Bat House Installation: How and Where
Building a bat house in your yard or garden can provide a natural way of eliminating pests. If properly installed, your bat house will be soon be occupied by a small colony of bats. Even a handful of these natural predators are sufficient to eradicate mosquitoes and harmful pests from your garden.
Bat houses come in many designs, including the chambered, multi-layered format that is ideal for containing a small bat colony. Read on for instructions about placing and constructing an effective bat house.
Selecting Bat House Site
A bat box can be easily mounted on a wall, tree or post. Not all trees are ideal for housing a bat house. Those that are too shady or are surrounded by densely-foliaged shrubs tend to deter bats. The post can be installed anywhere. While choosing a site for your bat box, ensure:
- Sufficient morning sunlight, like 7 to 8 hours on a daily basis. You may choose a south-southeast orientation; though this does not guarantee sunlight, it is considered as a sunlight-friendly direction.
- Placement at least 10 feet off the ground. This will ensure that it is out of the way of high traffic from people, pets and moving vehicles. Too many vibrations in the ground will disturb bats and may cause them to abandon the box.
- A nearby source of drinking water, especially during the summer. Presence of any freshwater resource in the vicinity ensures that the bats will be active all year. A bat box within 1,500 feet of any perennial source of clean water is ideal.
Conventional Bat House Installation
Bat houses mounted on a wall or a tree can be hung with a few screws or hammered into any wooden surface. However, using a post for installing a bat house is the conventional and the most effective method. This type of installation needs a systematic approach.
Installing Bat House
- Using the digging bar, excavate a hole about 3 ft. deep. Enlarge the sides of the hole to avoid cement spillage.
- Mount the top pole on the post, and make markings for drilling the holes. Drill holes into the post. This is for securing the lag bolts.
- Secure the pole with 2 bolts on the front side. Tighten 1 lag bolt at the top. Your front bolt should be inserted into the surface (countersunk), helping the bat box to lie flat.
- Place the lower pole mount bracket on the post. The bottom side of the lower pole should be mounted 34 inches away from the upper bracket. Secure the pole using two lag bolts.
- Using the square, ensure that the bracket is perpendicular to the post.
- The box can be fixed to the brackets using the screws provided in the kit. The upper mounting should have about 5 screws and the landing plate of the bat box should have 4. Tighten the screws with the wrench.
- Check for seams that are separated. You can use the sealant to ensure that no gaps are left along the seam.
- Caulk the upper mounting to make the structure more stable.
- Paint the post and the brackets with a paint of your choice.
- While moving the box, ensure that the post is centered inside the dug hole.
- Twist the front of the box to make it face the southeast direction.
- Level the post and add concrete around the hole. The concrete mix should be made with minimal amount of water to help it dry quickly.