To jump-start National Pollinator Week (okay, so we’re on the very last day-last hour of it) the Pollinator Partnership (P2) introduced The Highways BEE Act. Because bees, butterflies, birds and bats bring us one in every three bites of food, pollinators form the essential underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable future… for all of us.
Over 250 national, regional, and local organizations and 2,500 American scientists and individuals from all walks of life across the nation have already signed a petition in support of the Highways BEE Act, H.R. 2738. Such legislation is designed to help cash-strapped states reduce roadside maintenance costs, while providing habitat for crucial pollinators. After all, without bats we might not have bananas or tequila! Almost exclusively, bats pollinate the agave plant which is where tequila is born! But in all seriousness, interested organizations, businesses and individuals can find out more and sign a petition in support of the legislation at http://www.pollinator.org/BEEAct.htm.
Providing habitat closer to home could include nixing the use of pesticides and manicured lawns, planting predominately native in the landscape, and the addition of bat houses on your property. If you already see the furry mammals (yes, they’re really mammals) fluttering around at dusk, chance are excellent they’ll take up residence in the new digs.
Like NABS (North American Bluebird Society) for approved bluebird houses and PMCA for purple martin houses, bat houses have OBC (The Organization for Bat Conservation). A wealth of knowledge for any questions bat-related, it’s a good idea to look for the OBC seal of approval when purchasing a new home for the furry friends.
Whether testing the waters with a smaller design, or full-on ready to host larger colonies, bat houses are available from single- to triple-chamber sizes. Although they may be post mounted (minimum 12- 15 feet high), most sources recommend mounting them on a structure or tree. Bats don’t require the open spaces that many birds prefer. They like to be close to things, which is why they sometimes end up in your attic!
With a growing public awareness for the plight of, and broader knowledge of the critical role pollinators play for crops and for the future, there’s a strong collective popularity developing. From manufacturing and marketing of bee keeping and bug hotels to thriving master gardener groups, bat houses have also kept right in stride. You’ll find them in traditional cedar, cypress, recycled plastics and vinyl/PVC. They’re good-looking enough to actually mount on the side of your home as a decorative accessory! So please house the bats and sign the petition mentioned above… for all of us and for future generations 🙂