Frequently Asked Questions

 

How long should I wait for bats to take up residency in my BatBnB?

Most high quality bat houses are occupied within a few months to a year. I would re-evaluate the appropriateness of the location if after two years your bat houses still haven’t been occupied. Some of the most successful houses that Merlin Tuttle has observed took 12-18 months to be occupied. There was one that was on a shaded side of a building went unused for five years. But when moved to a sunny spot just 50 feet away on the same building, it attracted more than it could hold in just a few months. Some were actually hanging out the bottom or clinging to the outside, apparently desperate to stay with their colony.Always feel free to email us photos of your BatBnB and we can give you an evaluation on the location you’ve selected. Location is key!

 

What is BatBnB?

A BatBnB is a comfortable, safe, and stylish home for bats. By putting one up in your yard, you’ll offer a habitat for an animal in need, while also leveraging their pest eating abilities to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes and garden pests in your area. You’ll also do your part in educating friends and neighbors as to the value bats bring to the eco-system, and how silly it is to be afraid of these great little guys. BatBnB has quickly become the gold standard of bat houses in the market, most noticeably with an endorsement by Merlin Tuttle who is the undisputed authority on all things bats. BatBnB has also been featured on Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and CBS’s Emmy award winning series, Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca.

 

 

How many BatBnBs do I need for my property?

About 20% of BatBnB customers actually purchase two or more BatBnBs for their property because having more than one BatBnB actually increases occupation rates. The reason is fascinating. Without bat houses around, bats look to live in the crevice formed between underneath the peeling bark on a dying tree, which is actually the environment that a BatBnB biomimics. Now if you are a mother bat with a pup and your preferred real estate is peeling bark, your number one concern is what to do if that bark peels off, leaving you and your pup exposed to predators. That’s why bats are actually smart enough to scout a location for multiple real estate options before they decide to settle there in the Spring. So therefore, with multiple BatBnBs, you’re more likely to attract more bats faster.

 

How much does a BatBnB weigh?

Our three models all weigh about 20 lbs.  

 

Do you offer plans for BatBnB?

We don’t currently offer plans for building BatBnBs because of the complexity of the design and machinery required for building. We do, however, hope to eventually provide some simplified bat house designs for our community to download.   

 

How many bats can fit inside of a BatBnB?

About 80-100 bats per BatBnB.

 

Does BatBnB come assembled?

Yes. Out of the box, all BatBnBs come assembled and only require that they be mounted.

 

Will BatBnB work in all parts of the United States?

Bat house roosting bats live everywhere in the United States except Hawaii. Hawaiian hoary bats roost only in tree foliage. It should work nearly anywhere else if properly mounted. In arid areas where daytime temperatures drop by more than 20 degrees at night, bat houses are less likely to succeed unless mounted on buildings which act as stabilizing heat sinks. Additionally, in cold climates they should be painted dark colors and placed to receive as much  direct sun as possible. See our color guide for more information.

 

 

Do you sell pup catchers?

Pup catchers are little nets that you can put below a bat house just in case a pup (baby bat) loses its grip and tumbles out. According to our expert partner, Merlin Tuttle, pup catchers are only necessary for bat houses that aren’t built correctly, which unfortunately is many that are sold on the market. BatBnBs are made with proper machine cut grooves for excellent gripping, so the pups shouldn’t fall out. The other downside of installing a pup catcher is that it can serve as a perch for predators. So as long as you have a BatBnB and not a lower quality bat house, your pups should be safe and sound!

 

Are the materials used to manufacture BatBnB responsibly sourced?

We currently source our wood from a Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) mill in northern Idaho. We make efforts to always source our wood from environmentally responsible sources.

 

What do you use for materials? 

We are using kiln dried Western Red Cedar and stainless steel screws. We are only using water based finishes and outdoor grade paints, both of which actually increase occupation rates. The reason for Western Red Cedar is its natural ability to resist rotting when coming into contact with moisture. Because of its thermal properties, it also retains heat very well, keeping the inhabitants warm. It’s also an absolutely beautiful wood. Bats also have a history of loving this wood.  In our customer surveys we’ve conducted, our customers have specifically cited our quality materials and craftsmanship as one of their favorite aspects of our bat houses

 

Can I paint my BatBnB?

Yes, you can. In fact, experts have shown that painting a bat house can increase occupancy rates by as much as 50%. Bat houses in warmer areas, such as the southern United States, may benefit from light colored paint, while colder areas, such as the northern U. S. and Canada, may benefit from a darker color to help absorb more warmth from the sun. Check out the color guide on our website for more information.

