Bat Houses for Integrated Pest Management-- Benefits for Bats and Organic Farmers: Phase I

Bats are helpful to farmers, as they consume large quantities of insect pests, but many bat species are declining due to loss of roost sites. Farmers can help bats by providing new roosts in the form of bat houses while at the same time benefiting from batsí pest reduction services. However, as much of the evidence for batsí roles in insect biocontrol is anecdotal, further studies are needed to better document batsí contributions to agriculture. For this study, ten organic farms in central California were selected in 2001 as installation sites for bat houses to initiate the first phase of an integrated pest management project. A total of 45 bat houses (25 on buildings, 20 on poles) were erected in June and August 2001 in a manner such that bat preferences could be tested to determine optimal design and mounting strategies for this region.