Bats and Bat Houses
Bats are extremely beneficial animals to our environment. Insect control is just one of the many valuable contribution’s bats provide for us. A single brown bat can eat over 1000 insects an hour! Bats typically eat flying insects like mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. Could you imagine the number of mosquitoes there would be if there were no bats to eat them? That alone should persuade people to protect these animals and to get rid of bats safely. But what about bats and bat houses?
However, bats do not just eat mosquitoes. Bats also eat the insects that terrorize crops which helps the farmers. Which means the bats contribute to pollinating plants for the environment. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. Bats are amazing creatures that belong outside. Often, bats will move into a human home for shelter. Sharing your home with bats is dangerous, but how do you get rid of the bats in your house? Where will the bats go when they leave? There is the controversial solution of installing bat houses to deter bats.
Bat Houses —Do They Work?
After learning about how beneficial bats are, it’s time to learn about where bats go during the day. Bats are nocturnal which means they are awake primarily during the night. During the day, bats rest and wait for another active night of feeding. But where do the bats go? People have attempted to provide bats with a safe living setting known as a bat house. A bat house is typically a two-foot-tall by one-foot wide wooden box with chambers built inside used to house bats.
Bat houses can be ordered online or made at home. Building a bat house gives you more opportunity to create exactly the type of bat house you want. Do bat houses work? This has been a controversial and highly debatable subject within the bat removal community. Some bat removal experts say the bat houses will deter the bats from living in human houses because they will have adequate space with a bat house. Other bat removal experts argue that bat houses invite bats to live too close to human houses which a bat will prefer to live in.
From our experiences with bat houses, we have found that it only attracts bats to human houses. It really comes down to survival instincts. Would you rather live in a small unheated box usually attached to a tree in the middle of the predators, or live in a secluded attic setting where predators cannot follow you inside and is heated? A bat will not willingly choose a bat house over a house. There is not an effective way to attract bats to a bat house either. The only way to attract bats is with insects (food source) and stable water supply. It’s up to the bats to decide whether they will move into the bat house.
Types of Bat Houses
The three most common types of bat houses are a single chamber, four-chamber, or rocket box. There has long been speculation about which bat house works best. There is no conclusive answer because it depends more on the environment and setting than the design of the bat house. The only evidence that supports bats choosing a certain bat house over another is the color of the house. In colder climate areas, bats prefer a darker bat house. The darker color will absorb more heat for the bats living inside.
A lighter-colored bat house is favored in areas with a warmer climate. A single chamber bat house is a simpler style of bat houses. The main issue with single chamber bat houses is the inconsistent and fluctuating temperature. A four-chamber bat house means there are four areas inside the bat house the bats can use to roost. The last type of bat house, the rocket box, is the most unique. It is a tall narrow bat house, and the inside looks like boxed stacked inside each other. The space between these stacks allows space for bats to roost.
The price bat houses can range from $15.00 to $200.00 or more. Remember to take into consideration the climate, location, and color of the bat house before purchasing. Then, you just need to find somewhere to put it.
Where Do You Put a Bat House
If you choose to install a bat house, there are some locations that are safer for bats than others. The first-place people tend to think a bat house goes is on a tree. While bats do live trees naturally, installing the bat house on the base of the tree will not suffice. Bats live inside hollow trees higher up off the ground. If the bat house is installed on a tree, the shade the tree provides causes the temperature inside the bat house to fluctuate. Therefore, the bats will not like unstable temperatures.
If attempting to install a bat house on a tree, make sure to install it on the South facing side of the tree to get as much direct sun as possible. A bat house should be installed 10 feet or higher off the ground to keep them away from predators. Another popular location people install bat houses is on the exterior of their own house. There are some issues that come along with that installation location. Guano, or bat poop, will accumulate outside of the bat house. Bats do not poop where they sleep, so if they are utilizing the bat house there will be a mess left behind to clean up daily.
The biggest concern with installing a bat house on a human house is that can invite the bats to move into your own house. A bat will sense the human house is a safer, more stable environment than the bat house is. The most recommended area, however, is on the South facing side of exterior buildings such as barns. Installing a bat house will not guarantee bats will move in. A bat will ultimately choose the location it feels the safest and comfortable in. There is a chance bats will move into the bat house, but do not be discouraged if they do not.
Why Bat Houses Do Not Work
Bat houses are an amazing way to try and give the bats shelter to safely live in. However, not many bats will willingly choose to live in bat houses. Approximately 30% of bat houses are successful in hosting a colony of bats. Places that are prone to more cold or harsh winters will have fewer success rates as areas that are generally warmer year-round. Bat houses can be ineffective because bats simply choose not to live in them. The bat does not feel safe in that setting and will seek better shelter. Usually, the bat will find its way to the nearest human home and make its way inside.
A human house has tiny entrance areas high enough no predators can follow the bat inside. A human house also has heat, which attracts bats even more. Finding a temperature-controlled structure is the jackpot for a bat colony! There are numerous places for a bat to hide within the house as well, which offers another form of protection for the bats. Bat houses do not work because the bat does not feel as safe in the bat house as in a human house. Basically, bat houses are a great idea but are not as effective as we hope.