 

Can BatBnBs help businesses or municipalities?

Yes. Many major cities and parks have significant budgets set aside for both environmental conservation and mosquito mitigation in order to protect their citizens (both human and animal). They often spend a great deal on harmful pesticides, because there just aren’t great alternatives. For example, the New Orleans Mosquito and Pest Control group had a 2.3M budget in 2017, Sacramento spent over $2M in mosquito prevention programming in 2017, and Miami-Dade County Mayor had a budget for mosquito control of over $10 million. Bats are a perfect fit for supporting conservation goals while also reducing mosquito populations.

 

How is BatBnB aiding bat conservation efforts?

Although there are many causes of bat decline, loss of roosting places has been the most serious. BatBnBs are providing safe and comfortable housing for our bat population while serving as a conversation starter to help you educate your neighbors about the vital importance of bats in the ecosystem. Every bat lost means more toxic pesticides in our food and water. By providing shelter for homeless bats, we can improve the future for all. Additionally, a portion of BatBnB’s proceeds will be donated to various bat conservation organizations.

 

Are there commercial uses for BatBnB?

Absolutely! Agricultural research reports often highlight bat populations as an important component of natural pest control for farmers. In fact, bats save the US agricultural industry over $20 Bn in crop damage each year. We will be offering special bulk discounts for farmers and other businesses--such as golf courses, city centers, state parks, hotels, and even local municipalities--that would like to deploy multiple BatBnB units around their property. We also see a use case for hotel chains and even local municipalities to minimize mosquito populations in a stylish and non-invasive way. If you are interested in a bulk order of BatBnBs, email us at christopher@batbnb.com.

 

Why do bats need our help?

Millions of bats are dying of an introduced fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, which is fatal to bats, and careless use of wind turbines is killing millions more needlessly. By simply not spinning the blades at low wind speeds at night when bats are migrating, kill rates could be reduced by as much as 90% with minimal loss of power production. However, even before these threats appeared, two of America’s formerly most abundant species had become endangered (Indiana and gray bats) through roost loss alone. Millions have died in the past decade in the U.S. alone, but since they’ve traditionally been unpopular, and neglected by conservationists, status trends often have gone undocumented.

 

Why are bats so important to our shared ecosystem? 

Bats are critical. They keep the vast numbers of pests and insects under control, pollinate flowers, and carry seeds for important plants. Bats also safeguard our health by reducing demands for toxic pesticides—one of our planet’s most serious, but too often ignored, health threats. In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal Science estimated that bats save U.S. farmers approximately $23 annually in avoided pesticide use. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates such savings in the Texas Hill Country at $1.4 billion annually. Major savings have been documented worldwide. This link will provide you with many examples, including mosquito control.

 

Does putting up bat houses really help save the bats? How so?

One of the greatest threats to bats is the loss of roosts. Millions have lost their homes when old-growth forests were cut, when stags were removed, or when caves were disturbed. In some states, the largest remaining colonies are in bat houses, buildings, or bridge crevices. In Florida, the majority of remaining Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) now live in bat houses. In fact, the critically endangered Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus) is now almost entirely dependent on bat houses.

 

What’s being done on a government policy perspective to help save the bats?

Through the efforts of conservation groups, like Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation, protection of historic bat caves has led to dramatic recovery success, but key opportunities remain. Not enough is being done on a governmental level.

 

What bugs do bats eat?

Mosquitoes, Sphynx, corn earworm and armyworm moths, green stink bugs, June beetles, cucumber beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and many more. They avoid a lot of the ‘good’ bugs such as bees or butterflies due to scheduling conflicts; bats are actually asleep during the day when these bugs are most active.

 

How many bugs can a bat eat?

The impact your bats will have on the insect population is dependant on how many of them move in, and the prey preferences of their species. Luckily, since bats are hunting at night, they are not preying on butterflies or honey bees. Small Myotis bats are frequent users of bat houses, and research has shown that a single bat is capable of catching up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. In Indiana, a colony of 150 big brown bats (about how many bats could live in a medium-sized bat house) was shown to consume enough cucumber beetles to prevent them from laying up to 33 million eggs in a single summer. Free-tailed bats tend to prefer moths, and just one of them can catch enough corn earworm or armyworm moths in one night to prevent the laying of up to 20,000 or more eggs on a wide variety of crops and yard plants. Bats are a gardener’s secret weapon!
 

