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.

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 emergence 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.

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.

How many bugs can a bat eat?

The impact your bats will have on the insect population is dependent 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!

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 by waiting until winter when the bats are hibernating (please double check to make sure; we don’t want anyone to get hurt), put on protective gear (goggles + respirator), and carefully use a broom to knock the wasps nest out of the BatBnB. If this seems like a difficult task, we recommend hiring a contractor to do this work for you safely.

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.

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.

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 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.

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!

How do I install a pole for my BatBnB?
 
  • Once you’ve found a suitable location, first dig a hole 3 feet to 4 feet deep with a shovel, post-hole digger, or an auger.

  • Attach your BatBnB to the pole, before erecting the pole. You can find mounting guidelines for your BatBnB in the included booklet or www.batbnb.com/hanging-guide.

  • We like to put a few inches of gravel in the hole to drain water away from the pole and help prolong the life of the pole.

  • Raise the pole while inserting into the hole (this may require the help of a friend).

  • Use a level to make sure the pole is straight.

  • Fill around the pole using cement, gravel, dirt, or a combination of them (you can find many guides for setting poles with the materials you’d prefer to use by simply searching online).

  • We recommend adding small amounts of fill at a time and periodically checking the levelness of the pole as you go.

How can BatBnBs help businesses or municipalities?
 

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.

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 painting guide for more information.

What do you use for materials?
 

We use Western Red Cedar and stainless steel hardware. Western Red Cedar is naturally rot and bug resistant and it’s also an absolutely beautiful wood. We also apply a coat of exterior grade tinted stain and sealer for an added layer of protection. Stainless Steel hardware is great for outdoor use and is corrosion resistant in acid wood. It also looks great. We also use a clear residential grade silicone to seal all seams in the wood.

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 painting recommendations page for more information.

How many BatBnBs do I need for my property?
 

There’s no set formula for number of bat houses to acres. 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 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.

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.