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Why would I want to attract bats?
Bats are part of the natural balance in ecosystems around the world. Bats eat insects or bugs, including beetles, moths, leafhoppers, rootworm larva, grasshoppers, scorpions, centipedes, ants flies, crickets, mosquitoes and more. One small bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour. Bats eliminate the need for pesticides for insect control as well as provide a natural fertilizer. They do not impact the food supply for birds.
How do I attract bats?
Purchasing a bat house is the first step. Bats cannot be purchased or sold so one must attract them. Bats investigate new roosting opportunites while foraging at night. By placing a correctly built bat house placed near a water source increases the odds of attracting bats. Bat houses installed on buildings or poles tend to attract more bats than bat houses attached to trees.
What should I do with the bat guano?
The bat guana may be captured in a shallow tray or plant saucer and then used as part of the fertilization for your garden.
What maintenance do I have to do?
The bat houses should be inspected monthly. They should be monitored for invasion by predators, overheating, and deterioration. All inspections and maintenance should be done while the bats are not present. Bats that are disturbed while roosting will find another bat house.
Each winter the bat house should be cleaned of any wasp or mud dauber nests.
The bat houses should have new caulk and paint every 3-5 years.
What if I have bats in my attic and want them out?
The bats are usually quite happy living in the attic. First purchase a bat house and install it. Next during early spring or late summer wait for dusk. After the bats have left to forage for the evening place bird netting over the area the bats exited. The netting should be large enough to cover the exit point plus one foot to each side and below the opening. This will allow and bats that stayed behind to still be able to exit, but will not allow any bats to return. If the bat house that was purchased for the bats is acceptable the bats will move in. If it is not and you want to encourage bats to remain on your propery we recommend ensuring the exterior color is right for the average July temperature for your area.
What about rabies?
Yes, there are some bats that have rabies. However, as with dogs with rabies, the percentage of the population is less than 1%. Never handle a bat so the bat whether infected or not does not have the opportunity to bite you. Assume if a bat is on the ground it is sick.
What about vampire bats?
Out of the over 1,000 species of bats there are 3 that are classified as vampire bats. All three live in Latin America. They do not suck all of the blood. These bats puncture small holes in the foot or leg or a sleeping mammal or bird and lap about 2 tablespoons. In fact, vampire bats have been very useful in developing heart medications for humans.
Can I have a bat for a pet?
No. All bats are wild animals. If a bat is slow enough for a human to catch, it is most likely sick and should be avoided. Also it is illegal in many countries to own a bat.
What size bat house is needed?
This is one of those times where larger is often better. A combination of one large or multiple chambers and one small or single chamber bat house also increases the chance for occupancy. Some bats prefer to have a place for the males to sleep and a separate place for the females and the young. The larger bat houses are sometimes referred to as nursery houses.
Where does the bat house go?
Place each bat house on a building or pole at least 12' high facing in a southerly direction.