How to attract bats to your yard

Fed up with mosquitoes? Bats can help.

How to attract bats to your yard

It’s unfair how bad a rap bats get. Between the vampire films, spooky decorations, and blood-sucking ghost stories, you’d think they were all out to get us. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Bats are relatively harmless and rarely bite humans unless provoked — so don’t poke!

Forget their fearsome reputation and consider trying to attract bats rather than avoid them. If you garden or spend a lot of time outside, bats are quite beneficial. Most North American bats eat insects and can gobble up over 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. That means an ordinary colony of 75 bats can devour up to 75,000 insects in just 60 minutes — talk about pest control!

Another perk: bat droppings, otherwise known as guano, act as a nutrient-dense fertilizer, making that garden of yours thrive like never before.

So how can you bring bats to your neighborhood? Like all creatures, bats seek food, water, and shelter. Here’s how to make your backyard move-in ready for these productive creatures.

1. Find out what bats live nearby.

How to attract bats to your yard

If you’re in an urban area, it’ll be harder to spot bats. You might want to reach out to a bat enthusiast group or locate an expert leading local walks. Contact the Bat Conservation International for more information. A little research can go a long way toward creating an appealing environment for local bats.

2. Offer a water source.

How to attract bats to your yard

Bats can lose 50% of body weight in water in a single day, according to Bat Conservation International’s Water for Wildlife program; even desert species periodically need H20.

Unsurprisingly, having a pond or water feature on your property then makes it very enticing for bats. If you don’t have a natural water source nearby, Penn State Extension recommends installing a birdbath or fountain to attract more bats to your backyard.

3. Let your garden act as a magnet.

How to attract bats to your yard

Make your garden work for you while you sleep. Fragrant flowers, herbs, and night-blooming plants attract nocturnal insects, which, in turn, lure bats. The more insects, the better.

Try planting dahlia, French marigold, nicotiana, evening primrose, thyme, raspberry, or honeysuckle. Pale-colored blooms also have a good chance of bringing in bugs.

4. Buy or build a bat house.

How to attract bats to your yard

To attract bats to roost in your yard, you’ll need a place for them to call home — a bat house! Buy one online (like this popular Applewood Outdoor Premium Bat House), at your local home improvement store, or build one yourself. DIYers can download this single-chamber bat house plan from Bat Conservation International’s site.

Here’s how to make a home fit for a bat:

Choose the right location.
Mount the bat house on a pole or on the side of a building. Tree-mounted homes are a no-no, since they’re easily accessible to predators and offer too much shade.

Bats need height to drop down before they catch flight, so the bat house must be high enough (at least 15 feet) for them to fly away without running into a predator on their downward journey.

Keep it small.
Bats like narrow, tight spaces to call home, similar to the space between a tree trunk and its bark. Since they don’t build nests like birds, they won’t need room for nesting materials. Instead, ensure the surface inside is slightly rough, making it easy for them to claw up.

Maintain an ideal temperature.
Bats prefer warmer climates between 85 and 100° Fahrenheit. Position the bat home facing south to southeast. That way, the bat house catches the heat and warms up when the sun rises.

Do a security check.
The bat house provides a respite from wind and rain, not to mention dangerous predators. Inspect it regularly from spring to early fall to make sure no bees or wasps have taken up shop.

You’ll know your bat home is a success and the bats have taken up residence when droppings begin appearing around the house on the ground.

5. Guard your own home.

How to attract bats to your yard

Before you put out the welcome mat for bats, make sure you’re not accidentally inviting them into your own home. Bats and humans are more compatible when they aren’t sharing residency. Since bats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter, you’ll want to seal up any openings around your own house. Bats love particularly old homes with lots of nooks and crannies and often move into attics.

February 2, 2021 By Christina

Nothing can be more annoying that having pesky insects infesting your backyard spaces. It makes it less appealing to enjoy the outdoors, and insects can destroy gardens and plants. If you are looking for a natural insect and pest deterrent, you might consider attracting bats to your backyard.

This article will break down all the necessary tools and tricks you might need to lure bats to your backyard. They’ll rid you of your insect problem in no time!

Table of Contents

Why are Bats Good for your Backyard?

Bats are essentially nature’s version of pest and bug control. Got a mosquito problem? Bats are the answer! Bats snack on mosquitos, moths, gnats, mayflies, beetles, and wasps all night long! The North American brown bat, for example, can catch and eat up to 600 insects an hour! That is far more efficient than the store bough electronic bug zapper!

