OK, OK. You can’t really hug a bat today, but you can build them a warm and cuddly home. And that’s nice too. Why would you want to build them a house?? Because bats are cool. At least that’s what it says on the Bat Conservation International website (www.batcon.org). I can’t disagree, they can pollinate plants (like our beloved honeybees) and eat many agricultural pests and mosquito’s, people! How stinking nice of them is that? In southern Texas, mosquito’s torment us nearly year round. We just had a cold enough snap to kill them off and it’s December. The threat of Zika coming to Texas makes mosquito’s an even scarier threat. I can’t even imagine being pregnant and worrying about mosquito stings in a place where Zika has been found. It is absolutely terrible what Zika can do to a developing fetus. According to the Bat Conservation website, throughout the United States, scientists estimate, bats are worth more than $3.7 billion a year in reduced crop damage and pesticide use. And that, of course, means fewer pesticides enter the ecosystem. The pesticide issue is another plus with me, if I have to spray less to kill the mosquito’s then I don’t have to worry about how those sprays are affecting my kids, animals, cute little backyard lizards, and the beneficial bugs in my yard. So, it’s time to build a bat box and embrace the bat as your friend and partner.
Wait, wait, wait. Shouldn’t I be afraid of bats?? Not at all. There are only 3 species of bats that consume blood and they are all in Latin America, or in that gross ‘blood-drinking bat’ display at the zoo. 😉 Also, bats are only as likely to have rabies as any other mammal. So, don’t worry, folks.
My handy hubby, Phil, gets all the credit for this build. He did the research, found the plans, built the box, and hung it on the barn single-handily. Though our 3-year old, Spencer, was there much of the time, for moral support. Phil used the 4-chamber nursery house plans from the Bat Conservancy website (http://www.batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses/build). He did have to tweak it a bit. When he made the supply run to HD, they only had 1/2″ plywood. So, he used that for the whole build and adjust the cuts accordingly. If you decide to build a bat box, be sure to check the link above for color recommendations. Apparently, the recommended box color varies based on the part of the country you’re in. Who knew bats could be so picky?
Once the box was ready to hang, Phil and Spencer worked together to hang it on the barn. Phil handled the dangerous climbing with a heavy object part, while Spencer handled the pushing stubborn donkeys away from the ladder apart. The box looks great on the barn. I was wondering how the little guys would find out that we had a box. Apparently, the little guys are always scouting new shelters while they’re out hunting. No need to list it on the bat version of AirBNB then. I’m hoping the bats agree and move in when they come back to our area in the Spring.
Don’t have time to build a bat box? Lots of recommended sellers are listed on the Bat Conservancy website (http://www.batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses/bat-house-buy).
Feeling inspired? Want to build a bat box? Follow the links to get the things you’ll need from Amazon. Have fun and let me know if you have questions. Or post pictures of your work and tag Abbotts At Home on FB, I’d love to see it!