A while back, I wrote a post about the bat house we had installed in an oak tree in our front yard. It had taken several years, but a bat family finally moved into that house and we have been delighted ever since with next to no mosquitoes in our front yard – or anywhere on our property for that matter.
This is the first summer where I can’t remember a single time that a mosquito has been loose in the house! We’ve had a few ant bites to deal with and one wasp sting this season, but no mosquito bites – and this is summer in wet, rainy Florida with lots of standing water around and ponds close to full. Can you believe it?
I obviously am quite taken with the effectiveness of our little bat family.
You can imagine my disbelief when, just a few weeks ago, the oak tree where our precious bat house resides died!
That’s right, dead as a doorknob.
Either hit by lightning or some oak tree disease that just progressed to a point where the entire tree bit the dust in less than a week, limb by limb turning brown as I watched in helpless dismay.
What to do? I couldn’t bear the thought of cutting that tree down, but down it had to come. Could the bat house be saved? Would the bats mind if we tried to move the house to another tree?
All options were on the table to keep our little bat friends in the neighborhood.
After discussing various possibilities with a local tree service company, we finally decided to cut the tree down to just above the bat house.
In other words, we chose to “top” the tree and leave the trunk standing for the time being. A bit unsightly, yes, but I wanted the bats more than I wanted a perfect, treelined yard or mosquito spraying of the neighborhood.
Topping the tree eliminates the danger of falling limbs, but does not disturb the bat house. We will be installing a second bat house nearby to the first and hope a second bat family moves in or our original bat family moves to the other house. Then, we will cut down the rest of the tree.
Hopefully, this will all transpire in a year or two before the trunk rots to the point where we have no choice but to cut it down along with the bat house.
How will we know when the new house is occupied? Bat guano at the base of the tree is a very good sign.
Hopefully, this strategy will work to keep the bats around. I couldn’t bear to lose them. They are certainly the best mosquito control I’ve ever come across.
UPDATE: As it turns out, we did have to chop that tree down, but our bat friends found a new home close by!