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Preference in bat house design by the evening bat (nycticeius humeralis) (pdf download available)

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Factors that increase bat house success include appropriate external color, large landing areas, and mounting on buildings in areas with low disturbance, and low canopy cover

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However, little research has been conducted to determine the most effective design for attracting specific species of bats

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We attempted to create roosting sites specifically for evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis).

Preliminary findings from our research, as well as published information on evening bats, suggest that they may be especially beneficial in pest suppression because they forage within the canopy of pecan orchards, have small foraging ranges, prefer orchards with old pecan trees, and consume pecan nut casebearer (Acrobasis nuxvorella) moths, one of the most devastating nut-feeding insects that occur in pecans

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In addition, evening bats are thought to be in decline due to loss of old growth forest habitat.

We tested two commonly used bat house designs for their effectiveness in attracting and maintaining colonies of evening bats

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We installed nine pairs of bat houses in three organic pecan orchards in central Texas.

Each pair consisted of one two-chamber rocket box and one standard medium three-chamber house.

We monitored each house for evening bat occupancy by documenting the presence of guano beneath the roost, visually monitoring the bats inside the house during the day, and recording echolocation calls during nightly emergences.

Preliminary results suggest that evening bats prefer rocket boxes to standard bat houses.

These findings will allow us to better attract this species to conventional pecan orchards and other areas where there are no large, old trees with suitable roosting cavities.

These cavities are beneficial to farmers wishing to reduce pests in pecan orchards and to evening bats that require suitable roost sites to sustain viable populations..

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