Bat House


One Picture
=s 10,000 words




 Mosquitoes dream home !

Succulent tidbits that bats survive on!

Leaf Hoppers

Corn Ear Worm Moths

Stink Bugs

Cut Worms

Root Worms

Cucumber Betles


June Beetles

All of us are Mammals
drink (lap) water
with our tongues.
Have 4 feet.
2 eyes, 2 ears,
one nose,
some teeth
and a tail.

one of us
has wings!
Which one?

Little Brown Bat
Myotis lucifugus
Wooded areas throughout most of Canada and northern half of the U.S., except desert and arid areas. The species that most commonly occupies bat houses.

Bats have long been maligned by humans a taboo, a creature to be shunned. These little furry animals that fly seem to be half-bird, half-mammal and ugly to look at.

Today we are given our proper recognition as valuable to mankind in the ecological system. Many plants, such as bananas and the endangered saguaro cactus are dependent upon bats for pollination because they bloom at night. Bats are also responsible for 95% of the reforestation of the tropical rain forests through their dispersal seeds.

Our immediate appeal to most people is our enormous capacity for consuming insects. We are a nocturnal animal, and eat when the insects are out, in contrast to birds, which eat during the day. A single brown bat, one of the most abundant and widespread bats in North America, can eat 3,000 to 9,000 mosquitoes each night and a bat can live to be 20 years old. Thats a pretty effective insecticide, especially when you consider that it doesnt poison other creatures or make holes in the ozone layer.

Bats are Cute
Bats are generally quite harmless to people. They do not become tangled in your hair nor do they attack humans. They are far less prone to be rabid than household dogs and cats. In the United States alone more than 10 people die annually from dog attacks not to mention dog and cat transmitted diseases. [Research has stated that 16% of all cats and 11% of all dogs are rabid]
University of Michigan]

In more than four decades, public health records indicate that only 16 people in the United States and Canada have died of bat-borne diseases. Placed in perspective, this means that the odds of anyone dying of a disease from a bat are much less than one in a million. In mosquito season several children are likely to die each year from encephalitis contracted through a mosquito bite. The disease is passed from birds to humans by mosquitoes.

Good Luck!

There are some forty species of bats throughout the U.S. and Canada, the most common being the little brown bat.

In the Orient we are gentle animals, are symbols of good luck, long life and happiness. We are meticulous in our grooming, spending a fair part of the day and night combing and grooming our fur. We generally segregate by gender. [When the birthing process begins in late spring the females will drive the males from the present roosting location, forcing the males to locate elsewhere.]
[think about installing a second Bat Condo®]

We are the second most common land mammals, with rodents being first. As we fly we navigate by means of a sophisticated echolocation system. The bat sends out signals of sound energy which are reflected back, giving us the location of an object as well as its texture and other characteristics. [They can avoid a single human hair with extreme accuracy in total darkness giving lie to the myth that bats are blind.]

Bat Housing Crunch
Bats are feeling the housing crunch as much as people. Their favorite old hollow trees, barns and old houses keep disappearing.

Bat houses have narrow crevices at the bottom for bats to enter and rough surfaces inside for them to hold onto. A bat house should be hung at least 10 to 15 feet above the ground, sheltered from the wind and unobstructed by obstacles to flying such as power lines. To keep the interior very warm place the house on the side of a tree or building which receives maximum sun especially in the morning. If your location is not sunny enough to warm the house to 80/100F required by nursery colonies you may want to add tarpaper or dark colored shingles to the bat house roof. If you paint it use exterior water based paint.  Oil based paints and stains are toxic to the bats. A cooler location may attract a colony of bachelors who frequently select cooler roosts. [Research has indicated that outside finish water based paint does not deter bats. The house should be installed in the fall and allowed to season through the winter. DO NOT stain or paint the inside roosting area.]

Location and Food Source
Bat houses located near a source of water, marsh, lake or stream are most likely to attract bats as this habitat provides the insects needed for their food. A 1 to 1 year wait is a common waiting period for bats to move into a new house. If you hang your bat house in the fall or winter it may be occupied in the first active season. If not occupied within 2 years change the location. If bats live in your area and your bat house is appropriately located they will find it. [After 1 year of no bat house residents, a researcher moved his bat house a distance of 6ft. and successfully attracted a colony of bats.]

