Safe-Home.com

Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Attracting Bats to Backyard Bat Houses for Insect Control

by Barbara 17. January 2009 21:00

Question about using bat houses to attract bats to backyards to control insects.

Q: "I am looking for a "green solution" for insect control around my home. We have a wooded lot. How do I attract bats to my yard? Are bats dangerous? Are some bat houses better than others?"Thanks. Lloyd.

Answer: Bats are greatly misunderstood: research shows that one bat can consume more than 600 mosquitoes per hour. Bats eat other flying species of insects such as corn borers and cutworm moths. So, yes, this is a cost-effective organic pest control method you should pursue. You can make your own bat house if you'd like. Buying a kit or pre-constructed kit may be cost effective when you consider the tools, time, etc.

How to Attract Bats:

  • Install bat houses.
  • Have water nearby: a lake, a pond, a bird bath, etc. where insects gather. (How about a backyard koi pond with solar water pump?)
  • Plant night-blooming flowers.

Bat House Instructions:

  • Most bat houses are made by a rough, nontoxic wood (such as plywood or cedar): a rough surface makes it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house.
  • Size of the house: at least 2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches deep.
  • Mount your bat house is in the fall or winter. This lets the wood of the house to age and odors dissipate.
  • Install facing south, preferably where sunlight reaches the house most of the day.
  • Mount on a pole, tree or under the eaves of a house, garage or barn about 12 to 15 feet above the ground.
  • Be patient: it may take up to a year to attract a colony.

Like any mammal, bats can catch rabies: the risks are low and you are unlikely to handle a bat.

Some suggested bat houses:

  • Heath Bat House BAT-1ADimensions: 11.5 inches by 12.8 inches by 2.5 inches deep. Meets guidelines from Bat Conservation International.
  • Schrodt - Colony Bat House:A triple chambered nursery capable of accomodating dozens of mature bats and their offspring. Etched brass moon and branded bat design. 17 inches tall.
  • Songbird Cedar Large Bat Chalethis large bat house has grooves on the inside front and back so bats can "hang out" in comfort. The Songbird Cedar Bat Chalet has two compartments, room for a colony of bats. Mount 15-20 feet high on pole, structure or tree. Install now for next summer. Dimensions: 18 inches by 4 inches by 13 inches.

There are many other options. Remember that bats do not chase away birds nor do they suck the blood of humans!