During the 2017 hurricane season, there was a casualty to the bat world. Perky’s Tower has stood at the end of an unmarked dirt road on the Sugarloaf Key off Florida since the 1920’s. It has weathered dozens of hurricane’s before finally being brought down by Hurricane Irma. This brings me to a question we are often asked, “Do bat houses work?”
While I don’t have a clear black and white answer, let’s explore it a little.
Perky’s Tower was built on the Sugarloaf Key in spring 1911 at a whopping cost of $10,000… An outrageous amount of money for those days. It was touted as having “All the conveniences any little bat heart could possibly desire”.
It was based off a design created by Dr. Charles Campbell who was trying to colonize bats much like bees. Bats as a natural form of pest control for mosquitoes is a wonderful concept. Back in this time period, the mosquitoes in the Florida Keys were described in shuddering detail by a construction crew:
“In the late afternoon, you would just have to rake the bugs off your arm” and that “they’d form a black print on your hand if you put it against a screen and suck all the blood right out of it.”
Sadly, Perky’s Tower never had a single bat live in it. Ever. And while this isn’t the case for all bat houses, it is for many of them.
So, do bat houses work? The success rate of bat houses is roughly 35% give or take.
There are much better designs available than the 30 foot tall monstrosity of Perky’s Tower. We know that bats actually like small, confined spaces with small openings that predators can’t follow them through.
One thing that is often debated with bat houses is the placement of them. We have a very different opinion than any given bat conservation group does. Since we are a bat removal company, we want you to keep them AWAY from your home. Our customers call us to get the bats out of their property, not encourage them to just live on the outside of the house. If you are fighting a bat infestation in your home or business, placing a bat house on the outside of it is just too close for comfort. The bats don’t WANT to live in the bat house, they want to live in YOUR house where they were warm, safe, and comfortable.
We recommend placing the bat house on a pole at least 100 feet from your home or building, closer to a water source than your home, and at least 12-15 feet in the air. As a secondary option, you can place it in a tree.
Either of these options is unlikely to be inhabited by the bats that were once in your attic. But, if this is important to you (we can see why it would be with the mosquito control bats provide your property), it’s worth a try. After all, 35% success rates are better than zero.
Do Bat Houses Work?
Sometimes they do. If you are interested in utilizing a bat house on your property, we are happy to provide you with the Bat House Builder’s Handbook published by Bat Conservation International. Click here to download.
For your bat infestation, don’t hang a bat house on the outside of your home or building. Trust us, we’re experts and have seen this turn into a disaster too many times.
Call us today if you need more information on your bat infestation problem.
Your local bat removal expert,