Bat houses in the Southeast United States should be:
- attached at least 15 feet high
- free from obstructions with at least 20 feet of open space
- facing east to southeast to gain exposure to sunlight
- painted white or left natural
Different bat species in the Southeast region prefer various roosting temperatures. Some bats prefer their bat house to be in full sun, while others prefer partial sun and yet other species will be attracted to bat houses placed in the shade.
The placement of your bat house plays a major role in the internal temperature. Houses can be attached to structures such as poles, sides of buildings and tall trees without obstructions. The area under the bat house should be clear, allowing the bats to fly in and out. There should be at least 20 feet of open space around the bat house. Houses placed on poles and structures tend to become occupied quicker than houses placed on trees. Your bat house should be mounted at least 15 feet above the ground, the higher the house the greater the chance of attracting bats.
If deciding to attract bats that choose to roost in full sun, bat houses should face east to southeast to take advantage of the morning sun. You can paint your bat house white, or leave natural. Paint only the outside of your bat house and use a non-toxic, latex paint.
Bats return from migration and awaken from hibernation as early as March in most of the U.S., but stay active year-round in the extreme southern U.S. They will be abundant through out the summer and into early fall. Approximately half of all bat houses are occupied within the first summer and up to 80% are occupied within the first 2-3 years. If bats do not roost in your house by the end of the third summer, move the house to a different location. It is also helpful to attach more than one bat house in your yard in order to provide bats with different housing options and increase your chances of having an occupied bat house.
Bats that Commonly Use Bat Houses in the Southeast
- Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)
- Evening Bat (Nycticeius humeralis)
- Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensi)
- Southeastern Bat (Myotis austroriparius)
- Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus)
For more information on identifying bats check out "Stokes Beginners Guide to Bat Identification."
Check out successful bat house photos and stories in your region!