Another reason to call bats to your backyard is that their bat droppings (also called guano) can greatly enrich your garden soil! Guano is rich in nitrogen, which makes for a fabulous fertilizer. Additionally, bats are pollinators!

They are as skilled at moving pollen from flower to flower as your local bumblebees! Therefore, bats will help pollinate and rejuvenate your plants, flowers, fruits, and veggies!

How to Attract Bats to Your Backyard

There are many different tools and techniques you can use to entice bats to your garden, patio, and backyard area. The following are the most effective ways of inviting bats in your outdoor spaces!

Install a Bat House

The first most important element to add to your backyard that is sure to attract bats is a bat house. Bat houses best mimic the kinds of knocks, crannies and crevices found within dying trees where bats traditionally prefer to sleep and reside. A bat house provides a habitat for bats which is the first most important thing a bat needs to feel safe in a space.

  • Location is Key: the best place to situate a bat house is on the side of a building or pole, as opposed to amongst dense bush or trees. Make sure the bat house is up high, 15-20 feet, as bats will use sight to spot their new home.
  • Use Nontoxic Wood: If you are building a bat house yourself, be sure to you nontoxic wood like cedar or plywood.
  • Bats like Rough Surfaces: don’t use super smooth plywood, use the rough surface as it makes it easier for the bats to climb in and out of the house by giving them something to grip onto.
  • Buy a Premade Bat House: If purchasing a premade bat house, be sure to get one that is BCI (Bat Conservation International) certified. This Outer Trails Bat House is the perfect size, texture, and comes put together with the three different chambers.
  • Keep Bat House Temperature: the temperature of your bat house needs to remain somewhere between 80-100 degrees in the summertime. To control the heat in your bat box you will need to place it somewhere strategic and paint it a specific color. The box should be located somewhere where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day, and the box should be painted a dark color like black or brown to hold more heat. Tape a thermometer on the side of the box to keep track of the temperature.
  • The Structure of a Bat House: a bat house must include three different chambers, rough or grooved surfaces for the bats to latch on to, passage holes, and vents on the side to allow air to move through the house. Additionally, your bat house will need some strong mounting brackets to attach to whatever structure you decide is best.
  • Size: bat houses should be around 2 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide, and around 3-6 inches deep. They should be hung above ground, 10-15 feet high at least.

Keep Dead Trees

Before you go hacking down your down trees, you might be interested to know that bats love dwelling in old trees. Bats make habitats in hollowed trees with loose bark because they are cozy, warm and provide gripping. Dead trees are excellent nesting spaces for bats, and if they already exist in your yard, they’re free!

Of course, only keep dead trees if they are not any danger to people or property.

Invest in Night Blooming Flowers and Plants

Bats favorite food source is insects, though, there are some bats who enjoy fruits as well. However, night blooming plants and flowers help to attract bugs. Therefore, you want to plant as many of these kinds of flowers as possible, that way, the insects that are attracted at night (mosquitos, moths, etc.) are gobbled up by bats.

The bats, in turn, pollinate the plants, and will help your garden to be robust and plentiful during the day! Win-win! Try plants like water lily, jessamine, nicotiana, soapwort, sweet rocket, and cleome!

Have a Water Feature

Another element to add to your backyard that is sure to attract bats is a water feature. Bats love water features for two reasons: bugs congregate around water (especially mosquitos who breed in shallow water) and bats consume an insane amount of water each day.

The best bat habitat will have nearby water access. A bird bath or fountain will do the truck!

Lure Bats During the Spring and Summer

The best chance you’ll have at attracting bats to your garden are in the spring and early summer months. If you place your bat box, night blooming flowers and water features out in the winter, you may miss the chance to attract the bats, as they’ll have already found their winter habitats already.

In colder climates, like in the North East, bats roost in the summer to raise their young and then migrate elsewhere for the winter. So, if you want to attract bats, you’ll want your bat house out in springtime so that bats can roost there during spawning months.

What are the Down Sides to Attracting Bats to your Backyard?

While bats may rid you of your insect problem and may help to pollinate and rejuvenate your backyard garden, there are some downsides to having bats hanging out near your home. Sometimes bats may choose to raise their young, not in the bat homes you’ve so kindly provided, but instead in your home.