Are bats safe to have in my yard?

Yes. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of bats living in American bat houses, and according to our expert partner, Merlin Tuttle, there isn’t a single record of a bat house owner having been harmed by a bat. Millions of tourists have viewed 1.5 million bats close-up in Austin, Texas over the past 35 years, and no one has been attacked or contracted a disease from a bat. Bats have a long-standing history of misrepresentation in popular culture. They are portrayed as blood-sucking vampires and serve as spooky mascots of Halloween. In reality, bats are friendly forest critters that just want to be left alone to eat insects. They are incredibly clean since they groom themselves like cats, and despite popular belief, they are not nesters and have no interest in flying into your hair. It’s important to treat bats with respect, as we do all wildlife. They should never be handled or treated as pets, and in no scenario should a bat ever be approached. If a bat ever does seem injured on the ground or near your house, call an animal control specialist to help you manage the situation.
 

Don’t Bats have rabies?

We get that question a lot. Bats already live all around us, and the chances of getting rabies from a bat is exceedingly rare. Like all mammals, bats can contract rabies (though often at a lower rate than other mammals like raccoons or skunks), but transmission to humans is extremely rare, with just 1-2 cases per year in the U.S. and Canada combined. It’s worth noting that in the majority of those cases, it was a result of a human making the mistake of touching the bat. Never do that. Bats are not pets and should never be handled. For anyone who simply doesn’t handle bats, the odds of contracting any disease are exceedingly remote. Additionally, there are hundreds of thousands of bats living in bat houses across North America, and according to our bat expert, Merlin Tuttle, there's not a single recorded case of a bat house owner being attacked by a bat.  In Austin, Texas 1.5 million bats live under the Congress Ave Bridge in the center of the city, have attracted millions of visitors to view their spectacular emergencies close-up, and none has ever been attacked or contracted a disease. Less than half a percent of the bat population ever carries rabies, and those that do die off very quickly.

 

Will bats ever fly into my house?

It’s important to treat your new bat friends just like you would any wildlife critters or birds in your yard. Never try to touch or handle the animals. On the very rare occasion that a bat would find its way into your home, call your local animal control, and do not try and handle the bat yourself. In the extremely unlikely event that you are bitten or scratched by a bat, go immediately to the hospital. While the odds are extremely small that the bat was carrying rabies, it is always best to take precautionary action.

 

How do I attract bats to my property? 

Bats live almost anywhere there is moderate climate and insects. The key to getting them to find your BatBnB is in placement. Sun is most important. Each unit needs at least 6+ hours of direct sunlight each day. Placing them on the side of a house, barn, or shed is the best placement. Trees can work, but with less chances of success since they offer too much shade and easy perches for predators. If you do prefer to place it on a tree, make sure it is a sunny spot at least 15 feet from the nearest branch where predators can perch. You must place your unit between 12-20 feet up, higher the better. Having a natural water source (pond, stream, brook, etc.) within a mile of your property is ideal, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Small things like having water features and night-blooming flowers can also help attract bats.
 

What if I already have bats in my attic? 

That's actually great! Attics often provide ideal accommodations from which bats are reluctant to move except when excluded, which is when you create a one way exit out of your attic. Several leading animal control professionals advertise that once bats are excluded from an attic, they'll try to find a new home nearby in your shed, barn, or even at a neighbor’s house. They recommend putting up a bat house or two nearby to offer the bats an option to quickly relocate when they return from hibernation. When bats are given a nearby bat house of sufficient size to accommodate their whole colony, they often move in to a house that was provided at least a few weeks prior to exclusion. This keeps the bats safe and stops them from going back into your attic. Sounds like a win/win in our book.
 

Will I notice a meaningful reduction in my local mosquito population?

Many people have anecdotally reported reduced mosquitos. Another controlled study documented that bats could significantly reduce egg laying success for mosquitoes. Recently, a paper published in the Journal of Mammalogy reported a new study from Wisconsin that documented widespread consumption, by little brown and big brown bats, of 15 species of mosquitoes, nine of which are known carriers of West Nile virus. These two species are the most frequent bat house users in the northern half of the U.S. and Canada.

 

Will bats reduce chances of zika transmission?

As with every solution to Zika, there is no clear data for us to follow. What we do know is that health experts agree that controlling the disease requires controlling the Aedes Egypti mosquito populations and that’s exactly what bats in North America do.

 

Are bats rodents?

