I recently spent some time looking into bat boxes to help control mosquitoes in the yard, and made a couple of surprising discoveries (at least for me). I’ll summarize a couple key takeaways. More resources at the bottom:
- Bat populations are at risk in New England, this is partially due to habitat loss, but also a disease called White Nose Syndrome. It’s a fungus that grows on their faces during hibernation. The fungus disturbs them while they sleep, which expends energy and forces them out of hibernation early.
- Bat boxes shouldn’t be placed on trees! Trees are too exposed to predators, and don’t have enough temperature stability for newborn bats. Branches can also obstruct the path needed to swoop in and out of enclosures
- South facing sides of building are quite good locations for bats, again for the same temperature stability reasons. Buildings have a lot of thermal mass, which provide cozy temperatures through the night
- If you’re building your own bat box, bats don’t need perches! Simply roughening up a piece of plywood with a saw creates better surfaces for bats to hang off of
- If you’re purchasing a batbox, people have a lot of success with multichamber setups, since they allow multiple colonies (potentially of different species) to roost
There are lots of designs out there online for you DIY’ers, this one is from Belmont’s homeowner guide for bats. I’ll post some updates once I get mine up, but curious to hear about other people’s experiences! I know some other Waldeneers have also been looking into it too (@Katie!)