Does anyone have bat houses?

jjskiatookFebruary 19, 2008

I'm interested in putting up some bat houses. Does anyone have an experience with bats or bat houses? I've read they are good for insects around the garden. Do you have any plans? Do certain houses work better here in Oklahoma versus other houses? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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I don't have any information to provide, but I am also really interested in this. We have lots of bats flying around after sunset, and I want to encourage as many as I can to eat some pecan moth pests during the night.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Well, we have bats but haven't put up any bathouses for them. We do leave snags (large dead trees with hollow cavaties) standing in our woods for the benefit of birds and animals that like to live in those cavaties, but I don't know if that is where the bats live.

We explored the idea of putting up bathouses but ultimtely decided against it since the bats seemed to be doing fine here without bathouses. Keep in mind that I am in a very rural and remote area near the Red River so there is probably a lot of natural habitat for them to use.

One of my favorite sources for bat info is Bat Conservation International. I've linked their very informative website for you. They have free plans for a bat house on their site.

Have you ever seen bats around your place? We usually see ours during bat season just ever so slightly before dark and often for several hours after twilight. They swoop over our place in endless circles and loops, especially over the ponds, creeks and barn. They even pay repeated trips to the outdoor light on the electric pole that lights up our back yard and parking/garage/barn areas.

I plant lots and lots of night-blooming flowers to attract insects for the bats.

Good luck attracting bats.


Here is a link that might be useful: BCI Web Site and Bat House Plans

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:10AM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

We've been known to sit in lawn chairs at night just to watch bats. Guess that shows we need a life. Don't have houses up, but see bats working the insects attracted to our directional sodium vapor security light that lights up the driveway and garage area. The light faces the house, so we can sit in the dark back behind it and enjoy the view.

Amber gets bored sometimes and then feeds June bugs to the toads out on the drive scarfing up the bugs that get to close to the light and spiral down to the pavement. Being surrounded by fields and pasture we have lots of insects.

I've thought about putting a house on each of our 2 light poles.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 11:52AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


We also have been known to sit in lawn chairs at night just to watch the bats. And, if we start early enough, we get to watch a sequential show.....first, the dragonflies in late afternoon to early evening, followed by the purple martins, and then the bats. Later in the summer, the sphinx moths and others are around as well.

If we sit very still and are very quiet, sometimes the deer and the bunnies mosey on out into the back pasture less than 50 yards from where we sit. We watch them and they watch us, and after a while they get busy eating and forget about us (or at least seem to).

Finally, after a heavy rainstorm (which are usually infrequent here), the frogs and toads often come out in much greater profusion than normal, and we love to sit and watch them too.

I thought we were the only nature-loving fools who enjoy sitting outside and watching the critters, but have learned that almost all our rural neighbors love to watch the wildlife just as much as we do.

In our neighborhood almost everyone has purple martin houses, bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, and deer feeders (feeding the deer in order to watch them, not to shoot them!).

Some of the neighbors are gardeners, farmers or ranchers, but what we all have in common is an enjoyment of the wildlife that shares the earth with us.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 1:19PM
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We live the opposite of you Dawn. We live in town, but with a huge backyard that is 50% garden.(I had to leave a little yard for my young kids.) :) I see an occasional bat but nothing like you. I would like to find a way to attract more bats. I've read books about it, but thought maybe someone local had some input. thanks

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 2:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Only three more things.

First, I think that when I was researching bathouses, I read that they can't be in full sun or they get too hot.

Secondly, if you have children, be sure to instruct them that they shouldn't pick up a bat if they find it on the ground because it might be rabid. We've only had one drop to the ground on our place all these years, and we wore gloves when disposing of it. (It was dead.) You'd think that everyone would know this, but last year one of our 19-year-old neighbors picked up a bat off the ground and carried it around to various houses showing it to people.

Third, it seems like someone on one of the forums (maybe the Nature one) posted that bats liked to roost in a "closed" patio table umbrella in her back yard.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 3:11PM
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I think I can help you.
#1 Dawn describes all the creatures that apear when you have a water source. I know this because we poured a 12x8 cement ornamental pond on our small city lot in Edmond and suddenly the dragonflies and bats appeared. The purple martins need a larger body of water (I know this from living by the Great Lakes). The water attracts bugs and the dragonflies and bats are attracted to the bugs. Also dragonflies lay eggs on the reeds in my pond. Awesome to see so many bright colored species of these neat insects.
Back to the bats.
I have some plans I bought from a guy on ebay if you'd like to build your own. I don't know if it will work without a water source but if you at least have a fresh bird bath and a large light outside-I'd say its lunchtime and they'll stick around your bathouse. Just a hunch. They also love to fly over my newly plaed pool and will dive bomb to catch the mosquitos. We can lay on our floats in the pool at night and not get a single mosquito bite. (The bats are happy for our compliance also!)
Let me know if I can email the bat house plans to you. We have a new printer so it may be a feat for me. The guy I bought the plans from sells premade houses on ebay if you want to search it. It is quite a chore to make the houses and he does compensate himself pretty good.
Good luck to ya!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 1:21AM
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Thanks for the reply Oknurse. Even though we live in town, we shouldn't have a water problem. Behind our house is a city pond that collects all the runoff rain for the town. It has some level of water in it most all the time. If it is not to much trouble a copy of those plans would be great. My dad has a woodworking shop so making houses shouldn't be to difficult. Again thanks so much for the reply.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 10:19AM
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I found a company in Tulsa that sells bat houses but I just went to Home Depot, bought the materials and built one myself.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 5:44PM
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