Gordon’s Bat Motel
Some interesting Bat facts and why we should all have a Bat Motel…
Bat droppings called guano are one of the richest fertilizers in the world.
In total darkness using echo location at 10-20 beeps per second, bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes an hour and often consume their body weight in insects every night, keeping the bug population in check.
(Think about that when it comes to the West Nile Virus.)
Unfortunately, more than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or listed as endangered, much of this is likely due to loss of habitat.
Most bats eat insects or fruit and can live up to 30 years, and fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Most bats also only have one pup a year.
MYTH: Bats attack people.
FACT: No they don’t. People walking along in the grass at night have had bats to swoop down at them and they assume that they are being attacked. What is actually happening is that when you walk through grass you are stirring up the bugs. The bat zero’s in on the bugs and then swoops down to eat them. They aren’t after you, they just want the bugs.
I set up my workbench close to the site to make it easier to work with and it was such a nice day out. We chose this tree as the best spot to place the bat motel.
NOTE: We purchased the bat house as is.
I felt the pre-fabricated bat house could use some shingles to keep the inhabitants nice and dry in the rainy season, so I got to work.
I carefully measured the roof.
I am also measuring the other sides of the house just in case I want to build one later.
Here you can see the inside of the house where the bats will cling onto the closely attached boards.
As you can see, the wood is ¾” thick.
This picture shows the front length of the bat house.
This one shows the front width of the bat house.
Which is the same as the Roofs width as shown.
We had some leftover under-lament and shingle under-lament from our own roof, so I carefully cut them the width of the bat motel roof.
The under-layment helps to keep the moisture away from the roofs wood.
With some good scissors, cut the under lament to nearly fit.
Making sure you have an exact fit…
Using roofing nails, hammer one in at the top to secure it well. Also, be sure your nails don’t poke through the roof, which is why I nailed them into the outside of the house.
Then work your way down the under lament and hammer another.
Only use enough to secure the under-lament.
Now for the shingles…
Cut them to length and width so you can get the layered effect, just as your own roof has.
Use some strong scissors for a more precise cut.
Trim the shingles to fit.
Using roofing glue (A basic tar) and some nails, adhere to first shingle to the roof as shown.
Here you can see where I am layering the shingles.
Measure them well so you have an equal distance between them all.
Now, only use glue to adhere the last top shingle.
Measure well before you cut the last shingle to ensure a good fit.
Here you see what the finished roof to the bat motel will look like. This is a dry fitting to see how it will look, so now I just have to glue it down and I will be done.
To make sure the water doesn’t get behind and under the shingles, I placed some of the roofing glue at the top of the house against the wood.
Place enough glue down to adhere the shingle well. In this photo, you can also see where I nailed the shingle. Newer shingle will usually have lines to where the nail should go, as there is a tougher material in that location which prevents the shingle from tearing. Be sure to place your nails where they won’t hurt the bats. This one is where one of those slats I previous pictures were located.
I used a stick to help spread the glue.
Place the last shingle down.
And carefully press it into place.
Here you have the finished roof.
Using a tall ladder, place it high up the side of the tree that has a flat area for the house.
Locate an area on the tree that is flat, so the house will sit perfectly vertical.
I then used a level to ensure the house was vertical and straight upright.
Using furniture wood screws about 2 ½” long, screw the house to the tree.
Now, put out the welcome sign and you are done!
Welcome to the Bat Motel
Why not try placing one in your own backyard?