Batty About Bat Houses

For my final project I decided to add some bat houses to the Desert Oasis Garden. I got the bat houses from another teacher who had his students build them last year. I will explain how you exactly build them in another blog.

So you’re probably wondering how you build a bat house. The process is quite simple, you’re basically building a box that is two feet tall, one foot wide, and three to four inches deep. You will need to staple some mesh to the inside so the bats will have something to grip once they are hanging inside. For colder climates you may also want to paint your bat houses black and put silicon on all the seams so the box will attract and retain more heat. The boxes I received were only painted black and had no silicon on the seams, which for our climate should be just fine.

For an area that will attract bats I chose to put my bat houses by some trees by the prairie grasses, between the orchard and the natatorium, and just east of the orchard. I also oriented the largest faces of the boxes east and west to receive maximum early morning and evening sun light and warmth. It is also recommended that you add bat guano to the inside of your bat houses to help attract more bats quicker, which I did.

It is recommended that you put your bat houses in areas that commonly attract insects overnight, areas such as fields, bodies of water, and lights. It is also recommended that your bat houses are close to trees, to closer imitate natural sleeping habitat, and hopefully more bats will sleep in the treetops if the house is full.

Above: An ideal region to put a bat house

Source: http://www.batconservation.org/sites/g/files/g825456/f/styles/large/public/201302/HowToAttachIMAGE.jpg?itok=VD-BHEx2

You may also want to know why you would want bats around your garden or even in your life at all. The answer is quite simple really, bugs! It is a known fact that nobody likes mosquitoes, and bats eat mosquitoes. Bats remove the insects from your garden that eat your plants (and sometimes you!). Bat feces, also known as guano, is also one of the best fertilizers available today. Bats are also very shy, make almost no noise, and only come out at night.

Above: Bats sleeping in a bat house.

Source: http://home.kpn.nl/korst105/bhforum/longearedbats1.jpg

So, if you decide to put up bat houses by your garden you need to remember several of these key points. Elevate the house to normal bat level, 10-15 feet in the air. For warm dry climates paint the houses black, and for wet or cooler climates add silicon to the seams of the house to prevent heat from leaking or water from coming in. Remember to add mesh to the inside of your bat house, so the bats will have something to grip onto and hang from while they are sleeping. You should place your bat houses near trees on the edge on grassy or crop fields. Most importantly, have fun with your newly founded friends. Bats are the only mammals that are capable of flight, and they are a necessity to our environment.

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