In reality, bats are mammals, and they play an important role in the ecosystem. They can act as seed dispersers and pollinators. They clean themselves like cats and are incredibly smart. They also often only have 1 pup (baby bat) a year, which is why it’s so important to keep them safe and help them recover their population.

 

What will keep the bats from flying into my hair?

Bats are far too intelligent to seek the company of anything as dangerous as humans! Bats are also incredible at maneuvering in flight and will avoid humans. In the rare occasion that this might happen, examine yourself for any bites or scratches, and consult a medical professional if you’re concerned.

 

What are some other little known facts about bats?

Did you know that bats are highly resistant to cancer, arthritis, and many scary diseases lethal to humans. Why not investigate how knowledge of bats can be used to improve our own survival?

 

 

How do I account for guano droppings? 

Bats, just like birds, actually prefer to poop while in flight, so most of the guano droppings will fall as bird droppings do, out of sight and out of mind. That said, their will be some guano coming out of the BatBnB, which is why we recommend mounting the BatBnB above a low-use and non-edible garden bed or lawn. That way the guano will actually act as a fertilizer for the lawn or bushes growing underneath. The only complaint we’ve ever seen about guano is an individual who mounted their BatBnB right above the door to their house, so naturally they got some guano on their shoes… so that was a bad idea. Some guano may appear on the lower landing pads, but should mostly wash away when it rains. The BatBnB also extends an inch off the wall, so most of the guano won't hit the side of the house (if that's where you want it mounted), and even if it does, rain will help, and if it ever gets too bad you can use a pressure washer in the winter months when the bats are hibernating.

 

Is guano dangerous? 

Avoid touching or breathing in any guano personally, just as you would normally avoid any wild animal droppings. You’re actually more likely to get histoplasmosis from bird droppings than bat droppings, but nonetheless, steer clear of bat droppings and be safe. If you’re ever inclined to move your BatBnB or clean it up close during the winter after it’s already been occupied, then be sure to wear proper respiratory masks and goggles, and don’t breath in any dust. In general though, if you’ve never been overly concerned about bird poop in your life, then guano shouldn’t bother you.

 

Can bat guano be used as a fertilizer? 

Guano is actually an amazing fertilizer, as it is high in potassium nitrate, which plants love. Consider placing the BatBnB above a low-traffic, non-edible garden bed and the guano will help the plants grow big and strong. Be mindful however, that if too much guano is accumulated it could burn the plant like too much of any fertilizer, too much nitrogen.  Interestingly enough, the potassium nitrate can also be extracted and used in gunpowder and explsives; guano was an important resource for that purpose during the American Civil War. Bat guano has also been found to preserve fossils.

 

Will wasps and bees nest in my BatBnB? What do I do if so? 

We designed our chamber widths to a specific size that actually discourages wasps from nesting in the BatBnB, unlike other models in the market that often have larger chamber widths which are more welcoming to wasps. So while wasps taking up residence is rare, it can still happen. If wasps move into the BatBnB, the bats and wasps can actually peacefully co-habitate for a time, but eventually the wasps will overtake the space and the bats will be forced out. The best way to solve for wasps is that in the winter when the bats are hibernating, put on protective gear (goggles + respirator), and carefully use a broom to knock the wasps nest out of the BatBnB. We recommend hiring a contractor to do this work for you safely.

 

What sort of maintenance does my BatBnB unit require?

Your BatBnB will require almost no upkeep. The water-based finish will eventually wear down after several years meaning you can embrace the weathering, or chose to refinish it yourself. The bats will not mind, so it’s totally up to your aesthetic preference. Most guano on the landing pads will wash away with rain, but if it does start accumulating over a season, consider putting on a facemask and goggles during the winter and giving the landing pads a quick scrub when the bats are hibernating. Do not inhale any dust, and consider hiring a contractor to do this work for you. Please do all your maintenance on a BatBnB in the winter months when the animals are hibernating to avoid disturbing them in their home.

 

Can I leave a BatBnB out during the Winter?

Yes! Once you put your BatBnB up in a good location, you shouldn’t have to move it again.

 

What about histoplasmosis?

The fungus that causes histoplasmosis is found nearly everywhere, including in most city parks, because it is most often associated with bird droppings. For anyone who doesn’t stir up and inhale dust associated with animal droppings, histoplasmosis poses a very remote threat. Most human cases are asymptomatic. Be sure to wear a respirator and goggles if you ever need to get near a BatBnB that has been occupied. Unless you are a trained animal professional, never go near a BatBnB that has active inhabitants - they may get scared and choose to defend their pups.
 

