bat housesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
has anyone built a bat house and been occupied by a bat? i live in central missouri where there are caves around and bats seem like a great way to control misquitos. i would like to hear success stories befor i buy or build one. thanks randy
-- randy in central missouri (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2002
Randy, you might check with your County Extension Service and your local Fish and Wildlife. I have recieved bat house plans from both. Also, it is a good idea to get a book on the subject. I think I picked up a good one at Home Depot. Also, check with all of the above plus your Humane Society there and get the number of the Wildlife Homecare Network. Here in Oregon, some of us specialize in rehabbing bats and I think you must have people who do that there and they will be glad to help you out. You are in a different climate than I am and so where you locate the houses and what color they are stained or painted is important and also exposure to sun. How close to trees etc. Two of my houses are occupied and it varies from year to year. We are right on a little river and we have a pond and I like the idea of providing homes for the little mosquito munchers, and we do not have the caves that you have. Good luck, I hope you will check back and let us know what is happening. :) LQ
-- Little Quacker (email@example.com), February 19, 2002.
I have a good firend who is a bat expert. Bats in different area have color likes and dislikes. If you build a bat house try to find out what color you should paint it. Here in Minnesota the bats like black or brown houses, In Nabraska they like blue houses. I don't know the reason why but it must have something to do with their environment and where they feel safe. Also if it is too hot they will not go into in.
-- Susan in Minnesota (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2002.
The University of Florida here in Gainesville has one about the size of a small barn. Took a bit for it to populate but they're in there. My only comment is THEY STINK! Now most folks aren't going to build one the size of the university's so perhaps it wouldn't be a problem but on a hot day that thing will make a broiler house, egg factory, or hog farm smell good.
That guano would probably make some rocket fueled fertilizer though.
-- Alan (email@example.com), February 19, 2002.
Hi; Ours has been up for several years.There are no bats yet but we are still hopefull. regards
-- ourfarm (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2002.
try this site: www.batcon.org
-- Ben Ben (email@example.com), February 19, 2002.
Criteria for Successful Bat Houses
1. Design–All bat houses should be at least 2 feet tall, 14 inches or more wide and have a landing area extending below the entrance at least 3 to 6 inches (some ready-made houses feature recessed partitions that offer landing space inside). Taller and wider houses are even better. Most houses have one to four roosting chambers–the more the better. Roost partitions should be carefully spaced 3/4 to 1 inch apart. All partitions and landing areas should be roughened. Wood surfaces can be scratched or grooved horizontally, at roughly 1/2-inch intervals.
2. Construction–A combination of exterior plywood and cedar is best. Do not use pressure-treated wood. Any screws, hardware or staples used must be exterior grade or galvanized. To increase longevity, use screws rather than nails. Caulk all seams, especially around the roof.
3. Wood Treatment– For the exterior, apply three coats of exterior grade, water-based paint or stain. Available observations suggest that color should be black where average high temperatures in July are less than 85º F, dark colors (such as dark brown or dark gray) where they are 85 to 95° F, medium colors where they are 95 to 100º F and white or light colors where they exceed 100º F. Much depends upon amount of sun exposure; adjust to darker colors for less sun. For the interior, use two coats black, exterior grade, water-based stain. Apply stain after creating scratches or grooves or prior to stapling plastic mesh. Paint fills grooves, making them unusable.
4. Sun Exposure–Houses where high temperatures in July average 80º F or less, should receive at least 10 hours of sun; more is better. At least six hours of direct daily sun are recommended for all bat houses where daily high temperatures in July average less than 100º F. Full, all-day sun is often the most successful in all but the hottest climates.
5. Habitat–Most nursery colonies of bats choose roosts within 1/4 mile of water, preferably a stream, river or lake. Greatest bat house success has been achieved in areas of diverse habitat, especially where there is a mixture of varied agricultural use and natural vegetation. Bat houses are most likely to succeed in regions where bats are already attempting to live in buildings.
6. Mounting–Bat houses should be mounted on poles or buildings. Houses mounted on trees or metal siding are seldom used. Wood or stone buildings with proper solar exposure are excellent choices, and locations under the eaves often have been successful. Mounting two bat houses back to back on poles is ideal. Place houses 3/4 inch apart and cover both with a galvanized metal roof to protect the center roosting space from rain. All bat houses should be mounted at least 12 feet above ground; 15 to 20 feet is better. Bat houses should not be lit by bright lights.
7. Protection from Predators–Houses mounted on sides of buildings or on metal poles provide the best protection from predators. Metal predator guards may be helpful, especially on wooden poles. Bat houses may be found more quickly if located along forest or water edges where bats tend to fly; however, they should be placed at least 20 to 25 feet from the nearest tree branches, wires or other potential perches for aerial predators. Open-bottom houses greatly reduce problems with birds, mice, squirrels or parasites, and guano does not accumulate inside.
9. Timing–Bat houses can be installed at any time of the year, but are more likely to be used during their first summer if installed before the bats return in spring.
-- Laura (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 19, 2002.