What can you say about bats? Many people find them a nuisance, but there are all sorts of reasons you may want them on your property. Did you know that bats are one of nature’s best natural pest repellers?
The best bat houses should mimic the natural environment of bats. Bat houses should be tight-spaced but rough-textured for bats to hang as they would in the wild. The enclosure should also provide the right, warm temperature for nesting, raising babies, and offer adequate protection from predators.
This article covers the different types of bat houses, where you can mount them to attract and protect the bats that inhabit them, and DIY tips in case you want to build one all on your own. You’ll have so many bats, you won’t be able to keep them out! Kidding of course. Maybe. Let’s get to it!
This gorgeous, 2 chamber bat house can hold up to 75 bats at a time. Built from cedar, the BIGBATBOX from KEXMY comes with stainless steel hardware and is preassembled.
The inside, like others on this list, is grooved so that when bats are roosting or resting, they have an early place to grip and hang.
The premium material that the box is made of is quite sturdy and the entire build is based off of BCI recommendations (Bat Conservation International)
While others on this list may be more practical from a cost perspective, this handcrafted wooden bat house from KIBAGA comes highly rated and is absolutely beautiful.
This bat house measures in at 16.5×10.2×4 and contains two chambers – ideal for roosting bats near your home.
The handcrafted wood (cedar) is weather treated as well, so its designed to hold up in tougher climates. Better yet, the box comes preassembled and with installation screws, so you have everything you need besides a screwdriver to install the bat house.
Really highly recommend taking a look at this one.
And of course, if you do end up having bats taking up shelter in your home or attic, you can contact our nationwide network of pest control professionals who can help you safely remove them.
The INCLY House Kit Outdoor Bat House has an attractive and simple design as compared to most bat houses. It’s a more compact design measuring in at 14.6×6.7.x2.2
One of the things good about this design is the installation hook on the back of the bat house, leading to a very easy install.
Additionally, the cedar wood is very dense and thick, leading to a nicely done home for roositng bats.
The INCLY House Kit Outdoor Bat House is a more cost effective option compared to others on this list, which has to do with its single chamber design.
Lastly, the INCLY Outdoor Bat House comes in 3 colors, with the “natural” color being shown above.
If you’re in love with the design but are looking for a double chamber bat house instead of a single chamber (the double chamber allows you to house more bats), you can take a look at the Double Chamber INCLY Bat House for Outdoors here.
The ideal location for this bat house is next to a water source and some feet away from the trees. Certain insects and mosquitoes breed or spend a lot of time on the water, so the bats can be assured of a constant food supply.
If you’re looking to test out a more compact and cost effective bat house while you’re just starting to get into the bat house game, this may be the way to go.
The Kenley Outdoor Box, as the name suggests, is also mounted outside but in a place where it gets direct sunlight for at least five to six hours daily and away from the wind.
This handcrafted cedar box measures in at 15″x9.2″x3.2″ and is specially designed to shelter a colony of small bats only.
The structure, as mentioned, is handcrafted from cedar wood that is treated to ensure it stays smooth and waterproof. You can paint or spray the bat house any color you prefer, but remember to select colors that conserve heat, as this is ideal for rearing young bats.
This bat house has a mounting hook at the back while the inside of the house is fashioned in a way that prompts the bats to fly to their roots. It should be mounted twelve feet above the ground to discourage predators from reaching them.
One of its striking features is three chambers that provide a large holding capacity to dozens of bats. The structure is also weatherproof, and it can withstand severe weather conditions.
The Kenley interior is well-spaced and grooved; there are rough grooves and platform for the natural landing of the bats.
The bat house comes pre-assembled, so it’s realitively easy to put up.
Applewood Outdoor’s Premium Bat House is a USA made model created with western red cedar. It comes pre-finished and coated with weather-resistant dark-colored paint for heat retention, which retains warmth that bats are easily attracted to.
The interior of the structure is grooved for bats and where they land, so this makes it easy for them to rest and roost. The wood on Applewood Outdoor’s Premium Bat House is about 3/4th inches thick, and measures in at 14(7/8)x3(1/2)x10 inches total.
One thing that separates Applewood Outdoor’s Outdoor Premium Bat House is that the company states that by purchasing their USA made bat house, you’re also supporting their locally based suppliers, as they use a small lumbar distributor and several other small businesses that they purchase their included hardware from.
