When thinking about how to help bats in your garden or green space, think bed and breakfast. Bats will need somewhere to live that’s safe (e.g. bat boxes/access tiles to roofs, or natural roosts like trees) and a good quality feeding resource nearby. Since all UK bats come out at night to eat insects, consider features such as water and plants that attract a range of nocturnal insects,

Create a variety of food sources

Providing bed and breakfast

Cover of our 'Stars of the Night' leaflet

All UK bat species eat insects so a garden rich in insects is great for bats. The main secret of attracting bats to your garden is to make insects available all year round. See below some things you can do to attract more bat food in your garden:

  • Extend the flowering season to make sure there is food from early spring (when bats come out of hibernation) to late Autumn (when bats are building up their fat reserves in preparation for going into hibernation).
  • Plant nectar-rich plants, trees and shrubs.
  • Plant pale, night-scented flowers which will attract insects at night.
  • Build a pond or another water feature.
  • Create a compost heap to attract insects.
  • Leave hollow stems for overwintering insects.
  • Build a bug hotel.
  • Leave a patch of grass uncut and turn it into a wildflower meadow.
  • Provide a variety of plant heights and flower shapes to create structure.
  • Let your garden go a little wild.
  • Avoid bringing chemicals in.

Download our 'Stars of the Night' leaflet for more tips and instructions on how to create a bug hotel, pond, compost and more!

Providing bed and breakfast

Image from our Stars of the Night leaflet

Helping bats when you don't have a garden

If you live in an urban area and only have a small balcony or windowsill there are still things you can do to help bats:

  • Consider a vertical herb garden, it's great for smaller spaces and attracts insects at night.
  • You can still have a variety of pale and scented flower growing in pots.
  • Climbers are great for structure too.
  • You may not have space for a pond but you can still create a small water feature.

Download our 'Encouraging bats' leaflet for more tips about gardening, including some plant species to get you started!

Provide a safe roosting space

Providing bed and breakfast

A Kent bat box

Bats do not make nests, but choose various places throughout the year to roost. Bats roost in houses, both new and old but some species prefer hollow trees, or caves. In buildings they often shelter behind hanging tiles and boarding or in roof spaces. Some things you can do:

  • Retain natural features that could be used as roosts.
  • Put up a bat box or a bat access tile.

Everything you need to know about bat boxes, including how to make your own, can be found on this page.

Another important thing to consider when creating a haven for bats is keeping cats indoors at night. Cats don’t eat bats, but they do like to play with them. If bitten, a bat is unlikely to survive as cat's saliva can cause an infection. Cats are also very clever and can easily find out the entrance/exit to a bat roost, and will return to it to catch bats as they leave the roost.