Go Batty!

Want to see a bat ballet in your own backyard? Invite some bats to move in!

By Kate Hofmann; Art by Jack Desrocher

Bats are fantastic to have around—they eat LOTS of insects. Did you know some bats can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in an hour? Not only are they fun to watch, but they’ll also help keep bugs from bugging you!

So how do you invite bats to the neighborhood? Put up a bat house! You can build your own or buy one. Visit Bat Conservation International online at www.batcon.org to find tips, building plans, and ready-made houses.  Also check out tips for building a bat house from the National Wildlife Federation.

For the best chance of attracting bats, follow these bat-house tips:

  • Mount the house on a building or pole, not on a tree. (Bats usually avoid houses on trees.)
  • Be sure the bat house isn’t lit by bright lights at night.
  • Hang the house in a sunny place. Bats need warm temperatures.
  • Paint it black or a dark color to absorb heat.
  • Put up the house by early spring, so that bats will find it by summer.
  • If bats don’t move in during the first year, don’t give up! They may come next year or the next.