9 Features to Look for in a Bat House

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It’s easier and more beneficial to host bats in the backyard than you may think. Just look for these attributes when you build or buy a bat house.

Bat HouseLindaCharlton/Getty Images
Bat house on a pole

Installing a bat house may seem daunting, but it’s worth the effort. Bats eat pesky backyard bugs, and some even pollinate flowers. To be a good bat landlord, it’s important to install a house in a place where bats are protected and have access to important resources.

Here’s what you should look for when you’re buying, installing or making a bat house.

1. Find the Perfect Bat House Location

Think about where the bat house will go. Look for a spot with sun exposure that’s close to water and a mix of farmland and natural areas is ideal. Consider planting a moon garden to enjoy the backyard benefits and support bats with a source of nectar.

2. Add a Predator Guard

Just like birdhouses, bat houses can be raided by backyard predators. Mount the house on a pole and add a metal predator guard for extra security.

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3. Attach the Box to a Tall Pole

Mount the house 12 to 20 feet off the ground—taller is better. It should sit above the highest vegetation beneath the house.

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Bat house WoodlinkPhoto Courtesy of Woodlink, a Division of Panacea Products, Inc.

4. Choose a Large Box

Bats can gather in sizable colonies. Pick a bat house with a large box, over 2 feet tall and 14 inches wide, to host the groups. Try this Bat House by Woodlink that has space for 25 bats.

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Little brown bat

5. Use Durable Materials

Look for a house made of materials that won’t degrade easily. Wood, fiber cement and plastic are acceptable building materials.

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6. Keep Out Bad Weather

Well-sealed houses keep bats dry and happy, while retaining heat in cold periods.

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7. Ensure Good Ventilation

While the house should be weather-proof, properly placed vents are important for providing air circulation to the colony.

8. Paint the Box the Right Color

The warmer the climate you live in, the lighter the house should be painted or stained in order to keep the bats a comfortable temperature.

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9. Bats Need a Well-Placed Entrance

Look for an entrance at the bottom. It allows the bats to enter and exit easily.

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Rachel Maidl
Rachel Maidl is a senior editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She enjoys bird-watching in her urban backyard and local state parks, gardening for pollinators and researching new plants. Her favorite backyard visitors are the bumblebees that visit her sedums.