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bat houseNOT bat house

It's summer. That means grillin' chillin' and some scratchin' at those outdoor barbecues. Sometimes it seems like the mosquitos are dining on YOU as much as you're chowing the potato salad. Bats provide a natural solution.

OK, some people are creeped out by the idea of bats being around, but they're very docile and helpful critters. Did you know that a single brown bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in one hour? Knowing that, why wouldn't you want a bat house in your neighborhood? Bats like to hang out (yes, they do hang upside down) in small warm spaces. According to The Organization For Bat Preservation, here's what a dream bat house looks like:

Some of the main considerations to success include 3/4-inch roosting spaces, 4 to 6-inch landing area, and tall (at least 16 inches) and wide (at least 12 inches) roosting compartments. Research also shows that as the number of chambers increase, the occupancy rate rises. Houses placed on poles and structures tend to become occupied quicker than houses placed on trees. Bat houses should face south or east to take advantage of the morning sun. When painting the bat house, use non-toxic (water-based), latex paint to paint and only paint the outside. Your bat house should be mounted at least 15 feet above the ground.

bat house

Ready to start building?

An easy-to-follow downloadable bat house plan from Bat Conservation International

Free bat house plans from eParks.org

This Old Housemakes a fun how-to project for you and the kids - cute, isn't it? Looks like you may want to add a few more roosting compartments to this one for optimal dream bat house, though.

Still not sold on the idea?

Mother Earth News has a recipe for natural mosquito repellentthat some people swear by. The comments in the article have other helpful suggestions - including spraying mouthwash in your doorways.

Let us know how it goes.

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