How to Lure a Bat Into a Bat Box
If you seem to have a four-star rating on the mosquito dining guide to your neighborhood, try acquiring a mosquito predator instead of slathering yourself in bug repellent or buying more citron candles. A single bat eats an average of 1,000 bloodsucking bugs per hour. You can hang out the welcome mat for bats by installing a bat house in your yard, but getting a bat to inhabit the dwelling is a bit more complicated.
Select the appropriate color for your bat house. Bat researchers have learned that bats prefer painted or stained homes. Painted bat houses not only last longer but also maintain the appropriate temperature for the bats to roost comfortably. Your geographic location and the amount of sun exposure the house receives in summer months determine the color. In areas where the average daily temperatures in July remain under 85 degrees Fahrenheit, black does a good job of retaining heat. On the other hand, if you live in a region where July temperatures typically soar to 100 degrees and above, white reflects light, keeping the bat's home from overheating. If you live in an area with July temperatures somewhere between these two extremes, choose a medium shade, going darker or lighter depending on where you place on the temperature spectrum.
Mount the house in a suitable location. Bats tend to favor homes that receive plenty of sunlight, so the house should face south, southwest or southeast. Make sure the home is at least 10 feet above ground level, and that no branches or other obstructions can interfere with bats easily entering and exiting the structure. You can hang the bat house on a pole, a tree or the side of a building.
Add some bat-friendly features. Bats like a nearby night light that will attract bugs for them to eat. They need water, so are more likely to choose a house with a nearby pond, stream or even a bird bath. A bit of bat guano smeared on the bat home will pique their curiosity and they will come to investigate the scent.
Keep the bat house safe from predators. Consider the placement of the house in relation to branches and other possible perches from which a raccoon, snake or cat might reach into the bat house. If you hang the bat house on a tree trunk, attach a 2-foot-wide band of sheet metal around the tree, as you would to protect a bird feeder.
- Make sure your bat house is not leaky or drafty.
- Bat Close Up image by kdhouston from Fotolia.com