The UK's bats are insectivores which make them fantastic at keeping bug numbers down on the smallholding. A single tiny pipistrelle will eat three thousand insects in just one night! Bats are excellent for keeping bugs away from crops and in fact they eat so many insects that they can even reduce the need for pesticides in some regions.

The bats’ mating season begins in October. Males use special calls of purrs, clicks, and buzzing to attract females. A great way to enjoy bats is to use a bat detector. Bat calls are too high-pitched for humans to hear and it’s a joy to be able to hear them.

Our smallholdings are an important source of food, water and shelter for bats. To make your land more bat friendly why not consider:

* Planting night-scented flowers and pale flowers that are more easily seen in poor light and attract moths at dusk

* Building a pond

* Creating linear features like hedgerows and tree lines to help bats navigate

* Reducing artificial lighting

As their habitats are under threat you may like to put up a bat box. You can buy or build bat boxes and if you do, bear the following in mind:

* Use untreated wood because bats are sensitive to smells and preservative chemicals may be harmful to them

* Bats hate draughts so make sure the joints on the box are tight

* They will need a slit at the back of the box with a rough piece of wood to grip to as they climb inside

* A large, deep cavern makes bats feel safe and keeps the air temperature constant so go as big as you can

Note: All bats and their homes are protected by law so it’s important you don’t disturb them. Watch and enjoy from a distance. If you don’t see any bats going in or out, look out for their black droppings underneath the entrance. They’re little dry pellets that crumble to dust.