Bats can cause structural damage inside the home and bat droppings (guano) are not safe for humans to be nearby. Guano can spread an illness called histoplasmosis which affects the lungs and is spread by breathing in the fungus that grows in guano.

Additionally, bats can be spreaders of rabies. This is not always true, but they can transmit the disease to you or your pets. Though they are not aggressive mammals, a bat bite can cause series health issues in humans.

Lastly, bats can ironically bring a different kind of bug into your, called bat bugs. Bat bugs are relatives of the bed bug. Unlike bed bugs, bat bugs don’t like human blood, but they will eat it if it’s all that’s around. Typically, though, as their name indicates, bat bugs prefer to nibble on the blood of bats. Still, you don’t want an infestation of bat bugs in your home.

The Key Take Away

Luring bats to your backyard may be the perfect solution to any bug problems you might be having, in addition to revitalizing your plants and flowers.

To avoid any unwanted bat problems, be sure to steer clear of bat droppings (guano) and check your attack and crawl spaces regularly to make sure bats have not taken residence in your actual home.

Attracting Bats to Your Yard and Garden

  • Home
  • Articles
  • Yard
  • Attracting Bats to Your Yard and Garden
Filter Plants

Bats are quickly becoming welcome guests around yards and farms as research has shown bats to be excellent eradicators of pesky insects (like mosquitoes), essential in healthy ecosystems. This belief resulted in the systematic eradication of bats for decades, especially in the US. Because of this, several species of bats are still considered threatened species. If you’ve been interested in the idea of attracting bats to your yard and garden, create an inviting space for bats to visit.

Studies done by Colorado State University have shown that provided the same method of attraction, bats are still less likely to set up residence in areas that are in suburban and urban areas when compared to rural areas. But, the positive ecological impact bats have on all of these areas is extremely important, so if you live in a suburban or urban area attracting bats to your garden is of special importance.

The first step in attracting bats to your yard requires an understanding of what bats need in their everyday lives. Because the bats that live in the US are primarily insectivores and feed at night, attracting insects that are active at night is critical if you want to attract bats to your home. Here’s how to attract more insects to your yard at night:

  • Bats eat lots and lots of bugs. This is probably the most overlooked and important aspect of attracting lots of bats. This means adding night-blooming plants to your landscape is essential. These night bloomers bloom at night so they can be pollinated by night insects – most notably moths. Moths are a bat favorite and a staple in their diets. Lots of gardeners report seeing moths among their annual devil’s trumpets (datura), as well as brugmansia (you can grow these as landscape plants in the south, but they make great tropical potted plants everywhere else). Try adding some potted night blooming plants like datura, Brugmansia, yucca, jessamine, butterfly bushes, lavender, rosemary and evening primrose to your deck, or among your perennial borders to attract lots of bat food.
  • Lights are bug magnets. This is an easy way to bring bats to your property. But you may live in an area that has plenty of lights that are kept illuminated at night. This isn’t a necessary step, but it can help attract insects if you don’t already have a lot of lights that are on at night. A simple lamp kept on outside of a garage is all you need, for example. The light doesn’t have to be a specific type, as long as it’s an appropriate light for the outdoors.

Attracting bats to your farm and yard is good as they are night time predators of night flying insects that damage garden plants and crops. Bat houses are becoming very popular as a way to entice bats to stay close by. Buy a bat house for your backyard. We have 4 sizes to choose from. Our bat house kit makes a great starter bat house. You can put this great kit together during a weekend project with the family.

Installing a bat house is a great way to attract bats to your property! Here are some helpful tips and tricks for attracting bats to their new homes.

05.08.17

There are many reasons for wanting bats in your backyard. Whether its to benefit from their pollination services, pest control, or you just simply enjoy their nightly displays of aerial acrobatics, consider these three tips for attracting bats to your backyard.

Leave Dead Trees

For many species of bats, dead trees provide the crme de la crme of roosting locations. The narrow, rough space between the bark and the wood provides the ideal space for a bat (or few) to squeeze in nice and tight. If a dead tree does not pose a safety concern, consider leaving it in your yard to provide protected refuge for bats and the insects they eat.

Dead tree not an option? Give the bats the next best thing a bat house to mimic the space and habitat that a dead tree would normally provide.

Build or Buy a Bat House

Building your own bat house is a great way to get involved in bat conservation. Bat Conservation International (BCI) has designs for three different types of roosts freely available on our website: single chamber, four-chamber, and rocket boxes.

