Bat Houses and Best of WNC!
Bat Houses from SFTW
We are happy to announce that we are now offering handcrafted bat boxes as part of our commitment to conservation. With our love of heights and unique abilities to ‘get on up there,’ it seemed a perfect fit to provide this service. On these warm summer nights, it is a wonder to watch the bats swoop and dive in their sonar-driven flight. Their beauty is made even more poignant because they are chowing down on mosquitoes! Pregnant or nursing mothers of some bat species will consume up to their body weight in insects each night. One little brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night! (You know those nasty white Tomato Moths that lay the huge green caterpillars that can eat an entire kale plant in one night… yah, bats LOVE those!)
Bats are wonderfully beneficial creatures that provide invaluable services to natural ecosystems, so we want to do what we can at Smart Feller to promote bat education and conservation. Bats are very adaptable and can live in trees, under bridges or in old buildings, where they give birth and rear young. As the population of our area grows and trees are cleared for houses and businesses, it is becoming harder for bats to find homes to live, putting our local population at risk. Of the 17 bat species that occur in North Carolina, three are listed as federally Endangered and one is listed as federally Threatened. To help combat this, we decided we want to add Bat Houses to our services. This meant doing a lot of research to find what makes a successful bat box!
What do you need in a bat house? Our goal is to make a bat house that mimics the space between bark and a tree trunk, which is the bats’ ideal nursery. That’s why the space inside a bat house is very narrow, unlike a bird house which would house a nest. Bats like tight spaces and need it nice and warm for the babies. According to the National Wildlife Foundation and Bat Conservation International, we make our bat houses to the following standards:
- Roost chambers at least 20 inches tall and at least 14 inches wide
- Houses with at least three chambers are more likely to provide appropriate ranges of temperature and better accommodate the larger numbers of bats typical of nursery colonies
- Coated deck screws or other exterior-grade screws are used instead of nails to assemble houses
- All seams must are caulked, especially around the roof, prior to painting, to keep as much heat in as possible
- The inside panels are roughened with a saw to create holds that simulate bark and allow the bats to hang inside (This takes an extra hour or so to complete, but worth it! Many of the inexpensive houses available don’t have grips or use metal mesh that will rust and fall out and are dangerous to the bats.)
- Houses have a 3- to 6-inch landing areas extending below the entrance
- We use a dark or medium shade of stain to hold heat in
- Front panel includes a ½ inch vent allowing for proper air flow
So now you are intrigued about our bat houses, let’s see if you have a place to hang a few…
Best location for your bat houses are poles, dead tree spars or buildings with:
- Lots of sun
- ideally a water source nearby (so the mother bat doesn’t have to leave her young for too long)
- at least 15 feet off the ground (to protect against predators); and
Bats are less attracted to houses mounted on living trees with extensive canopies. A few reasons for this:
- It’s too easy for predators to get bats as they exit
- The branches causing obstructions to exiting bats which drop down then up into flight
- It’s too shady from branches above
If you are interested in buying a Smart Feller Tree Works Bat House and having it installed, view our webpage here or contact Kelan at email@example.com or 828-545-5503
Best of WNC!
A big thank you to all of you who voted for us in this year’s Best of WNC contest. We are honored and humbled to have been voted the best Tree Service in WNC for five straight years!