Bat guano refers to fossilised manure that has been deposited by cave bats over centuries. Traditionally, the droppings of sea birds and bats were used as phosphate fertiliser but have only just started a come back because of other benefits. The term comes from the Quichua language of South America, where this substance has been in use for many years, especially in the ancient Andean civilizations. The Andean people have been using this organic manure for more than 1000 years. In fact, it is interesting to note that the ancient Inca had strict regulations for collecting the bird droppings and there was death punishment for anyone found disturbing the birds.
If you can overcome your inhibitions about using the manure of bats as nutrition for your garden, then you have in your hand a
great source for enriching the soil. There are several species of bats and only the droppings from insect and fruit eating species are used as manure. The droppings from the insect eating bats are richer in nitrogen concentration than the fruit eating bats. Therefore, while you are purchasing it is good to inquire about the species of bats from which the manure has been derived or better still, you read the chemical composition of the manure which is written on the final packaging of the fertiliser.
The guano is harvested deep inside caves where the bats dwell. It is necessary to get the bat guano from the cave dwelling bats as the droppings of tree dweller bats are less effective to be used as manure. Inside the caves, the droppings are protected from sunlight, wind and water, which is not the case for outdoor droppings.
The chemical ingredients of bat guano include nitrogen, calcium phosphorus, potassium and trace elements. The droppings can be used while fresh and also while it has been dried. In both ways it is equally beneficial for the soil. You can also make guano tea then add the liquid fertiliser to the soil. Making guano tea is quite simple and many farmers prefer to use it as it seeps deep into the soil and improves the root health of the plants. To make the tea all you have to do is to soak it over night and in the morning filter the supernate water, which is called the tea. The wet sediments are also further used as manure.
Main reasons why the bat droppings are a suitable fertiliser alternative:
- The bat droppings have a high percentage of nitrogen compare to sea bird guano. The other components of the manure include phosphorus, calcium and potassium. The higher nitrogen level promotes fast growth for plants. The phosphorus concentration aids in flower and roots development. Potassium is important to ensure overall growth of the plant.
- The droppings are also useful to improve soil quality as mixing it with soil improved the texture and drainage system of the soil. The guano can be used both to enrich soil quality and also during active plant growth.
- It is also great as a compost activator and they can be used to speed up the decomposition process, which again adds to the overall quality of the soil.
- Bat guano contains microbes that boost plant health.
- It is easy to use as it does not have a pungent odour like horse manure or cow dung.
It is a better alternative than chemical fertiliser and it has slow and fast release components. With the use of this natural manure you can avoid all harmful effects of chemical fertiliser. It will not only provide your plants a better environment for growth, but also enrich your soil long term.