A bat house is a great investment if you think you have a bat population on your property. In this post, we will discuss why you should consider having some around your homestead property!
How To Create a Bat House the Right Way
Problems with Commercial Bat Houses
Before we talk about the right way to build a bat house, let’s discuss the problems with most bat houses you can find online for purchase. Unfortunately, most manufacturers and retail stores sell bat houses that are set up for failure before bats ever get a chance to move in. Sometimes the plans we find for free online are out of date and only set us up for failure with the bats.
There are 4 main reasons bats won’t take residence in your bat house:
- Poor design
- Poor construction
- Wrong placement
- Wrong colors
Poor Design/Construction in the Bat House
Problems with pre-made bat houses and plans:
- Bats prefer larger areas than most bat houses sold in retail stores allow for.
- Most houses have smooth insides which don’t allow for the bats to be able to grasp at anything.
- Stapled screening on the interior will eventually rust and fall off.
- Seams are not sealed, only nailed.
- Houses are not painted or sealed.
- Houses are too short and not enough opening is at the bottom.
- The roof has wood only and capable of retaining too much heat.
- Plans are antiquated and don’t reflect new knowledge about bats.
- Bat houses should be made larger to allow for proper ventilation.
- Interior surfaces should be roughened to allow bats to grip the walls, to climb, and hang.
- Do not use screening or staples in the interior.
- Place shingles over the roof to control heat.
- Paint exterior of the house according to your climate and to control internal temperature.
- Make sure all seams are sealed, simply nailing allows the house to warp.
- Plans to build a bat house should be an updated recent version.
Poor Placement of the Bat House
- Houses mounted on trees where they receive too much shade from overhead branches.
- Houses placed under the eaves of structures not getting enough sunlight exposure.
- Not being placed near a constant water source for the bats.
- Being placed in an area that bats are subjected to smoke, exhaust, and heavy winds.
- Placed near motion lights or dusk-to-dawn lights.
- Placed In too close proximity to a driveway or road.
- Place the bat house at least 10 ft off the ground on a pole.
- Face the house south-southeast.
- Place the house withing 1500 feet of a lake, pond, creek or river.
- Keep the house withing 10 to 30 feet of a tree line.
- Do not place near a traffic area to eliminate the danger of the bats getting hit by cars.
- Do not allow night-time lighting to shine into the bat house.
- Don’t allow the house to be near sources of smoke from fires or from car exhaust.
Poor Color Choice
There is an actual rule of thumb when it comes to choosing a color for your bat house. If you live in a Northern climate where the average temperature is below 85°, you should paint the house black and provide a black roof. If you live in a climate where the average temperature is 85° to 95°, you should use a dark shade of paint on the house and the roof. More southern climates with temperatures of 95° to 100° can use a medium shade of paint on both the house and the roof. Very hot climates of 100° and up should use light-colored paint. In very hot climates a tin roof should be used and an overhang should be in place.
Resources for Building a Bat House
You can find plans to build a bat house all over the internet. However, I have gathered a few resources to get you started below.
37 Free DIY Bat House Plans from Morning Chores
Fun Family Project: How To Build a Bat House from This Old House
Videos on YouTube:
How To Build a Bat House by Rob Mies
How To Build a Bat House by Modern Builds
Interesting Facts and Information About Bats
Bats emerge about 15 minutes before sunset and last for about thirty minutes before returning to the bat house. Bats also re-emerge about an hour or so before sunrise. At this time they seem to swarm as bees do before returning to the roost for the day. Most bats do not emerge during the day unless wanting a drink or being chased from their roost by an animal. Surprisingly, even if an expert removes bats from a bat house, the bats can return within a few weeks from as far as 400 miles away?
In many states, it is illegal to kill bats that are in buildings and houses. There are no legal chemicals developed for bats. If your exterminator says he is using a chemical you better have him checked out!
For more information about bat conservation, you can connect with Bat Conservation International. The organization offers membership on all levels and is very affordable. They offer classes, newsletters, a magazine a few times a year and plenty more.
Final Thoughts on How To Create a Bat House the Right Way
Bats can be very important to both humans and the environment. Read Why We Love Bats and You Should Too to learn more about these beneficial creatures of the night. Get started now placing bat houses on your property properly and ensure a hardy population of bats! Do you have bat houses currently? Tell me about them in the comments below!