Bats are in serious decline nearly everywhere.
Worldwide, there are almost a thousand different kinds of bats which
comprise nearly 1/4 of all mammal species. Of the 43 species living
in the U.S. and Canada, nearly 40 percent are endangered or are
candidates for such status. The biology and ecology of bats is
not well understood. Their nocturnal behavior, inaccessible breeding
and roosting sites and migratory behavior have made them difficult
to study. As a result, we know little of bat ecology or management
needs on public lands. Despite a lack of knowledge, we do know that
bats often use trees, cliffs, caves, human dwellings, natural waters
and water developments, bridges and mine shafts in a variety of
habitats. There are clearly opportunities to begin specific
management actions to protect or enhance this diverse and threatened
group of mammals.
Putting up a bat house is one of the more
rewarding ways to help wild life. By providing bats with a roosting
habitat, you also benefit by having fewer yard and garden pest like
mosquitoes and ants. It may seem like just a drop in the bucket but
we can over come chemical pest control and create a cleaner heather
environment. Bat houses may be put up at any
time of the year. They will more than likely be occupied in the
first three to four weeks after they have been installed. Installing
a bat house and exposing it to the rain and sun will darken the
color even more increasing the chances of attracting bats to you bat
house just that much better.
Although most folks believe bats live in caves,
which they do, more than likely they live in old houses or barns
where it is warm. With an increase in individual chambers in these
bat houses we have found that we could achieve a much better control
of the temperature. By doing this we also increased the ability of
the box to hold more bats in a more comfortable environment. They
could be in your back yard catching all those insects like disease
carrying Mosquitoes, that have a way ofspoiling your favorite BarBQ.
America's Bats are an invaluable natural
resource. Yet due to decades of unwarranted human fear and
persecution, bats are in alarming decline. By putting up a bat
house, you can help increase the population. Even the most abundant
bats of North America are rapidly losing roosting habitat. Bat
houses are the answer.
Putting up bat houses and making careful
observations offer an excellent opportunity to learn more about bat
roosting requirements. They can also make a great science project
for the school.
Bat House Design.
You should consider design
when selecting your bat house. According to research, larger bat
houses (often called nursery houses) have higher occupancy rates
than the smaller houses. All landing areas and partition surfaces
should be rough. Vents are often best where average July
temperatures exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your bat house should be
placed within 1/4 mile of a natural water source such as a stream,
river, or lake. Bats tend to fly along forest or water edges, and
bat houses located here tend to be found more quickly than other
You may place your bat house
on a tree, pole, or a building; however, boxes mounted on poles or
buildings tend to have a higher occupancy than those mounted on
trees. For mounting on buildings, wood or stone buildings are best,
and your bat house should be mounted under the eaves with some sun
exposure. You should mount your house 15-20 feet above the ground.
It should not be in a place lit by bright lights.
You should place your bat
house where it will receive at least six hours of sun if you live in
a region where average July temperatures range from 80-100 degrees
Fahrenheit. If you live in a region where average July temperature
are less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you should mount your bat house
where it will receive at least 10 hours of sun.
You may mount your box at any
time of the year, but those put up in the spring are often occupied
more quickly. If you are evicting a colony of bats from a building,
a box should be mounted several weeks prior to the eviction.