I have a love/hate relationship with bats. I find them a bit creepy because they carry rabies and who isn’t scared by these nocturnal flying mammals, but I also know they are vital in keeping night flying insects like mosquitoes in check.
For now, I’ll take my chances with the rabies and opt for helping our local WI bats survive by putting up a bat house. Bats are under attack from loss of habitat and the fungus causing white-nosed syndrome. In nesting areas that white-nosed syndrome has spread, 30-100% of bats have been wiped out. This has been, and still is, catastrophic to the species.
One way to help the species is to conserve existing bat habitats and provide new ones.
When I was out at my local Wild Bird Unlimited store I happened upon bat houses for sale. How could I pass it up for our cabin in Door County, WI?
Since we are in a northern climate, it helps to paint the house black to retain heat. Using black spray paint, Steve made quick work of painting the house black.
It was so beautifully made (in the USA btw), we had to leave some if it unpainted.
Now came time to install. Ideally the house is placed in a southern facing direction on a tall pole with no obstructions underneath or directly in front of it and at least 15 feet up. Originally I thought the best location for the house was on a utility pole along the driveway, but I realized that really wasn’t a great idea. If we ever needed a service call during nesting season, I don’t think I’ll find a repairman who’ll go up that pole! Installing a freestanding pole, tall and strong enough, is also not in our DIY repertoire.
So, while not ideal, we settled on a tree that was in a pretty open area and faced south. This became a family event with my husband and boys all pitching in to get this installed.
The house comes with a screw eye for easy hanging. We bought a large hook, screwed it into the tree and hung the house. To keep it from swinging, we also added a couple of screws at the bottom to secure it to the tree.
Now we’ll wait for the bats to find it. Generally takes a little longer for them to find it in a tree, but I’ve seen them in the area at dusk so I’m hopeful.
Do you have a bat habitat near you, or have a bat house? If you do, have you noticed a decline?
Any good bat stories? I’ll always remember the bat in my college attic apartment!
Since we didn’t hang the bat house on the utility pole, it became the perfect place for hanging a beautiful bluebird house handmade by my mom, Peggy.