Fun Family Project: How to Build a Bat House
Give these mosquito-eating creatures a place to roost in time for trick-or-treat season, and reap the benefits year-round. With instructions for parents and kids
Age Range: 7 and up
Bats are underrated. Besides being the only mammal that flies, most North American bats are nocturnal insectivores, which means they feed on night-flying insects—especially mosquitoes. In fact, a small bat can devour more than 600 mosquitoes in a single hour. They also eat beetles, wasps, and moths. So encouraging bats to nest near your house is a natural way to keep your yard bug-free.
This bat house is easy to make in an afternoon. Its shallow construction is designed specifically to attract bats, which like cramped, dark spaces for nesting. Kids can do lots of the work involved in making this bat house, including measuring, driving screws, and painting. Parents need to help out with the sawing. Once you've finished it, hang your bat house high in a sunny corner of your backyard, and the bats will soon find a stylish new home.
Building a Bat House - Overview
Bats are very particular about where they'll live, and their houses have to be constructed in a specific way that encourages them to nest. The inside of this house is painted black to keep it dark and warm, and the outside is a color that makes it blend in with the surroundings. The space where they go inside the house and roost is only about ¾ inch thick (with a small gap for air circulation). Still, dozens of bats will be able to live in this box and raise their pups.
When working on this project, keep safety in mind at all times. A jigsaw is better off in adult hands, but kids can help out by caulking, driving screws, attaching the netting, and painting. Make sure everyone has safety glasses on when the saw is in use, and keep sleeves away from power tools.