Bats are incredible creatures! They eat bugs, disperse seeds, and help pollinate plants. That's why it's important to protect them, by building them their own home called a bat box! Grab an adult to use this step-by-step guide to create a perfect bat box at your home!
*WARNING - THIS PROJECT INCLUDES THE USE OF POWER TOOLS. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT AN ADULT. ANYONE NOT TRAINED ON THE USE OF THIS SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT SHOULD SEEK ADDITIONAL HELP. ALWAYS FOLLOW EQUIPMENT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR.*
MATERIALS & SUPPLIES
- Cedar board | 1”X2”
- Cedar board of fence slats | at least 5.5" wide
- ¾” Plywood | at least 4’X4’
- Gutter Guard plastic mesh - https://low.es/3dHAHwP
- Staple gun
- Silicone Caulk
- Black spray paint
- Exterior grade screws
- Power drill
- Safety glasses
Start by cutting your plywood. This will act as the back of the bat box that you'll use to attach the bat box too. Make sure it is at least ¾” thick.
We use cedar for the bat box itself. You can use cedar planks like we did, or you can buy cedar fence slats. Make sure they are at least 5.5” wide.
Run them through a planter if available, if not, use a sander with 120 grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough surfaces. This will ensure a tight fit later on in the build.
Next cut your cedar pieces for the bat box. You'll need 6 pieces in total. 5 for the front of the box, and one for the roof. They should all be the same size 5.5”X15”
Cut your 1”X2” piece to the proper size. These will act as the sides of your bat box.
Cut one end of each side at a 10° degree angle. These will help angle the roof downwards allowing water to drip off the bat box.
You'll need to cut a 10° angle on the sides of two of the cedar boards. One will act as the roof, the other will be the top board on the front of your box.
Line the inside with plastic mesh. This allows the bats to climb up into the bat box. You want to cover as much of the plywood as possible, leaving room on the sides to attach the box.
Do the same thing with four of your cedar boards. The top board should be the one with the angled cut. Remember the slope should go downward away from the back of the box. Again, leave room on the sides.
One more time, staple mesh to the final board. This board will be attached separately to the sides.
Apply silicone caulk between the boards and join them together. Use a liberal amount, this prevents water from getting in the box.
Next drill pilot holes into your cedar boards and cedar sides. This prevents any splitting. Apply caulk and attach the 4 joined boards to the cedar sides.
Attach the 5th board below the other boards leaving a ⅜” gap for air flow.
Cut off any overhang with a saw.
Attach the box to the plywood back. Drill pilot holes so you don't split your cedar sides. Leave room at the top for the roof.
Apply a liberal amount of caulk and place the roof on top. If all your angles are correct the roof should pitch downwards 10°.
Finally cut a piece of scrap wood for the "Predator Guard." Use wood glue and clamps to hold it in place. There should be a ¾” gap at the base of your box, this allows bats in and predators out.
Once all the caulk dries, sand down the entire bat box.
We recommend painting your bat box black to help lock in the heat. You want your bat box to be between 80° AND 100°.
Once the paint has dried it's time to install your bat box. DO NOT PLACE YOUR BAT BOX ON A TREE. If possible, mount your bat box on a free standing pole or post at least 15 ft into the air. The higher the better. You can also attach your bat box to a building like a barn.