Bat enclosures provide inviting habitats

Bat enclosures provide inviting habitats

Submitted by Bob Schmidt of Mr. Handyman of SE Bellevue

Some homeowners opt to have bat enclosures – an inviting habitat that attracts bats from throughout the neighborhood and concentrate a sizable population of them around the yard – constructed for their yards.

Bats appear to prefer tall, shallow, open bottom structures with lots of un-treated rough cut wood to hold the sun’s heat. The bats around here don’t hang upside down from their feet like you see in the cartoons, so if you want more than one bat, then think condos in downtown Bellevue, Wash., and not single-family homes.

Give them lots of small parallel slats spaced a few inches apart on the inside. If it’s out in the weather, like any other home, it will need to be protected with a roof and a coat of paint. They seem to like black – go figure.

The bats are trying to stay warm, so to prevent drafts, seams need to be sealed. The bottom is typically open to allow guano to fall away and prevent parasites from becoming close neighbors, but they also can’t fly up into such a cramped space so give them a small ledge where they can land.

Placement
A bat house needs a lot of sun, preferably in the morning. Keep the house away from the roads, night lights, smoke stacks or exhaust vents. Mounting on the side of a building is generally better than a tree, because the building will provide thermal mass and wind protection and the tree itself will usually keep it from getting the needed warmth of the sun during the summer when you need the bats the most.

Raising bats
If raising bats is your end objective, don’t be surprised if when the mosquitoes are gone, so are your bats. Like any other animal, they will go where the food is. This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but if you want to encourage the mosquito food chain, here are a couple of things you can try.

• Leave debris in your gutters. This will back up small puddles of water that make excellent breading grounds.
• Leave buckets, bird baths or wagons filled with stagnant water, and you will create a fresh supply of mosquitoes ready to be converted to guano.
• If you would like to find out more about natural ways to rid yourself of pesky mosquitoes, you can consult with a bat expert.

Mr Handyman of SE Bellevue is a home repair and maintenance company whose primary objective is to make every customer a repeat and referral customer. The company is in its eighth year, and about 70 percent of business is from repeat and referral customers. Mr. Handyman is an A+ accredited BBB contractor and an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner for four consecutive years.

As of Dec. 23, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.


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