Your Personal Insect Patrol Squad
My sister, one of the delights of my life, gave me a bat house for Christmas. No, I didn't open a wrapped present this early. I have (slightly) more self control than that. The package, in its standard-issue brown cardboard box was clearly labeled by the company: The OBC Bat House. I'm not
. Clearly, the box covered a bat house. My powers of deductive reasoning have once again overwhelmed the populace.
The OBC is the
. And I urge you to go their website now, at once, without delay--and gift yourself a bat house for Christmas. If you prefer
, go for it. The first link will mean a slightly higher price, with the extra dollars going into bat conservation and research. The second link will contribute a tiny amount to this blog. Do what your heart tells you. Either way, you are helping a species in urgent distress. As long as you follow the directions that come with your box. More on that in a moment.
I wrote about white nose fungus and the devastating effect it is having on bat populations. Bats are both pollinators and insect control assassins capable of consuming tons (truly) of insects. Researchers are currently faced with walking through hundreds of corpses in caves that are homes to bats because of the impact of this disease. Worse, they are helpless to stop the spread within caves.
Which brings us to bat houses. White Nose Fungus can be spread by "cavers" who spelunk in caves--not intentionally, mind you-- or from other bats already infected. (Spelunking is one of the possible ways that the fungus has spread between caves, as opposed to bat-to-bat transmission.) Providing quantities of a housing option that is not infected with the fungus may be one of the only ways available to help protect this species that so greatly benefits our own welfare.
Now. The reason you should buy this house for Christmas (and get it hung) is because the box needs time to "season." This is fine wine we're dealing with here. When our bat friends come off their migration vacation in March (or later), they'll need places to roost. These particular boxes claim an 80% occupancy rate--so The OBC's research into proper bat house architecture has obviously been diligent. The second photo here shows the nylon mesh inside the OBC bat house--a safer option than standard metal screening. Furthermore, they have provided extensive instructions to help you select a good site for your bat house. Don't waste your cash on what might otherwise be nothing more than a fashion statement--choose a house bats will use. And thanks for your help. Spread the word!