Make sure to check out our website for additional tips and tricks for building your own bat house.

Once you have your bat house, check out BCIs installation tips.

BCI has learned many lessons during out 10-year Bat House Research Project. But remember, though we have developed best practices based on years of experimentation, please dont feel you cant have a bat house if your conditions are not exactly like the ones we suggest.

Here are some tips to get you started….

1. Where should I place my bat house?

Bats prefer roosts mounted on buildings or other large wooden or concrete structures to those mounted on poles or on trees (not recommended). But pole mounts work well in climates that are moderate to hot, without extreme variance between day and night temperatures.

Bat houses should receive at least six hours of daily sun exposure.

2. How many should I install?

If more than one roost is desired, begin by testing a few in different places. You can mount them next to each other on a building, painted or stained different colors, or on poles back-to-back, a light one facing north and a darker one south. Bats are more likely to move into roosts grouped three or more together.

3. How high should the house be?

Best siting is 20-30 from the nearest trees and at least 10 (from the bottom of the roost)12-20 is betterabove ground (or above the tallest vegetation beneath the bat house). Locations nearest an areas largest water sources are the most successfulpreferably mile or less.

Keep Fluffy Indoors

We all love our furry feline friends, but cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties. Keep your cat indoors at night, especially during the summer months when the mothers are taking care of their young. If you are unable to keep your cat inside all night, bring it in about a half hour before sunset until an hour after sunset this is when bats are most active. If your cat has found a bat, s/he may have learned where the roost is and will return which places the entire colony at risk.

Austin, TX

Bat Conservation
International

500 N Capital of TX Hwy.
Bldg. 1
Austin, TX
78746, USA
512.327.9721
1.800.538.BATS

Washington D.C.

Bat Conservation
International

1012 14th Street NW, Suite 905
Washington, D.C.
20005, USA

How to attract bats to your yard

How to attract bats to your yard

How to attract bats to your yard

Bat Conservation International is a 501(c)(3) organization. Our CFC number is 12064. Our tax ID number is 74-2553144.

© Bat Conservation International 2021. All rights reserved.

Most of you probably clicked on this article just to be sure you read the title correctly and your eyes were not playing tricks on you. Well, thanks for clicking and yes, today we are going to find out to turn our yards into a bat-hive.

“Why on earth would I want bats in my yard?! They are scary, bloodsucking, disease-carrying…..” Okay, I just had to interrupt that train of thought, because, well, simply because it is wrong on so many levels. Forget the vampire movies, ghost stories, myths and superstitions, bats are relatively harmless to humans and their presence in your yard would be a great asset. Why?

5 Reasons to Attract Bats to Your Yard

  • They love to gobble up insects: Moths, beetles, flies, and the true blood-sucking, disease-carrying parasites, mosquitoes. In all fairness, not all bats are insect-eaters. Some species are herbivorous and eat fruits.
  • If you got bats, you don’t need artificial fertilizers. Bat droppings are full of nutrients that make plants grow. So, if your yard is positively swarming with bats, then your gardens would thrive.
  • Bats are great at pollination. They help in pollinating a large number of different flower species, as well as common fruit plants like mangoes, bananas, and guavas.
  • They provide awesome acrobatic displays. Remember that early scene from the much popular and quite controversial movie: ‘Batman vs Superman’, where a colony of bats lifts up one of the titular characters from the ground in a spectacular display of bat-awesomeness? Now, you might not get that exact level of grandiosity in your backyard, but you sure would enjoy the sight of bats flitting around your yard during sunset.
  • Recent studies have shown that the bat population has drastically declined due to various reasons, chief among them being habitat loss and use of pesticides. By making your yard a safe and comfortable place for bats to roost, you are contributing your own quota in saving them from extinction.

So, if the insect-eating benefits haven’t sold you, then the visual aesthetics or the eco-friendly benefits did the trick. Me, once I found out that they ate mosquitoes, all I could think about was how to get myself some bats. Now that we all want bats roosting in our yards. How do we go about it?

Have a visible and clean source of water

Like all animals, bats need water. So if you have a natural water source on or beside your property, like a lake or a pond, all the better. If you don’t, then installing a birdbath or a fountain should suffice.

