Bats have been the source of many myths and fears for many years. Dispelling these myths and fears is as simple as knowing the facts
North American bats are invaluable natural resources. As primary predators of night-flying insects, bats play a vital role in maintaining the balance of nature. A single little brown bat can catch hundreds of mosquitoes in an hour. Bats that frequent bat houses eat insects that could damage crops, such as cucumber and June beetles, stink bugs, leafhoppers and corn worm moths. Most likely to inhabit bat houses are little brown bats, big brown bats, eastern pipistrelle and the eastern long-eared bat.
• Providing bat houses can help build the populations of many valuable bat species. Providing houses furnishes places for bats to roost, hibernate and raise young, in addition to, and when the natural sites are not available.
• Little Brown Bats, while hibernating can reduce their heart rate to 20 beats per minute and can stop breathing for 48 minutes at a time. Little Brown Bats can hibernate for more than seven months if left undisturbed.
• Desert eco systems rely on nectar feeding bats as primary pollinators of giant cacti.
• A nursing little brown bat mother can eat more than her body weight nightly (up to 4,500 insects).
• Less than 1% of bats contract rabies, and usually bite in self defense.
• A mother Mexican Free-tailed Bat can produce more than five times as much milk as an average Holstein cow.
• Almost 40% of American bat species are threatened or endangered.
• The loss of bats contributes to an imbalance in nature that helps cause increases in use of toxic pesticides that threaten our heath and environment.
Providing bat houses can help build the populations of many valuable bat species. Providing houses furnishes places for bats to roost, hibernate and raise young. This is, in addition to and when, natural sites are not available.
Most likely to inhabit bat houses are little brown bats, big brown bats, eastern pipistrelle and the eastern long-eared bat.
In the northern two thirds of the U.S. and Canada, most bats migrate south in the winter. Most bats that inhabit bat houses will move to caves, or mines. Tree roosting bats will fly south.
Bats find houses by sight. If a house in the proper location, meets the requirements and is needed, the bats will move in on their own.
The majority of bats that use houses are females using the house as nurseries.
Bat House Placement
Bat boxes should be hung at least 15’ above the ground– the higher, the better. Research shows that they are more successful if they have at least 8 hours of sun. The morning sun is most important. Bat houses should face the south or southeast. In northern areas the top third of the house should be painted brown or black with a latex water base paint to aid in warming the box. In southern parts of the country, the boxes can be painted latex water base white, if there is too much direct sun. Bat houses mounted 20’ away from trees are inhabited twice as quickly as those in wooded areas.