holes it can find. If we provide proper holes for egg laying, the Orchard Mason is very easy to propagate at home. They are completely non-aggressive and perfectly safe to raise in your backyard. In my yard with children and dogs we all happily coexist. The males don't even have stingers and the females will only use theirs in times of true distress. In fact, unless you actually squeeze one of the females between your fingers, it is almost impossible to get stung.
The female Orchard Mason Bee visits flowers to collect pollen for its young. She forms a small ball of pollen and nectar in the back of the nesting tube and lays an egg on the ball. She then collects mud to form a cell partition and repeats the pollen ball-egg laying process until she reaches the mouth of the tube where she caps the end with mud. Starting the life cycle in the spring, adult males emerge from tubes first, but must wait for the later appearance of the females in order to mate. This event often coincides with the redbud (Cercis) or Pieris bloom. Females alone, begin founding new nests in holes to make a row of 5-10 cells in each nest. Females collect the pollen and nectar and lay eggs. Their short foraging range is about 100 yards from the nest. Activity continues 4-6 weeks and then adults die. During the summer, larvae develop inside the nests, make cocoons, and become new adults resting in the cells. With the onset of fall, the adults become dormant as they go into hibernation. These bees require some cold temperatures before spring in order to break their dormancy
The orchard mason bee is non-aggressive and will sting only if handled roughly or if it should get trapped under clothing. It is less objectionable than the honey bee as a pollinator in urban areas and should be encouraged. Efforts are being made experimentally to develop large populations of these bees to use as a supplement to honey bees for fruit pollination
Solitary Bee House $24.95
Provide a home for one of nature's best pollinators. Of the more than 20,000 species of bees, two of the most common are the blue orchard bee and the horn-faced bee. One-half to two-thirds the size of a honey bee, these passive bees live only six to eight weeks but lay eggs in this house. The eggs remain dormant through the fall and winter, and offspring emerge in the spring to pollinate plants. Hangs near the garden and requires no maintenance.