During winter month bats living in Canada and the northern two-thirds of the U.S. migrate south or to nearby caves for a period of hibernation. Most bats cannot survive subfreezing temperatures. [Alabama and Texas are very popular winter stops. An abundance of caves is the attraction.]

Bats are in need of protection if they are to survive. They have proven themselves as valuable members of our ecosystem.

A bat loose in a house is probably a young one who is lost and looking for a way out. Do not try to kill it but gently catch it with a towel or net and allowed to escape without harm. Bat colonies in warm attics can be evacuated safely and encouraged to take up new residence in a bat house of their own. [Some exterminators have discovered that moth balls placed into the attic space will deter bats. [A friend of mine experienced this at his northern Wisconsin cottage. Took just a couple of days for the bats to find a new roost in the outhouse.]

Cave explorers should not disturb the caves of roosting bats as rousing them from their hibernation may cause them to use up much of their stored body fat and die before spring. In this way thousands of bats have been destroyed. [Bats heart beat rate during activity is 1200 beats per minute. Inactive rate during hibernation slows to approximately 70 beats per minute.]

Bats are declining world wide at an alarming rate due to human misunderstanding. They have typically only one offspring per year, making their comeback slow and in need of
 our help.

Other information gathered
by the Bat Condo® builder:

  • Bat droppings (guno) will appear directly below the bat house. It is non-poisioness and makes great plant fertilizer for flowers and new trees. Do not abuse the amount used. It could be harmful to young plants. More is NOT better.
  • Bats do NOT catch mosquitoes and other gnats with their mouth. A sticky substance on their wings does the catching as they fly through swarms of prey. In turn the bat will pluck the gnats from their wings while in flight. The females return to their young with gnats attached to their wings. The young proceed to eat lunch.
  • Bats navigation speed is 10 to 50 miles per hour.
  • New born bats cling to the mothers underside for approximately 2 weeks. After that they remain inside the roost until ready to fly. (approx 4 more weeks) By then they have been introduced to gnats and their own survival is dependent on what they catch to eat.
  • Bats have no desire to grab onto a humans hair and make a nest. [they dont know when it was last washed!]
  • Bats will not fly around and bite people. Just like any other mamal or human, they will defend themselves if cornered!
  • Less than 1/2 of 1% of bats are rabid. If infected a bat will die within 3 to 4 days. Pick them up with rake or shovel and dispose of them.
  • Remember the females kick the males out of the roost when the birthing begins. You better have a couple more of these
    Bat Condos®.
  • We could end up in your attick, garage or outhouse again!

Below descriptions courtesy of:
Bat Conservation International, Inc.

Pillid bat
Antrozous pallidu

Western and Southwestern U.S. Winter habitat unknown, presumed to hibernate locally in deep rock crevices.

Big brown bat
Eptesicus fuscus

Mostly restricted to Gulf states. Confirmed bat house use in Florida.

Southeastern myotis
Myotis austroriparius

Mostly restricted to Gulf States. Believed to use bat houses in Gulf States. Confirmed in Florida.

Northern long-eared myotis
  Myotis septentrionalis

Upper Midwest and East into Canada, also ranging south into northern Arkansas, Tennessee, eastern Alabama and western Georgia. Little is known about their nursery colonies.

Yuma myotis
Myotis yumanensis
All of western Canada, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Arizona, extreme western Nevada, east Utah, South Colorado and western New Mexico. Rears young in caves and under bridges and in bat houses. Lives in bat houses from Arizona to southwestern Canada.

Evening bat
Nycticeius humeralis
East of the Appalachians, ranges from southern Pennsylvania to Florida. Been found in southern Michigan and Wisconsin, west to south Nebraska and southern Texas. Roosts in buildings and bat houses. Shares roosts with Mexican free-tailed bats.

Eastern pipistrelle
Pipistrellus subflavus
Eastern North America into Canada, except northern New England. Most of the Midwest, except Michigan, northern Indiana and western Wiscounsin. Twice reported in bat houses. Hibernates in caves.

Mexican free-tailed bat
Tadarida brasiliensis
Common in southern and southwestern U.S., and north to Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Oregon. Rears young in caves, buildings, bridges and in bat houses. Migrates to overwinter in caves of Mexico and Central America. Non-migratory in the southeastern U.S. Remains active year-round.

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