Where does BatBnB ship?

BatBnB ships all across the United States at a fair shipping price. BatBnB also ships to Canada and internationally, albeit it at significantly higher rates because we have not yet unlocked international distribution channels. If you are interested in supporting us in international expansion, get in touch!

 

How long will it take for my BatBnB to arrive once purchased?

Typically less than two weeks as long as we have your model in stock.

 

Can I pick up a BatBnB locally?

No, BatBnBs are only available for shipping from a remote distribution center in the United States.

 

What is included with my purchase of a BatBnB?

Every BatBnB comes with a BatBnB sticker and a detailed mounting guide with bat facts and proper placement suggestions. You can also choose to add a BatBnB t-shirt to your order, which are now available in our online store.

 

When will I receive my BatBnB? 

BatBnBs are available for immediate shipping! It should arrive within two weeks of placing your order. If you want to track your order, email harrison@batbnb.com any time for updates.

 

Can I order my BatBnB in a different color?

In order to keep manufacturing costs low, we will not be providing pre-painted BatBnBs. We will, however, include an informational guide with your order that gives recommendations on what colors to use when painting your BatBnB based on your location. Warmer locations can warrant lighter colors, while darker locations you may choose to paint your BatBnB a dark shade of paint. For more information, check out our color guide that is linked on our website.

 

Where should I hang my BatBnB?

BatBnBs should ideally be placed 15-20 feet from the ground on a wall, shed, barn, or post that receives 6-7+ hours of direct sunlight each day. Keep them away from areas with heavy foot traffic, and make sure the guano can fall into a low traffic, non-edible garden bed or lawn where it won't disturb you or anyone in your family -- the plants will love the natural fertilizer! Trees are almost never a viable option, they should always be a last resort as they often house predators and can obstruct necessary sunlight. If you must choose a tree, make sure it’s 15 feet or more away from the nearest branch, and that it still receives the necessary sunlight.

 

How long should I wait for my bat house to be populated before moving it to a new location?

Most high quality bat houses are occupied within a few months to a year. I would re-evaluate the appropriateness of the location if after two years your bat houses still haven’t been occupied. Some of the most successful houses that Merlin Tuttle has observed took 12-18 months to be occupied. There was one that was on a shaded side of a building went unused for five years. But when moved to a sunny spot just 50 feet away on the same building, it attracted more than it could hold in just a few months. Some were actually hanging out the bottom or clinging to the outside, apparently desperate to stay with their colony.Always feel free to email us photos of your BatBnB and we can give you an evaluation on the location you’ve selected. Location is key!

 

What are my chances for occupancy?

As soon as winter is over, bats are out and about looking for a place to live and raise their families. With the decades of research-backed bat house improvements that every BatBnB has built in, and as long as all of the proper placement tips are followed accurately, Merlin Tuttle estimates BatBnBs to achieve close to a 90% success rate in occupancy. Some researchers tracking bats have documented bat houses being populated as soon as 24 hours after being put up. BatBnB does not guarantee your unit will get occupied, but will offer detailed guides on maximizing your chances for occupancy. We've already had reports from several customers who had bats move in to their unit in less than a month after putting it up! Other times it can take a few seasons for the bats to find their way there. The best part is that once your friendly neighborhood bug-catchers have moved in, they are very likely to return year after year. If you have met all of the requirements for ideal placement and your BatBnB has still not been occupied after two or three seasons, try moving the unit to another location. Bats are wild animals who will do as they please, so we cannot guarantee that your unit will become occupied, but with the level of research, quality and effort put towards our designs, you won’t find a bat house on the market with better odds of occupancy than ours.
 

What about my dogs and cats? Will they have any issues with the bats?

If you place your bat house according to instructions, occupants are unlikely to be caught by cats as it will be too high up for them. Dogs will have as much as interest in guano as they do any bird poop, and are very unlikely to ever interact with a bat. We recommend that all your animals be vaccinated for rabies, as is common practice. If your house pet ever brings a bat into the house, call animal control to properly care for or safely dispose of the animal. Never handle the bat yourself.

 

Does having bats living in a bat house in my yard make me more likely to also get bats in my house or attic?

According to our expert Merlin Tuttle, any bat that moves into a bat house in your yard will already have inspected your house and found it unsuited for use. If your house was good for bats, they’d likely already be there.