Frequently asked questions about bats
Have a question about attracting bats to your property? We’ve got the answers!
Why do I want bats in my yard?
The bat population can be seen as a litmus test for how healthy the environment is. Bats cannot live in areas with high air pollution or an over-abundance of pesticides in the water and food supply. Watching your local bat population is a good precursor to alert you of possible environmental issues.
Not to mention, bats are one of the most effective pest repellants around! A small bat will eat as many as 1200 mosquitoes in a single hour. Since bats can’t contract the same diseases from mosquitoes that humans do, it’s a win-win situation. In addition to mosquitoes, bats eat beetles, moths and some leaf-hopping bugs. Bats are so adept at catching them that most insects have evolved to “hear” bats and will avoid areas where they nest all together. This helps to reduce the need for pesticides to protect garden plants.
How do I attract bats to my yard?
Installing a bat house is the first move in a game plan to attract bats. Natural housing spots are rapidly declining in most areas since most humans view these nocturnal creatures as pests and actively try to rid themselves of them. By placing a bat nesting box in your yard, you can help build up the bat population in your area. You’ll be surprised how many bats will nest in just one house! We’ve seen as many as 300 in one house.
How do I know what size my bat house should be?
Larger bat houses are easier to attract bats to, as they like to roost in groups. Look for a bat house with occupancy for 100-300 bats. It is also beneficial to have more than one house so females can roost with their young in a separate place from males.
How do I know if bats are in my area?
Chances are pretty good that you do. Bats inhabit all continents, except Antarctica. You might even have bats in your yard without your knowledge. Many people do.
Do bats hibernate?
Bats do hibernate, at varying times depending on where you live–in North America, during the late fall and early spring. During this time, bats will seek dark cold places in warmer climates. If you’re living in a climate that is warm year round (like we are here in Florida), your bats will not hibernate.
How do I know what species of bats are here?
It’s likely that more than one species are living near you. In the U.S, Big and Little Brown Bats are the most common and are likely to show up in your bat house. Try calling local park service or wildlife conservation organizations. They will know exactly what species live in your area.
Where should I mount my bat house?
Mount your bat house on a pole or the side of a barn or shed (don’t mount your bat house on your home). It is much more difficult to attract bats if you mount the house on a tree and the occupancy levels are usually lower. If you’re mounting on a building, mount the bat house under an eave and make sure it will receive 8-10 hours of sunlight each day (to keep it warm). Houses should be mounted at least 15 feet off the ground.
Should bat houses be painted?
Bat houses do not need to be painted. However, if you live in a warm climate (like we do in Florida), painting the house a color that will reflect the light will help to regulate the internal temperature of the house. Whatever you decide, don’t paint the inside of the house. Just like birdhouses, natural wood is important on the inside.
What time of year do I put out my bat house?
Bat houses are less seasonal than birdhouses. However, there is some evidence that houses mounted in early spring are occupied more quickly. If you’re trying to remove the bats from a building and direct them to your bat house, mount the box at least three weeks in advance of the eviction.
How do I know if the bat house is inhabited?
Look for bat droppings near the house (guano). You can shine a flashlight into the house, but don’t do this too often or you will disturb the colony and cause them to abandon the house.
What can I do if the bats are not coming?
Be patient. Attracting a colony of bats can take a long time, sometimes up to a year. If you haven’t found bats in your box after several months ask yourself the following questions:
Did I mount the box high enough?
Is my bat house close to a regular water source?
Are there enough food sources around?
Does my bat house need cleaning?
No. Bat houses are completely maintenance free, with the exception of repainting every few years (if you’ve chosen to paint the box).
Should I feed the bats?
You do not need to provide any special food for bats. Their primary food source is insects, so as long as there are mosquitoes in your area, the bats will find their own food.
Are bats dangerous?
Only if handled inappropriately. Bats are wild animals, but they are not aggressive to birds, people or most animals. Bats should not be touched by humans, as they will bite. However, if you keep your distance, they won’t be chasing you! Birds and bats rarely interact due to bats being nocturnal and do not compete for food sources.
How can I get bats out of the house?
Putting up a bat house in your yard will not be enough to lure the bats out. Although you can find many sources on the internet on how to evict bats from your home, we highly recommend enlisting professional help via a recommendation from your local wildlife service if bats are in your attic.