How to attract bats to your yardCredit: Pinterest

Make your garden work for you

While roughly 30% of bats eat fruits, the remaining 70% love insects. Insects themselves love pale-colored flowers and plants with pleasant smells. So, if you want to get bats, populate your garden with marigold, dahlia, thyme, raspberry, chives, and lemon balm. You can use night-blooming plants like moonflower, evening primrose, nicotiana, and water lily to attract nocturnal insects such as moths.

Build a bat house

This one’s pretty important. Bats need to roost and a bat house provides the perfect roosting site if done rightly. The bat house should be made of wood. It should have rough surfaces, edges or grooves. Also, you should use the roughest side for the interior, as bats need a rough surface to hang onto. You should mount the house on a pole at least 15 feet from the ground. Then you should place it in a position where it can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. Bats love the warmth. So painting the exterior of the house black would help to trap heat. This also helps keep the house warm.

How to attract bats to your yardCredit: Let’s Re-make

Leave dead trees and install some lights

Trees also serve as a favorite roosting spot for bats. So if there is a dead tree in your yard not posing a danger to you, don’t cut it down. You could also try installing mercury vapor lights to attract insects which in turn attracts bats.

A quick word of advice: When it comes to bats, the watchword is patience. If there are still no bat visitors even after implementing all these ideas, then don’t be discouraged. Experts suggest waiting 4-5 years before giving up hope. And when they do visit, avoid spraying pesticides as the chemicals are injurious to their health.

Picture this: you have just finished building your ideal outdoor living space complete with new patio, beautiful patio furniture, fancy BBQ grill, maybe even a hot tub, fire place/pit and gazebo.

Picture this: you have just finished building your ideal outdoor living space complete with new patio, beautiful patio furniture, fancy BBQ grill, maybe even a hot tub, fire place/pit and gazebo. So you invite some friends and family over to eat, drink and, let’s face it, show off your beautiful new patio.

Everything is going perfectly…until dusk settles in and the mosquitoes come out. Suddenly you and your guests become fine dining entrees for those pesky bugs. How annoying! I don’t know about you, but I have tried everything to ward off the hungry pests and nothing seemed to work. Until I discovered the answer: BATS!

Now, before you say, “No freaking way!” just hear me out. Thanks to various horror movies/shows/stories, bats have really gotten a bad rap. There are over 1,000 different species of bats and only 3 drink blood: the common vampire bat, the white-winged vampire bat and the hairy-legged vampire bat.

Besides, unless you live in South and Central America and Mexico and are a cow or horse (vampire bats’ favorite food source), you don’t have to be concerned about any vampire bats making their home with you. In fact, bats stay away from human contact (including hair) as much as possible. They also have a much lower incidence of rabies infection than raccoons, skunks, and other wild animals.

There are several benefits to making your yard an inviting place for bats to live:

Bats pollinate plants.

In fact, bats are the sole pollinators of the agave plant (the plant tequila is made of). They also pollinate fruit trees and, as they swoop and dive after bugs, spread the pollen of other plants around.

Bat poop (guano) is an excellent fertilizer.

In fact, bat guano is one of the best natural fertilizers in the world due to the perfect ratio of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth). It also contains beneficial bacteria and fungi, is positively charged (which helps plants absorb nutrients), is a natural fungicide, and destroys nematodes (parasitic worms that can be harmful to crops and humans).

They’re fun to watch.

When I lived in Northern Arizona, I used to love to sit on my deck and watch the bats swoop around the street lights, catching their evening meals. Maybe my idea of fun is different from yours, but I really miss watching their graceful diving and swooping.

Bug control!

I know I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth mentioning again. Bats are better at controlling mosquito populations than bug zappers and birds combined. Bats are able to consume one quarter to one half their body’s weight in bugs per night! Bats also eat bugs that can wreak havoc on your garden. In fact, in the United States alone, bats save farmers over $3.7 billion per year due to reducing crop-damaging pest populations which, in turn, saves on pesticide costs.

So, just how do you go about attracting bats to your yard?

Build a bat house.

Bat houses work just like bird houses. They give bats a dark, protective place to roost during the day. You can buy a bat house from many garden centers or online, but they’re really easy to make and would be a fun family project. This guide from The National Wildlife Federation is a good start.

Plant bat-loving vegetation.

