How to build a bat house and habitat in your backyard

Bats face challenges such as climate change and habitat loss that put the species at risk.  Here's how building a bat house can save bats, and how easy it is to build one.

Bats face challenges such as climate change and habitat loss that put the species at risk. Here’s how building a bat house can save bats, and how easy it is to build one.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Washington state is home to fifteen species of bats, but according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, these species face serious threats to their habitat and safety that are killing large populations.

According to the National Park Service, habitat loss, windmill turbines, white-nose syndrome, and climate change are all factors that have caused mass deaths of bats.

Although some Washingtonians may not like these creatures, bats provide benefits that can make building a bat house, a man-made bat habitat near your home, something to consider.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, bats are very beneficial to people because they are predators of insects such as mosquitoes, flies, termites, moths, and beetles. Although birds also prey on insects, it is at night that bats take over the insects.

Some types of bats also eat spiders, scorpions, crickets, grasshoppers, and other insects on the ground or in trees.

But before you start building your bat habitat, it’s also important to know the do’s and don’ts when you find a bat, as some bats carry diseases like rabies.

Bat houses provide a safe place for bats to go other than your home. “Bats living in human spaces increase the potential for bat infection and the potential for human exposure to rabies. Bat houses reduce the risk of human contact, and provide a safe, warm space for bats only,” writes Kara D. McClanahan, supervisor of educational support in Washington State University’s College of Biological Sciences in An email to McClatchy.

According to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, if you find a bat, you should follow these steps:

Don’t touch the bat and leave it where it is.

If you must move the bat or remove it from its perch, use thick gloves, a shovel, or a box to move the bat safely.

If you find a sick, injured or dead bat, report it online to Fish and Wildlife.

If you touch a bat or have any exposure, contact your local health department immediately.

Why should I build a bat house?

When winter weather sets in, the bats need to find a site to hibernate, or hibernate, according to the department.

“Insectivorous bats are voracious eaters, and like to eat many types of insects that are annoying or harmful to humans. Mosquitoes, moths, and flies are among their favourites, and they are also among the species that humans tend to consider pests. Bat houses allow bats to remove these pests around your home,” McClanahan writes. and your garden, reducing the need to use pesticides.

Building a bat house is not only a way to provide a safe habitat and nursery for the creatures, but it also can create an opportunity to observe bats and educate others about the species and their needs, a blog post from the Washington Department of Fisheries says. Wildlife states.

Bat homes also provide clean, white-nose syndrome-free homes where bats can raise their young and have less contact with humans, according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.

How to build a bat house

The National Wildlife Federation, a conservation organization, encourages those who want to build a bat home to choose a location that receives plenty of sun, is at least 15 feet above the ground and has a nearby water source for bats to drink.

Bat houses are mounted on high poles to provide sunlight for the bats and protect them from predators on the ground. David Johnson Getty Images/iStockphoto

The NWF walks you through the eight steps of building a bat house, including cutting the wood, staining the inside of the bat house to create a dark environment for them, assembling each side of the house and installing the bat house in your home or other high spot.

The NWF encourages using a bat house building plan from Bat Conservation International, a bat conservation organization, which requires these supplies:

2 feet by 4 feet of plywood that has not been pressure treated.

20 to 30 Phillips head screws, 1″ outside grade.

A pint of outdoor grade water-based dark stain.

A pint of an external water based primer.

1 quart of water-based flat exterior paint or stain.

One tube of paintable latex.

1″ x 3″ x 28″ board for ceiling.

Those building a bat house will also need the following tools, according to the federation:

caulking gun;

paint brushes

Phillips head bits for drilling.

Measuring tape or scale.

Variable speed reverse drilling.

Alise Mesmer-Smith is service press reporter for the Bellingham Herald. If you like stories like this, please consider supporting our work by subscribing to our newspaper.

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