Bats are an important part of our
ecosystem and eat millions of insects. Though they are
actually beneficial to have around, many people feel
they are a nuisance and will take measures to prevent
them from being around. Bats usually only cause problems
if they find a way to get into homes. Preventing bats
from getting in is fairly simple and can be accomplished
without causing injury or death to these beneficial mammals.
Much of the bat population is destroyed annually by people
who use the wrong methods to rid bats from their homes
or prevent them from getting in.
There are humane and effective
ways to keep bats outside where they can continue
to do their job in supporting the ecosystem. Keep
in mind when planning to prevent bats from gaining
entrance into homes that they are useful to us in
regards to insect control and eat anywhere between
500 and 1,000 insects per hour! Bats are great to
have in areas that have a dense population of mosquitoes.
Keeping the bats out of your home is understandable,
but there is no reason to harm a bat in any way if
it does find its way inside. With the decreasing
population of bats, it is important to remember how
they do help us. When safeguarding your home from
bats, try to use the most humane methods possible.
The best way to prevent bats
from coming in is to install bat houses outside.
Bats are drawn to these houses and will be more likely
to take up residence there instead of trying to get
inside your home. Bats will normally enter a home
through an attic vent or any available opening. Blocking
these potential entrances will help in keeping the
bats outside. They will commonly find a way to get
in if there are areas that are exposed under eaves
or if there are open holes in areas where pipes and
electrical wires enter the home. Take measures to
locate any possible entrance route and block holes
or make repairs that will not allow them to get in.
Why not put up a Bat House?
The main consideration of course is mosquito control.
It is estimated that the average bat will consume 4,000
to 5,000 mosquitoes during a summer night, along with countless
other insects, such as moths,black flies, etc.
If you already have a bluebird house, maybe your next
house ought to be a bat house. Bat houses are a relatively
new idea in the United States but have been placed in forests
all over Europe since the 1930's. A bat house is a wooden
box with layers of boards placed vertically inside to serve
as nesting sites. In the summer these houses may be used
by a single male bat, or a group of mothers with their
young. Houses will not be used by bats in the winter.
When setting out a bat house don't place it in areas frequented
by people, pets and especially small children. Bats will
appreciate the seclusion and your chances of problems will
Instructions for placing your bat house:
- Place the box in a tree or
on a building 12 to 15 feet off the ground and sheltered,
as much as possible, from
- Place the box in a southeast
exposure. This will gather solar radiation and help warm
Attempt to locate within a few hundred feet of a
water supply, such as a pond, lake, stream or marsh.
- If box is placed in a tree,
try to locate near other trees but not in a forest.
- Clean and relocate box if
it attracts wasps or hornets. Note - Boxes should not
be cleaned if
they are being
used by bats. If you see droppings below the
box feel certain
they have moved in.