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Where to install a bat house

Temperature is one of the controlling factors of a successful bat-house. Houses should be placed to be south or south-east facing in the Kootenays so they will warm up in the morning, but not get too hot in the afternoon. It is best to place them as high as possible, away from the reach of cats and other predators. Ideally, there should be cover over the bat-house to protect from rain and the elements, but the entrance should be uncluttered so the bats can easily fly into them. If you would like some assistance with deciding where to put your bat-house or to install your bat-house, please contact us and we will come to your house to assist you if we are able to.

 

Mounting
Ideally bat houses should be mounted on poles or buildings. Houses mounted on trees or metal siding are seldom used. Wood or stone buildings with proper solar exposure are excellent choices, and locations under the eaves often have been successful. Mounting two bat houses back to back on poles is ideal. Place houses ¾ inch apart and cover both with a galvanized metal roof to protect the center roosting space from rain. All bat houses should be mounted at least 4 m above ground; 5 to 6 m is better. Bat houses should not be lit by bright lights.

Sun Exposure
The best aspect to mount your house in the Kootenay area is south or south-east facing. Houses where high temperatures in July average 27°C or less should receive at least 10 hours of sun; more is better. At least six hours of direct daily sun are recommended for all bat houses where daily high temperatures in July average less than 38°C. Full, all-day sun is often the most successful in all but the hottest climates.

Habitat
Most nursery colonies of bats choose roosts within 400 m of water, preferably a stream, river or lake. Greatest bat house success has been achieved in areas of diverse habitat, especially where there is a mixture of varied agricultural use and natural vegetation. Bat houses are most likely to succeed in regions where bats are already attempting to live in buildings.

Protection from Predators
Houses mounted on sides of buildings or on metal poles provide the best protection from predators. Metal predator guards may be helpful, especially on wooden poles. Bat houses may be found more quickly if located along forest or water edges where bats tend to fly; however, they should be placed at least 6 to 7 m from the nearest clutter, including tree branches, wires or other potential patches for aerial predators. If they are mounted on trees, they should be below the majority of the branches.

Timing
Bat houses can be installed at any time of the year, but are more likely to be used during their first summer if installed before the bats return in spring. When using bat houses in conjunction with excluding a colony from a building, install the bat houses at least two to six weeks before the actual eviction if possible.

Importance of Local Experimentation
Bats may not use your bat-house. It is best to wait for two years for occupancy and after that time, move your bat-house to an alternative location. If you put up more than one bat-house, put them in different environments (e.g. different levels of stain colour or sun exposure) to determine the best type of mounting situation.