Uncle Dunkel’s Triple Chamber Bark Clad bat house has one of the coolest brand names (mostly because it rhymes), and is one of the largest bat houses, with a capacity of three hundred bats (capable of housing several colonies of bats.)
This bat house offers a natural shelter for the bats all year round. It is built of long-lasting wood with a popular bark front cover, making the Dunkel’s Chamber a nice home for bats’ roosting.
Which to add, this bat house is quite stylish if you’re going for the rustic outdoors aesthetic.
As the name suggests, the bat house consists of three chambers, and each chamber has a netting of polythene mesh for easy gripping by the bat during roosting. The front part is horizontal to offer ventilation for the bats and allows the sun rays to penetrate the structure.
The base has an extension meant to provide the bats with a smooth and comfortable surface to enter the structure. Three holes are pre-drilled, which makes it easier to place the structure against the fence or wall.
This beautiful, pre-assembled bat house is made from handcrafted and premium cedar/varnished materials at 11×9.2x 4.5.
The weatherproofing is interesting, as it allows the bat house to stay up and present during both rain, snow, and heated climates – giving you a year-round bat house.
You’ll want to install this bat house, just like most of the other bat houses on this list, in direct sunlight. The dark finish on the bat house provides the roositng bats with a warmer environment than a light one.
Additionally, the inside of the bat house is grooved where bats can find it easier to rest.
This 2 chamber bat house fits up to 75 bats at a time! The outside of this western red cedar wood based bat house is covered in 3 layers of water based paint, and has rainproof Dado joint, which help to prevent moisture on the inside of the bad house.
This WHITEHORSE bat house comes in 3 different colors, brown (shown above), black, and a natural wood color.
Study and cedar. The Wildlife Seekers USA bat house is naturally rot resistance and is built to last.
The outside of the bat house is professionally stained with a high grade medium finish to make it both attractive and weather resistant.
This bat house also comes with an easy to follow installation guide and recommendations on the best place to install your new bat house.
This naturally colored and grooved bat house offers a different look than others on this list. Evergreen prides itself in its light, natural appearance.
You may opt for a darker bat house as the natural finish could lead to a less warm environment in certain areas (dark colors hold in heat better) but Evergreen is one of the more reputable bat houses on the market and has proven its viability in the field.
Evergreen’s Natural Wood Single Chamber Bat House measures in at 13.5x9x5 and is a single chamber (vs a double or triple.)
So, if you’re just starting out with a bat house or don’t want to leave the door open for too many bats to take shelter, this is a great option for you.
Why Bats Benefit From Bat Houses
As much as bats are wild, not all bats live in a cave, and just a few spend their winter in caves while most of them usually spend their summer on the trees, old buildings, and under bridges where they reproduce and take care of their young ones.
Bats typically feed on insects and mosquitoes, and some eat fruits. When their source of food brings them closer to human habitats, they might find comfort in nearby buildings and go for the attic because of its one of the darkest places in the house.
The presence of bats within our residential territory is beneficial, after all, because they unknowingly assist in pollination, feed on mosquitoes and insects that might otherwise bother us in some way.
This is actually ideal, as bats can help keep your garden insect population in check.
When you sense their presence close by, it is advisable to invest in a suitable bat house as soon as possible before they find comfort in your attic.
If you choose to house them in specialized bat houses, ensure that their new environment resembles their natural habitat as much as possible. If they feel comfortable in their new environment, they will form a colony and stay away from your attic after giving them a second home.
How to Build an Effective Bat House That Attracts Bats
Many of the bat houses above are smaller than the recommended bat houses by Bat Conservation International. Batcon.org recommends that any usable bat houses are 24” high x 16” as bats are more than likely to roost into groups of three or more and the bigger bat house will provide proper heating throughout.
Many of the above ones listed above are smaller, as their recommendations would mostly sit at a four-chamber bat house potentially having 150 bats on your property which you may want, or that may be too many depending on your area.
You could purchase multiple of the bat houses recommended above to put next to each other, or if you’re feeling DIYish today, we’ll be summarizing some of the Bat Conservation International build tips below.
If you already know you’d like to build one, you can go ahead and skip to the end of this section where we linked to an in-depth building guide from batcon.org.
So essentially, you can build a house to attract bats to inhabit the new bat house, by following standard construction and installation guidelines from Bat Conservation International for creating a four-chamber bat house.
