Bats: these flying, furry animals of the night often get a bad rap, but they can reduce the number of pests in your yard and pollinate your plants (plus, they’re incredibly cute). If you’d like to attract some bats to your property, you can build a small bat box to give them a safe spot to raise their pups, roost, and sleep. Neither of these projects will cost you very much in materials or time, and the payoff of seeing bats use your bat house is deserving.
Match the bat box to the species in your area. Like there are different species of birds, there are also different species of bats! They can be large or small, and they vary in dietary needs as well.
Boost the bat population in your area with a bat box.
Bat numbers have been steadily declining, especially in cities and populated areas. Since bats rely on dead trees to roost and catch food, they often can’t find good spots to hang out in.
By mounting a bat box, you can give them a home and a safe spot away from predators so they can eat, sleep, and be merry. Use bats to eat insects and pests. Hate getting eaten up by mosquitoes every night? Bats are great natural insect hunters, so they can actually cut down on the flying pests that plague your yard. One bat can eat up to 1,000 insects a night, so using them in your yard can really help you out.
Standard Bat Box
Measure and cut two side panels out of untreated wood. Bats are sensitive to chemicals and smells, so make sure you’re using untreated wood (wood that hasn’t been processed with chemicals).
Then, use a measuring tape to mark out two side panels that are both 150 millimeters (5.9 in) wide, 140 millimeters (5.5 in) tall on one side, and 200 millimeters (7.9 in) tall on the other side. Cut out the front, base, lid, and back. Using the same piece of wood, grab your tape measure again and mark out the following four pieces. Then, use a saw to cut them out.
Pain on two coats of water-based stain to the inside of the wood. To protect the wood while it’s outside grabs a can of water-based stain and open it up with a screwdriver. Use a paintbrush to paint a thin layer onto all of the sides of the wood that will face inwards; let it dry for about 1 hour, then paint on another layer.
Screw the sides to the backplate. Line the side plates up with the center of the backplate, leaving an equal amount of room on the top and the bottom. Angle the diagonal sides of the side plates toward the top, so they slope downwards toward you, then use 1 in (2.5 cm) screws to attach the side pieces to the backplate.
Attach the front and the base. Connect the front piece by lining it up with the flat part of the side pieces, then use the 1 in (2.5 cm) screws again to attach it in place. Set up the base piece, so it connects with the front and sides, but leave a 15 millimeters (0.59 in) gap between the backplate and the base. Then, use your screws to attach it to the three sides that connect with the rest of the box.
Press the lid on top of the front plate and screw it down. The lid is for viewing and cleaning purposes only, so it’s made for you to use. Set your lid piece on top of the front plate and angle it, so it hits the top of the backplate, then use nails to attach the lid to the from.
Hang your box by late winter. Bats will find your bat box on their own, and they’ll usually come looking for one in the springtime. Try to make sure your box is mounted and secure by late winter, so the bats feel safe and secure hanging out there.