Putting up a bat house is a great way to help control insects while helping to conserve the bats in your area. There are a lot of bat houses for sale but they are some extreme differences between them.
This article will walk you through:
- The type of bat house you should absolutely NOT purchase
- What you should look for in a bat house
- An overview of some providers of BCI certified bat houses
- Where to install a bat house
Let’s get started!
What You Should Absolutely NOT Purchase
Please do not buy a “Small and Cheap” house off of Amazon. Here is why.
When a third party sells a product on Amazon, and Amazon ships it for them, this is known as Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA). Any product that is eligible for Amazon Prime utilizes the FBA program.
When vendors utilize FBA and sell a product they get charged a fee based upon the size of the item. This is important.
If an item has dimensions of 18x14x8 inches or less then the product is “Standard Size” and sellers pay a small fee. If the product is larger than these dimensions, or weighs over 20 pounds, then it is an “Oversized Item” and sellers pay a large fee. Here is the link from Amazon that describes the product size criteria.
Many of the top selling bat houses on Amazon are the inexpensive models. These houses are inexpensive because they are constructed with the sole purpose of meeting the “Standard Size” dimensions. These small and cheap bat houses are designed entirely to meet Amazon shipping parameters and have zero consideration for actually being a great bat house.
Here is the link where you can see how cheap this houses actually are from the Chinese factories that make them in bulk.
I am not saying that there are not any great bat houses for sale on Amazon as there are quite a few that look excellent. However, they are the large ones that cost significantly more money than the “Best Sellers”.
So, if you shouldn’t purchase a small bat house then what should you be looking for?
What You Should Look For
The researchers at Bat Conservation International (BCI) have provided guidelines as to what a quality bat house should look like. In general a bat house should:
- Have a roosting chamber that is at least 20 inches tall. Taller is better.
- Be at least 14 inches wide. Wider is better.
- Have roosting chambers separated by ¾ to 1 inch
- Have a 3 to 6 inch landing area under the chamber.
- Have an interior surface which allows the bats to cling (rough wood, mechanical grooves or plastic mesh)
- Provide adequate ventilation for the geographic region for their intended use.
- Be constructed with screws, not brad nails or staples
- Overall high quality construction with caulking.
You can see that a proper bat house would be at least 23 inches tall (chamber plus landing pad) and would be classified as “Oversized” by Amazon.
The general intent behind these guidelines is that a bat house should be large enough to house a colony, keep the bats dry, housed at the proper temperature and not present any hazards to adult or baby bats.
Providers Of BCI Certified Bat Houses
BCI has certified several commercial bat houses as being compliant with their guidelines. Here is a look at a few providers of these certified roosts. These are some of the best bat houses for sale!
The folks at BestBat Houses.com offer Single Chamber and Four Chamber models that are perfect examples of the dimensions and quality demanded by BCI.
The single chamber model has dimensions of 27×24 inches and features a single ¾ inch roosting chamber. This model can comfortably handle between 50-75 bats.
The four chamber model has dimensions of 31.5×17.5 inches and features four ¾ inch roosting chambers. This model can comfortably handle about 200 bats. A nice feature about the four chamber model is that the chambers will have slightly different internal temperatures and the bats can choose the one that suits them best.
These houses are built by hand in Wisconsin and great care goes into ensuring their quality. For example, here is how they describe the process of screwing the components together:
“Exterior grade screws are used, countersunk, and then covered with wood putty for added weather protection.”
Compare that with a $20 bat house on Amazon that is held together with a handful of staples!
Five percent of all sales are donated equally between Bat Conservation International, Wisconsin DNR Bat Program, Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio.
If you would like to learn more about these bat houses then here is the link!
The folks at Nature’s Friend offer two chamber and a three chamber bat houses that are solidly built from Western Red Cedar. These boxes are really pretty and would look great in your backyard!
The two chambered house has dimensions of 15 x 30 x 4 inches while the three chambered model comes in at 20 x 30 x 5.5 inches. The houses are made from long lasting Western Red Cedar and utilize even longer lasting stainless steel hardware. Quality construction!
These nice houses are made by hand in Florida. If you would like to learn more about these houses then here is the link!
The folks at Big Bat Houses design humongous BCI approved bat houses for use by municipalities, state parks, etc. These bat houses are designed for colonies where the number of bats is in the thousands!
Ever wonder what it looks like to see thousands of bats leave the roost for an evening of feasting on insects? Well take a look at a Big Bat House in action in this video!
There are two versions of the Big Bat House, one is 4x4x4 feet while the other is 4x4x2 feet. Both versions meet all BCI certification requirements.
If you are looking for housing for a massive colony of bats then here is the link to check out BigBatHouses.com!
Where To Install
While buying the right type of bat house is critical, the chances of it successfully attracting bats depends heavily upon proper installation. The best bat house in the wrong location is not going to have much luck attracting bats!
The bat house needs to be mounted at least 12 feet high and have as much clearance as possible. Greatest bat house success is found in areas with diverse habitat and within a quarter mile of a water source such as a stream or river. (More Details)
You might think that a tree in the woods would a great place to hang a bat house but that is absolutely wrong.
- Tree branches and leaves prevent the sun from heating the house and keeping the bats warm.
- Tree branches provide strategic perches for owls and hawks to hunt the bats.
- All of the trees in the woods make navigation to and from the house difficult.
Here is a nice video that describes the placement of bat houses in a little more detail.
Wrapping It Up
If you are serious about buying a bat house then don’t waste your money buying a decorative, undersized model. Invest in a large, well constructed model that meets BCI certification guidelines and it will serve you and your bats for decades!