Here are several summarized tips from Bat Conservation International below:
- Design of the bat house. Bat houses should be two feet tall or more from the ground, and if it has chambers, they should be twenty inches tall and fourteen inches wide complete with a landing area extending below the entrance at three to six inches. Roost partitioning should be spaced ¾ to one inch apart and all landing areas roughened.
Ensure the wooden surfaces are grooved or scratched horizontally at about ¼ to ½ inch intervals. Added vents should measure six inches from the bottom and be the same length as the width of the house.
- Construction of the bat house. Cedarwood and plywood are recommended for building wooden bat houses. Avoid using pressure-treated wood as they rot and damage the house faster. Instead of nails, use screws and staples for exterior grade i.e., galvanized, coated, or stainless.
- Treatment of wood used in building the bat house. Treat the exterior with three coats of exterior grade, water-based paint, or stain. Do not pick any color. Instead, match the local temperatures with the appropriate color for that region. For example, use dark colors where temperatures are below 29.44°C (85°F).
The interior needs only two coats: dark, exterior grade, water-based stain. Paint spoil grooves so paint before creating the grooves.
- The direction of sun exposure to the bat house. All but houses should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight only as full-day sunlight is unfavorable. Enough sunlight is necessary to create favorable conditions for maternity.
- The habitat of the bat colony. Bat houses cannot attract bats in places that the bats are not attempting to live in. The success of populating the houses is most likely in diverse habitats where roosts can be within ¼ mile of water.
- Mounting the finished bat house. Poles and houses with adequate exposure to sunlight make the best mounting surfaces and trees or metal siding are not used as often.
- Protecting the bats from predators. Mount bat houses on metal poles or sides of buildings for maximum protection from predators, otherwise use metal guards to keep predators away. Ideally, every mounting should be at least 20 to 25 feet away from potential perches.
- Keeping away uninvited guests. Wasps tend to invade bat houses before the bats move in. A ¾ inch roosting space can help mitigate this risk. If the wasps increase, remove them in late winter or early spring. But open-bottom houses are the ultimate solution that also stops birds, squirrels, parasites.
- When to build the bat house. The first summer is the best time to build your bat house before they come in. If you intend to chase them away from your house, start building two to six weeks before evicting them.
- Carrying out experiments. Do test runs to assess local needs before building many houses then make comparisons for color and sun exposure.
Please, if you’d like a full in-depth building guide, we reccomend following Bat Conservation International’s guide here.
How Often Do Bats Reproduce?
Most bats reproduce once a year and have at least one baby during that time. Some can give birth to up to four babies at once.
Their mating period comes in the summer, and the females give birth in the spring. Interestingly, the females are capable of storing the male’s sperm until spring, while others deny the fertilized egg a chance to develop. Mating takes place early to prevent the males from mating in a weak state after hibernation.
So, if you intend to house a colony of bats, note that their birth cycle is not regular, but if many of them reproduce at the same time, then housing becomes a problem.
Can I Have Bats as Pets?
While yes, some species of bats can be kept as pets, not all bats can be domesticated, and for those that can, they live a shorter life under human care than they would out in the wild.
It’s not worth it to have a bat as a pet, as you’ll be doing more harm than good for the creature.
Their needs in the natural world cannot be replicated in captivity because of their diet, freedom of movement, and hibernation habits.
Unless you are a wildlife rehabilitator helping a bat to recover (good for you), you shouldn’t keep a bat as a pet.
Remember, the goal of having a bat house is to both provide safe haven for bats as they are natural insect repellers, and its a good thing to do.
That’s a Wrap!
Bats do not know any better than to venture out of their comfort zone, but when they find an equally appealing welcome elsewhere, they stay.
The best solution to prevent bats from infesting and damaging your house from the attic down is to invest in a bat house. This will ensure that they leave your house and occupy the bat house so long as it’s the right size, the right color for insulation, and the right location.
If you find it difficult to cope with the sudden change in their habit or their numbers become overwhelming, you can call our nationwide network of pest control professionals to handle the bat problem for you.
If you have a bat problem, we’ll connect you with a local pest control professional in your area within seconds who can you remedy the situation.
Having read this far about the ten best bat houses and where you should put them, you should be in a better position to make a sound decision next time you go looking for bat houses and understanding their behavior.