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

This was the first phase of a long-term study. We are encouraged that many of the bat houses were inhabited this early in the project, especially considering that they were installed in June and August. Occupancy may have been higher in 2001 if houses had been installed before March, before maternity colonies had formed. We are also pleased that two of the plastic insulated houses were used. At three other sites in 2001, two in Texas, and one in Wyoming, bats also used this Maberry design. Additional monitoring will be needed in 2002 and 2003 to determine bat preferences for each model, color, and placement, and to determine overall how successful Phase I of the project will be, as it often takes several years for bats to be attracted and for colonies to become established. We expect the occupancy rate and overall numbers of bats to improve considerably over the next several years. At this point, further investigations into batsí roles in crop pest reduction can begin (Phase II). Continued monitoring will enable us to determine if any adjustments are needed, such as moving or repainting houses to improve our results. As we could not hope to complete Phase I in just one year, BCI will continue to update the Organic Farming Research Foundation on the bat house projectís progress.