Bat boxes are designed to mimic natural bat roosts.
They usually consist of narrow slits that bats can crawl into. Bats don’t like draughts, so make sure all joints are secure. They also need rough-textured wood to cling onto – if you can’t find rough-sawn timber, then use the teeth of a saw on its side to create a rough surface.
When your bat box is complete, place it at least 4m above the ground or close to the eaves of a building, in a south- or west-facing position that gets sun for part of the day.
Follow these steps to create your own bat box.
You Will Need
- Softwood, planed timber plank (18 x 144 x 1500mm)
- 25mm cross head woodscrews (No. 6) (20)
- Tenon saw, or other fine toothed saw
- Electric drill
- No. 6 wood drill bit and countersink
- Tape measure
Measure and mark out your plank; leave the front till last, so you can hold the saw at about 30 degrees from the vertical when cutting to ensure the lid fits snuggly. Cut out the individual pieces and sand the edges.
Use the saw to cut shallow, horizontal grooves in the back section of timber to form a ‘bat ladder’. Grooves can also be cut on the inside surfaces of the whole box for the bats to cling onto.
Cut a wedge out of the back section, around 60cmm down from the top edge. This will locate the lid in position. Handle the saw with care, holding the plank firmly and cut away from yourself.
Assemble the box; pre-drilling holes for the screws to prevent the wood splitting. Drill holes at the top and bottom of the back panel to attach the box to its support. Attach the ‘holder’ to the underside of the roof and slot in place.
For extra weather protection, attach a piece of roof flashing to the top.
Kate Bradbury says
If your garden is too small to accommodate roosting or nesting bats, you can still do your bit to help them – simply create habitats for the insects they eat. A pond makes the perfect breeding ground for many species of insect, while shrubs and flowering plants provide food and shelter. The more insects you cater for, the more food there is for bats.