Bats are unique creature that are vital to the many ecosystems around the globe and in our area. According to Bat Conservation International (BCI), one little brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night. If you dislike mosquito bites or moths eating veggies in your garden, then bats could play a direct important role in your life. Urban growth and trees being cut down in our area to make space for homes and building are making it harder and harder for bats to find ideal nesting spaces in our area. If bats are going to occupy your new house, there is a 90% chance they will do so in 2 years, but may take 3-5 years. Bat occupancy of houses happen less in urban settings, but we have some great information to help make your bat house a success! You can always contact us with questions and if your house hasn’t been occupied in 3 year, we will buy it back from you, if you so choose.
Why is your Bat House designed the way it is?
The best bat houses mimic the space between bark and a tree trunk. SFTW Bat Houses are based on designs by BCI, which created recommendations based on 12 years of research during the Bat House Project. Bats like very tight spaces and highly prefer large boxes with multiple chambers. In fact, the more chambers, the more bats can fit in your bat box! They also need it nice and warm for their babies, so we stain the boxes a darker color and caulk all cracks to make sure it can get up to 80-100 degrees in the summer. Holds are important for the bats to grasp onto, which is why we cut grooves into every inside surface. This is time consuming when making the boxes, but is a must for bat houses. Many commercial bat houses don’t have these grooves, or use metal mesh, which is dangerous for the bats due to rust and deterioration.
Why did we install your Bat House where we did?
Bat houses need locations with:
- lots of sun- at least 6 hours of daily sun exposure
- at least 15-20 feet off the ground to protect them against predators
- as far away from bright lights as possible
- in an area where guano can fall and accumulate
- ideally a water source nearby so the mother bat doesn’t have to leave her young for long
Why they aren’t mounted on a tree:
- it’s too easy for predators to get bats as they exit
- the branches cause obstructions to exiting bats which drop down then up into flight
- it’s too shady from the branches above
- walls can be a great place for mounting because they retain heat and are less accessible to predators
Important things to know about bats:
- Your bat house may shelter fewer than 50 to as many as several hundred bats.
- Bats are more likely to move into roosts grouped three or more together, so if you aren’t getting bats, maybe add a bat house or two.
- Cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties. Keep your cat indoors at night or at least around sunset.
- Bats rarely compete with birds for food or space.
- Guano is no more dangerous to humans than bird or cat droppings. Avoid inhalation of dust and you should be fine. Guano is high in nitrogen, so it makes a great fertilizer! Collect it with a shallow tray or potted plant. If you set a large bucket underneath, any baby bats that fall out will become trapped.
- Bats rarely contract rabies and if they do, rarely become aggressive. They quickly die from the disease, so any bat that can be easily caught should be assumed to be sick and left alone.
- If you move, the best thing to do is leave the bat house, as bats will rely on it year after year.
- Wasps may occasionally move into the house, but if the bats are living inside with them, there is no need to remove the wasps and disturb the bats. Remove any wasps or mud daubers nest in the winter or spring before bats return. Restaining or caulking may be needed after 3-5 years to prevent drafts.
If you are interested in a Bat House, please fill out the form below and we will be in touch. If you live outside of the Asheville Area, we can ship, and will simply charge you what it costs for shipping.