When bats are brought up in conversation, most people’s immediate thought is Halloween. The spooky holiday may give these creatures a scary rap when actually they are very beneficial to your commercial landscape property. These furry, flying, nocturnal animals are not only known for being pollinators, they also are great for pest management.
The United States has over 40 species of bats and every one of those is helpful to your property. Bats are amazing for pollination; in fact, they pollinate over 500 species of flowers. In addition to that, they are some of nature’s best form of pest control. Bats are known to consume anywhere from 100 to 600 bugs per hour, which can lead to a decrease in pesticide use and save you money.
To attract these bats to your commercial landscape property one of the best ways is to build a bat house. A bat house simulates their natural habit and encourages a bat to roost on your property. Below are the materials and steps to take to construct a bat house as recommended by hobbyfarms.com:
- 26½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (backboard)
- 5- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (landing area)
- 16½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (front board)
- 1-pint dark, water-based stain, exterior grade
- 1 1×2 pine furring strip in 24-inch length
- 2 1×2 pine furring strips in 20½-inch lengths
- 1 tube of paintable latex caulk
- 20 to 30 1-inch exterior-grade screws
- 1-pint water-based primer, exterior grade
- 1 quart flat, water-based paint or stain, exterior grade
- 1×4 board in 28-inch length (optional, but highly recommended for roof)
- black asphalt shingles or galvanized metal (optional)
- 6 to 10 7/8-inch roofing nails (if using shingles or metal roofing)
- Roughen inside of backboard and landing area by cutting horizontal grooves with a sharp object or saw. Space grooves 1⁄4 inch to 1⁄2 inch apart, cutting 1⁄32 inch to 1⁄16 inch deep.
- Apply two coats of dark, water-based stain to interior surfaces. Do not use paint, as it will fill grooves.
- Attach furring strips to inside of backboard using 1-inch screws, caulking first. Start with 24-inch piece at top and space each additional strip at 3/4-inch intervals. This will be the roost chamber.
- Starting with the top furring strip, attach front board to furring strips using 1-inch screws (caulk first). Leave 1⁄2-inch vent space between top and bottom front pieces.
- Caulk all outside joints to further seal roost chamber.
- Attach roof (optional, but highly recommended) with 1-inch screws.
- Apply three coats of flat stain or paint to the exterior. Use primer for first coat.
- Cover roof with shingles or galvanized metal (optional) using roofing nails.
- Mount on building or other structure. South or east sides usually work best.