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Finished & Painted



Frame & Back



Door



Caulking



Final Assembly

Do-It-Yourself Bat House

Step 1: Materials
(All wood should be rough cedar)
(2) 18" 2x2s
(1) 15" 2x2
(5) 15" 1x6s
(1) 15" 1x4
(1) 15-1/2" 1x4
(1) 11-1/2" 1x1
1-1/2" nails
Window screen
Caulking gun
Paint

Step 2: The Sides, Top and Back
This bat house accomodates 30-50 bats and can be built for about $20. For the sides of the bat house, take the two 18" 2x2s and place them 15" apart. Attach the 15" 2x2 to one end with nails to form the ceiling. Lay three of the 15" 1x6s across the sides, butted against each other, and attach with three nails on each end. If you use cedar, the rough side of the wood should be on the inside so the bats can grip it. If you don’t use cedar or a wood with a rough surface, staple a piece of ordinary black vinyl window screen to the inside back wall of the bat house. Let it extend to the bottom for grip.

Step 3: The Front and Roof
Turn the bat house over and attach two more 15" 1x6s, butted against each other, at the top. If you live in the central or southern United States, leave a half-inch ventilation gap between the third piece of the front; if you live in the north, don’t worry about it. The third piece of the front is a 15" 1x4 that has a 11-1/2" 1x1 nailed along the center of the bottom edge. This piece restricts the entrance to 3/4-1" at the bottom of the bat house. It is big enough for bats to enter but too small for predators. Nail the 15-1/2" 1x4 to the top of the bat house for the roof, making it flush with the back.

Step 4: Waterproofing and Painting
Use a caulking gun sparingly to seal all of the seams during assembly. No caulking should enter the bat area. This keeps air and moisture out. Finally, you need to paint it. If you live in the north, choose a dark color to absorb the heat from the sun. If you live in the south, paint it white to deflect the heat from the sun.

Step 5: Location, Location, Location
A bat house needs to be warm, so it’s important to place it in the sun. A tree is not a good location. The best place is on the south side of a house, about 15-18' from the ground, so bats can easily fly in and out, and predators cannot get near them. Bats also need to be within a 1/4 mile of water, which provides an ample food source because water attracts many insects.

Step 6: What to Expect
Wondering which type of bat lives in your area? The little brown bat and the big brown bat live in the northern two-thirds of the United States. In the south, Mexican free-tailed and evening bats are most common. In general, any species that naturally roost in buildings or under bridges will live in a bat house. A few final bat facts: contrary to popular belief, bats do not swoop down on your head (they’re much more interested in the insects around you). And as for rabies, you’re more likely to contract it from a cow.

Click Here to see plans for a Bat House on a post. Or Bat Conservation International, Inc. for a small Economy Bat House.

 

Last updated: Thursday, 09-Sep-04 16:15:08 
http://www.nps.gov/cave/bathouse.htm
Park information: cave_park_information@nps.gov