Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

How to Make a Bat House

If you're needing some indoor winter projects, bat houses are quick and easy to make.  When most people think about bats, they conjure up scary stories and cover their heads, but they should really be welcoming them into their yards because bats are a natural pest controller!  A single bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour!! 

I did a bit of research about bat houses and found a lot of information.  I can't site one particular source because I gleaned information from about a dozen different websites. 

Here are all of the pieces.  I painted everything brown with exterior water-based latex paint.  It is recommended that you use water-based paint because it has less odor than oil-based paints.  A strong paint odor can repel bats.

Staple plastic screen or cut grooves on the back board.  Do not use metal screen because it will rust over time.  The screen (or grooves) gives the bats something to cling to. 

Caulk around the edges before attaching the 3/4 inch furring strips.  Attach the furring strips with screws.

Add more caulk on top of the furring strips. You want a tight seal---no light should enter the bat house.

Attach the front pieces leaving a 1/2 inch space between the two boards.  The uncovered space at the bottom of the house is a landing board---very important to have.

The 1/2 inch space allows the bat house to vent---a necessity in every bat house. 

Attach a roof to the house with a minimum 1.5 inch overhang.  This will keep the inside of the house dry.  The finished dimensions of my bat house are 18 x 20 inches.  Bats like a dark and airtight house so I caulked around the edges once more after screwing the house together.  

I added some bat stencils for an extra touch!

  • The wood I used came from scraps leftover from the solar food dehydrator project. 
  • The plastic screen came from an old window that a friend gave me after she used it to make homemade paper. 
  • Brown exterior latex paint came from leftover paint we had in the garage. 
  • Screws---who doesn't have a box of screws lying around.
  • Caulk was found in the garage, leftover from a project years ago.  Surprisingly it wasn't dried up. 

Placement of bat houses: 
  • Bat houses need a minimum of seven hours of morning sunlight.  Bats may not like the sunlight, but they need warmth to raise their young.  They like it to be 80 to 100 degrees in July when they have their young with them. 
  • Place bat houses near a water source if possible.
  • Bats will evacuate the home if it's in a place prone to vandalism where people are shaking or knocking on the box.
  • Do not place along a busy road where dawn and dusk traffic can scare bats.
  • You may place your bat house on a tree, pole, or a building; however, boxes mounted on poles or buildings tend to have a higher occupancy than those mounted on trees. 
  • Be careful when placing them under the eaves of a house---they may not receive enough light.  
  • The bat house should be mounted 15-20 feet above the ground (away from predators).
  • It should not be in a place lit by bright lights at night.
  • Place the bat house where the bats can fly to it freely without obstruction. Obstructions will make their flying difficult and will block the sun’s rays as well. The greatest percentage of occupied houses have flight obstructions no closer than 20 feet away.


Phoebe January 8, 2012 at 9:49 PM  

What a really great job! "How to" posts are so much work and you covered it really well.
I love bats and they are working hard for us every night catching those nasty mosquitos and such. They live in our hay barn and we are happy to have them there but I have been thinking about adding some additional habitat for them. Thanks for the tutorial.

jenn merfee-t January 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM  

My family goes batty for this subject! Your placement information may help my father's bat house to attract residents. We look forward to hearing about the success of this bat home. Bats really do benefit us in so many ways and we can help them by being more aware of how they help us, giving them space, and building them more homes. Every home would benefit from a bat house. I can see myself making these as holiday gifts!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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