How to Attract Bats and Keep Them Coming Back
First, let's start by talking about what bats are not attracted to: bat attractant sprays!
But don’t take our word for it, here’s what the Bat Conversation International (BCI) has to say:
“Existing evidence strongly suggests that lures or attractants (including bat guano) will NOT attract bats to a bat house.“
We rest our case.
The most effective way to attract bats is to use actual flowers and native plants that attract the insects that bats love to feed on. But creating an environment that offers them food is not the only factor to successfully attract bats. The location of your bat house as well as the internal roosting temperature of the bat house play an equally important role.
The 5 proven way to attract bats
#1 - Location
- Make sure it is at least 15 to 20 feet off of the ground and away from electric lights.
- It is recommended to install your bat house on a wooden post or on the side of your house, but not on a tree mainly because the branches can get in the way of bats. A light pole could make for a poor location as well due to it being a source of light, as bats prefer to nest in darkness.
- Using a wooden post with an animal guard is very effective because it also allows you to control the location and the direction (you want the bat house to face south or southeast for maximum sun exposure). But the side of your house could also work, just make sure the external vents of your house are secure enough to keep the bats out.
#2 - Food
While most microbats feed on insects, some eat flower nectar and fruits. And so it is important to offer the right types of flowers and plants that are native to your area because that will attract the types of insects that bats love to feed on.
And since bats feed at night, use night-blooming plants that attract nocturnal insects. Here are some plants that have been known to do the job: Datura, Moonflower, Four-o’clock, Yucca, Evening Primrose, Night-Blooming Water Lily, Night-Blooming Jessamine, Cleome and Nicotiana.
#3 - Water
Install your bat house within ¼ mile of a body of water because that would give the bats easier access to drinking water as well as insects that gather by the water. But if that’s not an option, an artificial pond or a birdbath could suffice.
#4 - Patience
Once you’ve installed the bat house, it could take up to two years for bats to inhabit it. You need to allow time for bats to discover and examine the house at their own pace. And according to BCI, 90% of bat houses that attract bats do so within two years, while the other 10 percent take three to five years.
#5 - Maintenance
Once you’ve successfully attracted bats to your bat house, your job is not quite done! Every winter bats will move away to hibernate, and during that time it is recommended that you inspect the bat house once a month or so. You’ll mainly want to clean it out from any wasp and mud dauber nests and generally keep an eye on the condition of the house itself. BCI recommends a new caulk or paint be applied every 3-5 years to ensure the longevity of the house as a bat habitat.
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