Shelters for bats

In order to protect trees against harmful insects, Kalisz Forest District foresters have hung bat shelters.
28.12.2016 | Zbigniew Hudzia, Kalisz Forest District

In order to protect trees against harmful insects, Kalisz Forest District foresters have hung bat shelters.

Bats eat small amounts of harmful forest insects. Minimum daily demand for nourishment equals to 1/3 of their body weight. Bats are nocturnal animals. Most bat species can’t see after dusk. In order to survive in complete darkness bats use the sense of echolocation, in other words they make high frequency squeaking noises and listen to the echo of their own voice. Thanks to the sound analysis, bats agilely avoid obstacles and are able to catch an insect smaller than a mosquito. 

During winter, when there are no insects, bats staying in Poland take shelter in tree hollows, caves, basements or attics, where they fall in a so called winter sleep, that is they hibernate.

In this year Kalisz Forest District (RDSF in Poznań) foresters have hung 30 special shelters for those kind, flying mammals. Foresters marked three plots where they’ve placed 10 shelters per each plot.

Bat houses were hung on older tree stands at 4 metres.   

The first inspection of bat houses will be conducted in August next year. Then it will turn out whether shelters have been inhabited and which species have settled there, it will be also possible to assess the colony count and its lifespan.

Houses made of sawdust concrete, are resistant to weather conditions and to woodpecker activities, they are also easy to clean and are unattractive to birds, which enables to avoid competition during the settle. The sustainability of houses made of sawdust concrete amounts up to 25-30 years. Houses are to serve as shelters thought the year, contributing at the same time to bats’ reproduction. 

Bats may count on help not only within the area of Kalisz Forest District. Few months ago foresters from Oborniki Śląskie Forest District together with Environmental Foundation „pro Natura" has hung 150 shelters for bats.

The location of houses for those mammals was not selected accidentally. Houses were hung nearby places attacked by May beetles. Foresters have been fighting with this insect’s damages for many years.