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Attract Night Pollinators with a DIY Bat House

Home Depot
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Difficulty: Intermediate
Duration: Day

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Did you know bats pollinate more than 500 species of flowers? Not just great pollinators, bats also help rid your yard of mosquitoes, gnats and other pesky outdoor bugs. Build a bat house to welcome these nighttime friends. Before you think this is a bit batty, consider this: One brown bat can eat hundreds of mosquitoes per hour!

Tip: It may take a while for bats to find their new house and use it. They generally look for new homes during the spring, so try to hang the bat house by late winter.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Product Checklist:

DIY Bat House

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 1: Mark and cut the wood

Measure, mark and cut the plywood into a 26 1/2 x 24-inch piece, a 16 1/2 x 24-inch piece and a 5 x 24-inch piece. Cut the 1 x 2-inch x 6-foot board into three pieces: a 24-inch piece and two 20 1/2-inch pieces.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden ClubStep 2: Create grooves

Take a straight edge and draw multiple lines across the 24-inch side of each piece of plywood about one inch apart. This will be your guide when cutting grooves. Stop making grooves two inches from the top of the 26 1/2 x 24-inch piece. Use a router and follow the lines you drew to create shallow grooves to mimic tree bark. The grooves help the bats crawl inside. 

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 3: Apply stain

Wearing gloves, apply a dark, water-based stain to the grooved side of the plywood pieces. These will be the inside of the bat house. The darker, the better, since bats like dark places to sleep.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 4: Attach the top and sides

Lay the 26 ½-inch piece of plywood groove side up with non-grooved area at the top. Place the 1 x 2 x 24-inch piece on the non-grooved section and flush with the plywood’s edge to create the top. Clamp the two pieces together and drill three evenly spaced pilot holes. Using three 1 1/4-inch screws, secure the pieces together. Lay the two 20 1/2-inch pieces on the outer edges of the 26 ½-inch piece and flush with the top 1 x 2-inch piece to create the sides. Attach the same way as the first piece. 

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 5: Attach the front pieces

Lay the 16 1/2 x 24-inch piece of plywood, groove side down, on the secured 1 x 2-inch pieces and flush with the top edge. Clamp in place. Drill four evenly spaced pilot holes on each side (top, left side, right side). Secure with screws. Lay the 5 x 24-inch plywood piece below, leaving a 1/2-inch gap between the two front pieces. Attach, using two pilot holes and screws on each side.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 6: Apply caulk

Caulk the sides and any gaps between wood. The house needs to be well sealed to hold in warmth.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 7: Paint the house

Paint the exterior of the house dark brown. Use primer first or choose a combination primer and paint.

 

Bat House | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Step 8: Mount the house

Mount the bat house 12 to 20-feet high to a pole or the south or east side of a building.

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