Building and Placing A Bat House

Do you want to help bring back the bat population to the Adirondacks? White-nose Syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats since it was discovered in a single New York cave in February 2006


• There are cave bat species (Northern Bat, Little Brown Bat, Indiana Bat, Eastern Pipistrelle, Big Brown Bat) and tree bat species (small-footed bat, red bat, hoary bat, silver-haired bat,  in New York State

All cave bat species in New York State spend the winter hibernating in caves and mines where they live off stored fat reserves. 
• According to Bat Conservation Internationala single bat can capture 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour!
• Bats are the only mammal that can fly! (Flying squirrels just glide)
• Bats wings are similar to a human hand. Yes, it is has four fingers and a thumb
• All bats located in New York State eat insects. Other breeds eat  fruit, nectar, small mammals, birds, lizards, frogs, fish, and blood. 
• Bats' predators include owls, raccoons, snakes and domestic cats.

What is White-nose Syndrome?

• Named for a cold-loving white fungus found on faces and wings of infected bats
• The fungus causes infected bats to awaken during hibernation, using stored fat reserves needed for winter survival
• In some cases the infected bats will emerge from hibernation too soon and fly around in winter leading to death by starving and freezing.

What is another name for bat poop? Guano

Placing a Bat House
• At least 15 feet off the ground (to protect against predators)
• At least 20-25 feet from trees, wires or perches that may harbor other predators
• Located at least 1/4-mile from a water source like a pond, river, lake or stream
• In a sunny location on the East or South side of the house. The bat house works best with 6-8 hours of direct, natural light. 
• Don't place near artificial light,  so it can remain warm
• Don't place bat house above a door or window because the guano will fall (yuck!)

To Paint or Not to Paint?
Bat houses are more successful at attracting bats if painted or stained, according to Bat Conservation International. 
1) Helps to provide the proper internal temperature
2) Reduces rot and increases the functionality of the bat house. 
3) For the Adirondacks choose a dark color
4) Use an exterior water-based stain or latex paint
5) Choose a flat paint finish for best solar absorption

If your area reaches average temperatures of
• Below 85 F: Paint your bat house black or a dark shade
• 85 ̊-95 ̊ F. – Paint your bat house a  dark or medium shade
• 95 ̊-100 ̊ F. – Paint your bat house a medium or light shade 
• 100 ̊ F or greater. – Paint your bat house a white or light shade 

Here are plans for a 4 chamber bat house

Here are plans for a single chamber bat house

Don't forget to look into certifying your bat house, garden, with the National Wildlife Federation.   

© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.


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