A Brief Guide to Building and Installing Bat Boxes
Bats are some of the most maligned (and not to forget, now endangered as well) creatures in North America. Though they are incredibly beneficial to have around (eating tons of insects, pollinating flowers, and acting as natural pest control), many people are afraid of them because they are associated with darkness and spooky things.
Despite their reputation, bats are harmless to humans and are quite adorable up close. If you’re looking to attract bats to your property to enjoy their many benefits, one way to do so is by building and installing bat boxes.
A good bat box is a safe roosting place for bats. Given how their numbers have drastically decreased over the years, these bat boxes are a good way to help them survive.
Building and installing a bat box is relatively simple. Once you have all the raw materials with you, you can assemble a bat box in less than a week!
The simplest design for any bat box can be made, by following these easy instructions;
- Take good woods, with well-defined edges
- Make sure you have a certain size in mind.
- Take good measurements and cut the pieces of wood into specific lengths.
- Assemble the wooden lengths using screws and drill.
- Mount the bat box somewhere safely.
As simple as it may sound, DIY bat boxes are not always the best option unless you know what you are doing and what is required in the bat habitat. If you are new to bat box installation then you might want to buy a good reliable approved bat box before attempting any DIY yourself.
Regardless of whether you buy one or try to build one on your own. Here are a few key factors that are important for a good credible bat box.
Bat Boxes should be primarily for Roosting Purposes…
That means the microclimate, space, and outlets all should be in consideration. A thermally stable material is important if you choose to make your bat box. An untreated wood piece, stone, or brick can be good sources for bat boxes, and of course, the placement and orientation are important to install bat boxes.
When it comes to roosting, bats hibernate throughout fall and winter, this means that their bat boxes must be placed somewhere warm (an optimal of 6-10 hours of sunlight) while being shaded and protected from wild predators.
Bat Boxes Must have a Smooth Opening
You wouldn’t want these tiny ones to make their way into their home, which is why making the perfect opening is the most crucial step. You don’t want to make wide openings to bats that may give access to snakes or birds, and also not too narrow to restrict bat entry. The entrance should be kept small while making the access points of the bat landing roughened for better grip landing of bats.
What kind of Bat Box should you Install?
There are several varieties of bat boxes. External bat boxes, bat houses, integrated bat boxes, and bat lofts are some of the available designs in the market. You can either make one or buy a good BCI-certified made. Depending on your need, locality, and number of bats in your area, you can choose the design that suits you the best.
Where should you install your bat box?
Bat boxes should be carefully installed. The locality must be had food, water,, and open access nearby. One of the best ways to ensure the right locality is to install it near a treat line. This will ensure better feeding grounds and a safer roosting period for the bats. However, some of the ideal positions for installing bat boxes are
These places are ideal for bat roosting, mainly because of their higher positions. If you place the box anywhere near public areas, there will be fair chances of vandalism; cats, snakes, and eagles to name a few.
If you have a bat infestation problem in your building, you can place a bat box at the side of your building roof, near the chimney area, or close to the attic space. Trees are also easy to place, as you can use copper or iron nails to install a good-sized bat box but snakes can be a real threat.
Installing poles seems like the most ideal pick. You can control it out of public space, away from heavy vegetation, and keep the temperature regulated.
Wrapping it Up!
For a successful roosting bat site, make sure you have installed the bat box near a habitat they are familiar with or they have created a small habitat for bats to come find your bat box. Sometimes it may take months or even years for bats to locate your bat house or box as a safe space for themselves. You need to be patient with the process.
But don’t worry, if you have marked all the right checks for a good bat box then bats will come looking for protected bat roosting sites in spring.