Bat in the tropical rainforest Malaysia Langkawi.
Bats have really gotten a bad wrap. Thanks to horror movies and fear of rabies, most people mistakenly believe bats are out to swoop down and attack a person, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
The vast majority of bats want nothing to do with humans and are much more scared of us than we are of them. What bats do like is snacking on insects. Each night as dusk bats awaken from their slumber to feed. One little bat can consume up to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single night. In addition to helping control mosquitoes on your property, bats are also excellent pollinators.
You can encourage bats to move in next door by building and installing a bat house. Sure, you can buy one ready-made, but where’s the fun in that? Building a bat house is a simple DIY project for kids and adults.
Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need to Build a Bat House
Before you begin building you’ll need to gather together a few tools and supplies. There are many different bat house designs, however they can all be built using the same basic materials.
- Table saw or handsaw
- Caulking gun
- Variable speed reversing drill
- ¼” drill bit
- Tape measurer or yardstick
- Staple gun
- Spring clamps
- Safety glasses
- 2-by-4-foot section of ½-inch exterior-grade plywood
- One 6-foot 1×2
- ½-inch deer netting
- Exterior latex paint (black and another dark color)
- Low-VOC adhesive caulk
- 1-inch deck screws
- ⅜-inch staples
- 3½-inch deck screws
The Basic Steps to Building a Bat House
Below you’ll find a quick overview of the basic steps to building a bat house. For detailed instructions, check out this great bat house building guide by This Old House. (The design calls for making a bat cutout at the bottom with a jigsaw, which is optional.)
Step 1. Measure the plywood (twice) then make your cuts for the walls.
Step 2. Cut the wood strips that will go between the plywood panels and create the roof.
Step 3. Caulk and then screw the wood strips onto the top and sides of the plywood that will be used for the back of the bat house.
Step 4. Paint all of the pieces and let them dry.
Step 5. Attach the deer netting to the interior of the back wall.
Step 6. Screw the plywood for the front wall to the side and top wood strips.
That’s it! In a single day you can build your bat house and have it ready to hang before sunset.
Where to Put Your Bat House
Once the bat house is built you have to install it in the right spot if you want to attract bats. There are a few places you can put the house to encourage bats to climb inside.
Near a dead tree – We always recommend that homeowners remove dead trees to avoid a termite infestation. However, if there is a dead tree on your property it should naturally attracts bats that like to burrow under the loose bark. Putting your bat house near a dead tree will put it in the path of bats that are looking for a home. (NOTE: Putting the house in a dead tree is not recommended.)
Side of a building that gets sunlight – Another good location for your bat house is the side of your house, garage or any other structure that gets at least six hours of light a day.
On a pole – In hot areas bats will also roost in bat house that’s installed on a pole.
No matter where you install the bat house it should be at least 10 feet off the ground, however, closer to 20 feet is ideal. The higher you install the house the more attractive it will be to bats. You may also want to consider installing multiple bat houses together. After a decade of research the Bat Conservatory (BatCon) has found that when bat houses are installed in groups of 3-4 they are more likely to be used.
Not enough bats to consume all the yard pests on your property? We may not have sonar, but at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. we do have sophisticated tools and techniques that can handle any infestation. Give us a call today to see why we’re a top-rated pest control company in Central Alabama.