Light colored, fragrant plants and flowers that bloom at night will attract bats to your home. Herbs like lemon balm, marjoram and chives attract, but cinnamon, eucalyptus and mint repel them, so don’t plant these in your garden. Night-blooming flowers like moon flower, jessamine, datura, yucca, evening primrose, and night-blooming water lily are good choices.

Leave dead trees.

I know. Dead trees are an eyesore. But, so long as they don’t pose a safety concern, they are the perfect thing to attract bats to your yard. Bats like to roost behind loose bark and inside cracks in trees. Dead trees can attract a colony of bats, from just a few to hundreds, depending on how many dead trees are around. So, especially if you live in a rural area, you may want to keep a dead tree or two around if you want to attract bats.

Even if all of this doesn’t convince you to attract bats to your home, I hope I’ve at least helped dispel the bad reputation bats have. They truly are beneficial animals to have around!

How to attract bats to your yard

SEE ALL ARTICLES

Ariana Palmieri

Ariana Palmieri is a green beauty blogger who strives to live as eco-friendly as possible. In July 2015 she started her blog, Greenify-Me, to document her own journey with eco-friendly products, makeup, and the environment. The site features beauty product reviews, natural DIYs, healthy recipes, and more. In her spare time she loves to write short stories “Tell And I Tell”, read wellness-related books, devour sushi, drink bubble tea with her boyfriend, and befriend stray cats.

SEE ALL ARTICLES

How to attract bats to your yard

Bats often get a rep for being scary creatures of the night. But bats are actually super beneficial to your garden! Not to mention they play an important role in the ecosystem and are considered pollinators. Here’s how and why you should build a bat house and welcome bats into your garden.

Bats Are Beneficial

Trust me when I say, you want bats in your backyard. One of the reasons you’ll want them around is because most North American bats eat insects and can gobble up over 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. Isn’t that insane? As someone who frequently gets bit up by mosquitos, I wouldn’t mind having a few bats around to help me out. That means an average colony of 75 bats can eat up to 75,000 insects in just 60 minutes. If that’s not natural pest control, I’m not sure what is! There are even more perks to having bats around though: Bat droppings. As gross as it may sound, their droppings act as natural, nutrient-dense fertilizer, meaning your garden will thrive. Oh, and bats can be pollinators too. Depending on the type of bat, they’ll feed on flowers (their nectar and flower parts), along with fruit. In fact, over 300 species of fruit depend on bats for pollinator. Not to mention the agave plant also depends on bats to pollinate it. So, in other words, there are several good reasons to attract bats to your home.

How To Attract Bats To Your Yard

Now that you know why bats are beneficial, how can you attract them to your neighborhood? Well, like all animals, bats need food, water, and shelter. However, it’s good to know exactly what kind of bats live in your area first, in order to determine a more specific way to attract them. If you live in an urban area, it may be a bit harder to spot them. I recommend talking to a local bat enthusiast, or doing a little research on the bats in your area online. Just search “bats in [your state]” via google and see what pops up.

Generally speaking, though, I recommend having some kind of water source on hand. Maybe consider investing in a mini pond, birdbath, or fountain. This will help attract bats to your yard, as bats can lose 50 percent of body weight in water in a single day. That means they need to hydrate!

Another way to attract bats? Your garden of course! Bats love fragrant, night-blooming plants that attract nocturnal insects. Some great plants for the job include moon flowers, honeysuckle, evening primrose, thyme, raspberry, dahlia, datura, four o’clocks, French marigold, and nicotiana. Any pale-colored blooms have a decent chance of bringing in bugs, so definitely go with those.

Building A Bat House

Perhaps the most important step in attracting bats? Building a bat house. They need a place to roost! You can buy one online if you don’t consider yourself handy, or at your local home improvement store. However, you can also try to DIY your own bat house.

If you plan on making your own bat house, first choose the right location to put it. You’ll want to mount it on a pole, or the side of a building. Don’t mount it on a tree, because then bats will be easily accessible to predators. Also, the bat house must be high enough because bats need height to drop down before they catch flight. I recommend putting the bat house at least 15 feet up. Keep it on the smaller side too, because bats like narrow tight spaces. Bats also prefer warmer conditions, so make sure the bat house is facing south to southeast if possible—this will help make sure the bat house heats up when the sun rises.

