In this post, we discuss bat houses: What they are, why you would want one, how to build one and where to install a bat house. Learn more here.
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That doesn’t mean bats are bad though. Bats are amazing insect predators and the average bat will consume 6,000-8,000 insects every night. It’s one of the reasons that bats are protected species in Illinois.
Because of these reasons, it has become popular in recent years to build bat houses on your property. When you build a bat house, not only do you help protect an endangered species and encourage bats to eat insects in your neighborhood, you also give bats a place to live so they don’t need to move into your attic or garage.
What are bat houses?
Bat houses provide a safe place for bats to roost during the day and to raise their young. Many bat species tend to roost under the bark of dead trees but due to habitat loss that resource is becoming more and more scarce.
Related: Illinois Bat Species
Why build a bat house?
Bats are helpful animals and are a great source for organic pest-control. A single bat can eat more than 1000 insects in just one night. They are great hunters of mosquitoes and other annoying insects.
Bat populations are declining due to pesticide use and habitat loss. By making your yard bat-friendly you are not only getting rid of insects you are creating a habitat for many bat species.
Bats are not dangerous animals. Less than 1% of bats have rabies as they are not carriers of the disease, it is fatal to bats. Also they are not as likely to catch the disease as other animals, and even if they do, you’re less likely to come into contact with them.
Related: How to Get Bats Out of the House
How to build a bat house
Bat houses are a great way to provide a habitat for bats. It is best to use rough, nontoxic woods such as plywood or cedar to make your box. Keep the roughest side of the wood to the inside of the house. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house. Bat houses work best if they’re at least 2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches deep. Use appropriate mounting materials to attach the bat house.
Best place to install a bat box
It is important to consider the location of your bat box when it comes to to install it. The ideal location is 15′-20′ off of the ground. Either mount it to a pole, stand-alone tree or on the side of a building. Try to mount the box in a place that gets plenty of sunlight so it can absorb plenty of heat. If you decide to install a bat box on the side of a building, be sure there is ground beneath for the droppings to collect as opposed to allowing them to sit on a roof.
How to attract bats to your bat house
Bats like places with plenty of insects such as ponds and water features. Having plenty of night-blooming flowers will also help attract bats. A few great plants include datura, moonflower, four-o’clock, yucca, evening primrose, night-blooming water lily, night-blooming jessamine, cleome, and nicotiana.