“We need some bat houses,” I told my husband one evening after spending a few hours in the backyard donating blood to hungry mosquitoes. “I’ve never been crazy about bats, but if they could make our yard habitable for humans in the evening again, I’m willing to roll out a welcome mat.”
A few days later, we found exactly what we needed at a nature store in a nearby town: wooden bat boxes.
“This one will accommodate up to 150 bats,” the store’s owner informed us, holding up one from her inventory. Then she picked up another. “And this one will house 300.”
I looked at the relatively small boxes, no more than about five inches deep and eighteen inches high. I imagined hundreds of little bats stuffed in the box, ready to swoop out and devour mosquitoes.
“Let’s get these two boxes to start,” I said to my husband. “I need to work into this whole bat landlord concept before we host a colony of thousands, however. Four hundred and fifty? I can do that.”
“And you need guano to attract the bats,” the helpful woman added. “It comes with the houses.”
I gave her a look of disbelief, not to mention disgust. “You’re going to give us guano?” I tried to figure out how we would be able to breathe in the car on the way home.
“It comes in dry packs,” she said. “You just add water.”
Okay then, I thought. We could do this, even though somehow, I’d just never imagined myself paying for bat sh….guano. But I’ve been working at expanding my horizons since we moved to the Texas Hill Country to live closer to nature. Rehydrating guano was simply going to be another new experience.
“The guano is free,” the store owner assured us with a big smile as she rang up our purchase.
Good to know. I was not going to have to pay for dried bat excrement after all. Yet, for some unfathomable reason, that didn’t especially make me any more excited about the prospect of reconstituting and actually applying the stuff.
A few days later, my husband nailed the bat houses into place among our trees and (may God bless him richly all the days of his life!) prepared and spread the guano on the little roofs. So far, I haven’t actually seen any bats enter or exit our houses, but our neighbor has observed bats flying around our yard, so I’m optimistic that we’re on the bats’ radar now, and that by next mosquito season, we’ll have our own squadron of airborne vigilantes.
Which leaves only one thing missing in our newly-friendly bat yard: the bat signal.
I’m checking online for it now…