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Homemade Bat Houses

Building a bat house supports conservation efforts while providing many benefits to land owners as well. A single brown bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour. Organic gardeners and farmers build bat houses as a natural way to reduce unwanted pests and insects and a single bat house can be purchased or built for between $5 and $40. According to the US Fish and Wildlife service (USFW), "A typical summer colony of 100 bats feeding 200 days will consume more than 2200 pounds of insects." That's approximately 600,000,000 bugs.

How to Attract Bats

To attract bats you will want to install a bat house on your property.  Most bats hibernate in caves during the winter and then move to trees or bat houses during the summer months. As more and more trees are removed and cut down, bats are having a harder time finding appropriate places to live, mate and raise their baby bats or pups.  The best time to install a bat house is late winter or early spring, but the USFW service reports that you can install a bat house anytime of the year. Bat houses should be installed about 10 feet off the ground and in a spot where they can receive around six hours of morning sun. 

Decide What Type of Bat House You Want

It is extremely surprising how many bats can live in one bat house.  Some may think it necessary to put up 10 or 15 bat houses on one acre of land to make sure all the bats in the area have a place to live. The truth is that a single box no bigger than 8 inches wide by 15 inches long can house up to 30 bats at a time.  There are an enormous amount of bat houses on the market, both for sale and as DIY projects. There is no need to buy bat house plans as many conversation groups provide a variety of free house plans.  The most popular bat house is a single chamber style. The size of the house and number of chambers defines how many bats the house can hold.  The Pennsylvania Game Commission offers a free plan for creating a seven chamber bat box that can house a colony of about 300 bats. The three most built styles of bat boxes are the chamber, rocket and a bat/bird combination.  That's right, bats and birds often coexist in nature and plans are available to build a single house that can provide space for both species. A rocket house is a square house design built to be mounted onto a high pole. 

Building a Homemade Bat House

If you are interested in building your own bat house find some good plans.  Most are free and can easily be downloaded on the Internet. All you will need for most bat house plans are a small piece of plywood, metal screws, plastic screen, wood glue, staples, tar paper, water based stain and a little time.  Building a bat house is a great project for the beginner carpenter as it is about as basic as it gets. If you're building a house you can transform scrap wood that would have been thrown away into bat houses for your yard or to sell.  Anyway you look at it, you'd have to be blind as a bat to walk by the opportunity to turn your yard or garden into a bat haven.

About the Author

Joshua Kinser began writing professionally in 1999. He has worked as a staff writer for the "Pensacola News Journal" and is the author of Moon Handbook's "Guide to the Florida Gulf Coast." Kinser earned an Associate of Arts in journalism with an emphasis in biology from Pensacola State College.