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.
- Plywood, untreated
- One 1 x 2-inch x 6-foot lumber board, untreated
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Straight edge ruler
- Dark stain for wood
- 27 1 1/4-inch screws
- Latex caulk
- Dark brown paint
- Paint roller
- Optional: Pole
DIY Bat House
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.
Step 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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 6: Apply caulk
Caulk the sides and any gaps between wood. The house needs to be well sealed to hold in warmth.
Step 7: Paint the house
Paint the exterior of the house dark brown. Use primer first or choose a combination primer and paint.
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.