Bats in the U.S. can be extremely helpful to farmers wanting to control pest populations around their crops. Offer these flying miracle workers a place to stay on your farm by building and installing bat houses.
- 26½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (backboard)
- 5- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (landing area)
- 16½- by 24-inch piece 1/2-inch AC, BC or T1-11 outdoor-grade plywood (front board)
- 1 pint dark, water-based stain, exterior grade
- 1 1×2 pine furring strip in 24-inch length
- 2 1×2 pine furring strips in 20½-inch lengths
- one tube paintable latex caulk
- 20 to 30 1-inch exterior-grade screws
- 1 pint water-based primer, exterior grade
- 1 quart flat, water-based paint or stain, exterior grade
- 1×4 board in 28-inch length (optional, but highly recommended for roof)
- black asphalt shingles or galvanized metal (optional)
- 6 to 10 7/8-inch roofing nails (if using shingles or metal roofing)
- table saw or handsaw
- caulking gun
- variable-speed reversing drill
- screwdriver bit for drill
- hammer (optional)
- tape measure or yardstick
- tin snips (optional)
Roughen inside of backboard and landing area by cutting horizontal grooves with a sharp object or saw. Space grooves 1⁄4 inch to 1⁄2 inch apart, cutting 1⁄32 inch to 1⁄16 inch deep.
Apply two coats of dark, water-based stain to interior surfaces. Do not use paint, as it will fill grooves.
Attach furring strips to inside of backboard using 1-inch screws, caulking first. Start with 24-inch piece at top and space each additional strip at 3/4-inch intervals. This will be the roost chamber.
Starting with the top furring strip, attach front board to furring strips using 1-inch screws (caulk first). Leave 1⁄2-inch vent space between top and bottom front pieces.
Caulk all outside joints to further seal roost chamber.
Attach roof (optional, but highly recommended) with 1-inch screws.
Apply three coats of flat stain or paint to the exterior. Use primer for first coat.
Cover roof with shingles or galvanized metal (optional) using roofing nails.
Mount on barn or other farm structure. South or east sides usually work best.