|Project by GnarlyErik||posted 02-27-2014 05:36 PM||1739 views||5 times favorited||11 comments|
My daughter recently asked me to build a bat house for insect control at her home. She lives near Jacksonville, Florida and mosquitos can make late afternoon enjoyment of their family swimming pool iffy sometimes. According to the literature published by the Bat Conservation Organization, bats can consume hundreds of mosquitos an hour, and each bat house can hold over 100 bats, so there’s that.
Intrigued, I did some research, ordered a book from the organization, gathered materials and built these two bat houses as my first effort. I will probably build at least one or two more – another request from another daughter is already in and I might want to do one or two to try near my own house too. I tweaked the published plans somewhat to make these easier to build
One sheet of “Texture 1-11”™ plywood siding (for the rough texture) and two 1×8 planks were enough for the structure for three bat houses this size (23” x 30”, 4 – chamber houses). One sheet of 1/4” CD ply was used for the interior partitions. The most labor consuming part of the project is making the required 1/16” grooves in the partitions – so many, many of them 3/8” to 1/2” apart. I tried to figure a quick way to do those, but finally just bit the bullet and laid them out by pencil and a long square and made them with a small battery powered panel saw. About 350-500 lineal feet of saw kerf is required for each house! (If I were going to do a lot of these, I would probably figure out some sort of saw mandrel to hold multiple blades to make many cuts with one pass.)
The only short cut I could figure was to clamp all the partitions side by side in order to make a long, continuous cut across three panels at one time. Still, there is an awful lot of tedious sawing. (The bat conservation folks omitted that point) Maybe someone can suggest an easier, better way? A mesh netting can be used instead, but the literature said saw kerfs are best. Besides, all the plastic netting I could find turns out to be fairly expensive, and metal mesh is undesirable for various reasons.
Bat habitat needs to be very warm (75 to 95 degrees), but things can get too hot in Florida too, so these are painted light colors – one house tinted a little darker as an experiment to see which works best. Once these houses are installed, we only need to wait to see how the bats take to them – or if they even do at all. Fingers crossed!
-- "Never let your dogma get run over by your karma!"