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Tutorial: How to Build a Bat Box
Attract Mini Vampires to YOUR YARD!
By Julie Lain
Having mosquitos all over your backyard can be annoying, especially when having guests over in the summer. Luckily, bats can help with that. Bats eat night-flying insects such as mosquitos, moths, and crickets, so having these animals in your yard can help to cut down on the pesky bugs. Building a little house for them in your yard is a good way to ensure they’ll have a dry, warm spot to stay between “meals,” so here are some steps to take to make this happen:
What you need:
1. Make an outline of the bat house. As with any other building, you should make a design of it so you know how each part should be laid out. Decide how many chambers you want it to have. Some boxes are single-chambered, while others have up to four chambers. And keep in mind that a two-chambered house requires one divider board; a three-chambered house requires two, and so on. You can also make some chamber dividers shorter than others to allow more room in the house for the adult bat(s) if they have babies. Also, bats like to enter a house from the bottom, so leave the bottom open.
2. Measure and cut. Decide what your measurements will be and double-check them before cutting to save plywood. Then, cut plywood accordingly using the saw. The back board should be longer on the bottom than the front one so that the lower part can be a “landing pad” for bats.
3. Assemble the boards. Position the side boards so that they’re even with the back part. This helps you to know where to drill the holes.
4. Drill screws through the back board into the side parts. Use four to five screws for each side. Also, either cut horizontal grooves or attach a sheet of plastic mesh using a staple gun onto the inside to give the bat(s) spots to hang from.
5. Repeat with the other boards. Start with the chamber dividers (from longest to shortest), then attach the back part and the roof. It is not necessary to have the boards perfectly aligned, but makes it easier to paint the house.
6. Seal along each joint with caulk. This keeps the sun, rain, and other elements from seeping in so the inside stays dark and dry to attract bats. Wait about two hours for it to dry.
7. Paint exterior of the house. Bats prefer hot temperatures (between 80 and 100 degrees) so paint the exterior according to your climate; darker colors absorb more sunlight, so the cooler the climate, the darker the paint should be and vice versa.
8. Choose a location. Bats need a warm place to sleep, so place the box in a spot that faces the sun. Also, it is a good idea to place it close to a body of water since mosquitos are attracted to water. That way, the bat will be close to its food source. You can also place it near a fruit orchard since those attract a lot of bugs as well.
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