The best bat house
Since bats have lost large amounts of their natural habitats, placing a bat house can help provide places for these flying mammals to roost and may boost bat numbers in your area. They might not have the best reputation, but bats are fascinating to watch darting around once the sun sets, plus they're one of nature's insecticides. You'll need to consider what size bat house you want and number of chambers it should have, among other factors. Our top bat house is made by Looker Songbird Essentials and is approved by the Organization for Bat Conservation.
Considerations when choosing bat houses
Number of chambers
Bats prefer tight spaces, so larger bat houses should have multiple narrow chambers, rather than a single big space inside. Single-chamber bat houses are common, because they're shallower and less obtrusive than those with multiple chambers, but serious bat-enthusiasts should choose multi-chamber models. You generally need a bat house with at least four chambers to encourage breeding.
Check the dimensions of any bat houses you're considering so you can be sure you have room for it and that it will have room for the amount of bats you want to attract. The majority of models list the approximate amount of bats that can fit inside, which is helpful.
The majority of bat houses are made from wood. Often cedar, due to its natural weatherproof qualities, though pine is a great choice since bats tend to prefer it to cedar. Whatever wood you ultimately choose, it should be untreated on the inside, because paints and wood treatments can be harmful to bats. You can also find plastic bat boxes, which are waterproof and weather-resistant, but they should ideally have wooden internal chambers, as bats are attracted to wood.
There must be a gripping surface where the bats land and inside the chamber so they can get a proper purchase. Grooved wood is the best, most durable option, but you can also find models with plastic mesh for gripping.
The top of your bat house should be sealed to improve its water-resistance and reduce drafts. It's illegal in some areas to open or otherwise tamper with a bat box once occupied, so no peeking!
A bat house should have adequate insulation for use in cooler months, but not so much that it becomes excessively hot in the summer.
You'll notice some bat houses are painted dark colors. This is because bats love hot, humid environments and dark hues absorb more heat from the sun. However, black and other dark bat houses are only suitable for cooler climates.
Bat house prices
If you're looking for a basic bat house, you can find one for as little as $25 to $50, these tend to be compact, single-chambered models. Mid-range bat houses cost roughly $50 to $100, including large single-chamber options and mid-sized multi-chamber houses. High-end bat houses are priced between $100 and $200. In this price range, you generally find large bat houses with multiple chambers.
Q. What are the benefits of placing a bat house?
A. Placing a bat house is rewarding in and of itself, because you're doing something beneficial for bats in your area and you'll get more of a chance to watch them. However, even if you're not a huge fan of bats, there are still advantages to having a bat house. Bats naturally control insects, including mosquitos, so you'll have less insects eating your plants or biting you when you sit outdoors. Bats are also natural pollinators in some areas, plus placing a bat house may discourage bats from moving into your attic.
Q. When will bats move into my bat house?
A. You've mounted your bat house and now you're waiting for some of these fascinating flying mammals to move in. Well, you may just have to be patient. It can take two or three years for bats to occupy your bat house, though about 50% have bats move in within a year.
Bat houses we recommend
Best of the best: Looker Songbird Essentials Single Chamber Bat House
Our take: With approval from the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC), you can be sure this is a bat house that's safe and suitable for your furry flying friends.
What we like: Made from rugged, naturally weatherproof cedar. Amply sized to fit up to 100 bats. Made in the USA.
What we dislike: Would benefit from multiple chambers.
Best bang for your buck: Audubon Bat Shelter Model NABAT
Our take: An affordable single-chamber bat house that's made in the USA and can fit up to 20 bats.
What we like: Grooved wooden gripping surface is superior to netting. Sturdy construction. Ready to mount.
What we dislike: Insulation could be better.
Choice 3: Coveside Mini Wooden Bat Box
Our take: This mini bat house works well for small spaces but isn't large enough for a family to move in.
What we like: Sturdy construction and made from pine, which bats tend to favor over cedar. Affordably priced.
What we dislike: Netting gripping surface isn't ideal.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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