How To Build A Bat House

If you’re looking to create your own bat house, here’s a DIY to try:

Materials:

  • Red oak plywood
  • 2 pieces of cedar fencing
  • 1 piece of 1” x 2” x 8” cedar for the sides
  • Exterior screws (1-1/4″)
  • Caulk
  • Leaf gutter guard plastic mesh
  • Heavy duty stapler with staples
  • Ebony stain
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Power drill with drilling and driving bits
  • Lint-free rags
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape

Measurements & Cuts:

  • 15” x 34” red oak plywood which will make up the back of the bat house
  • 6 pieces of 15” cedar boards cut from the cedar fencing boards
  • 2 pieces of 1” x 2” x 4” (just cut the 1” x 2” x 8” in half)
  • 3/4″ thick piece of wood 13.5” long

Directions:

  1. Measure and cut the wood for your DIY bat house.
  2. Sand all wood pieces smooth. Every cut piece must be smoothed out—you can use a 150 grit sandpaper to get the job done.
  3. Stain the interior of the bat house ebony or dark brown. The interior needs to be warm for the bats, and making it a darker color will help with that. It helps retain the heat.
  4. Choose whether you want a sloped or straight bat house roof. If you want a sloped roof, cut the sides at a 10-degree angle, then cut one of the long sides of the roof cedar board at 10 degrees, and one long side of the front cedar board at 10 degrees. It’s best to bevel the edges before applying the dark stain.
  5. Attach the gutter guard mesh using staples. This will help ensure the bats have something to climb up on to get in the house. You’ll also need to attach the mesh to the backside of the front cedar board pieces.
  6. Bats need ventilation in their bat house, so be sure to leave a 1/8” to 1/4″ space between the bottom and next to last cedar board pieces which comprise the front of the bat house. Leave that spacing when attaching the mesh.
  7. Next, glue or nail that 3/4″ thick piece of wood to the bottom cedar board on the front. This will help create a smaller opening in the bat house and prevent predators from disturbing the bats.
  8. Screw the bat house together. Using the exterior screws, assemble the bat house. Before you screw it together though, make sure you caulk along all the seams first. The bat house needs to be water resistant, after all. You’ll also want to drill pilot holes, which are little starter holes, especially when dealing with cedar. You don’t want the delicate cedar splitting. Also, the legs will likely be a little too long, so you can cut them using a jigsaw.
  9. Sand the bat house. It’s good to give it another sanding, using an orbital sander (220 grit sandpaper by hand will work just as well).
  10. Since you should hang your bat house at least 15 feet off the ground, I recommend attaching a French cleat using glue, then securing it with exterior screws.
  11. Stain the outside of the bat house whatever color you want—a nice mahogany stain is a good idea. If you want to get creative here and add a stencil, or any other décor, feel free to do so. Batman decals, anyone?

Making your own bat house sound like too much of a hassle? Try buying one at your local home improvement store instead.

ATTRACTING BENEFICIAL BATS TO YOUR BACKYARD

The more you vary your habitat, the greater the number and diversity of wildlife you will attract. We all know how important bats are for eating pesky insects (one bat can consume over 3,000 flying insects in one night!). Here are some tips on helping to attract and keep them in your own backyard.

WATER

Water attracts insects; insects attract bats. A dependable water source is one of the best ways to attract bats and other beneficial wildlife to your yard.

ROOSTING SITES

Picture of batPlanting trees and leaving dead and dying trees standing are wonderful ways to encourage bats to live in your area. You can help bats by providing housing, not disturbing them in their roosting spots, and avoiding man made insecticides. Click on the picture at the lower left to learn about bat shelters and how to place them in your own backyard.

Bat Conservation International also has some great information on successful bat houses.

GARDENS

Bat gardens are another good provider of insects and roosting sites for bats. Flowers that release scent at night, such as sweet rocket, evening primrose, nicotiana and soapwort, attract flying insects, which in turn attract bats. Herbs such as chives, borage, mint, marjoram and lemon balm also attract night-flying insects. If possible, leave part of your lawn unmowed during the summer months. This will increase insects whose larvae feed on grasses. Climbing vines such as honeysuckle, ivy, white jasmine or dogrose will provide roosting sites for solitary bats.

LIGHTS

Mercury vapor lights in your backyard will attract insects, and bats will enjoy these easy meals!

SAY NO TO CHEMICALS

Avoid using pesticides, herbicides or other toxic chemicals in your yard. Insectivorous bats consume large quantities of insects, if they are sprayed with toxic substances, the bats will ingest them and become ill or die.