Bat House Maintenance
Cleaning a bat house can be a very simple process IF you know what to look for and you get a routine down. Below are a few things to look for and some helpful tips to maintain your bat house. Remember that bat house maintenance should always occur when the house if vacant, ideally late in the season.
Check the seams
The first thing to inspect are the seams, all seams should be airtight. If they are not, this will most likely lead to the bats vacating. Daily heating and cooling will cause expansion and contraction which usually leads to a split or a crack somewhere in the construction. The easiest indicator is the presence of light within the bat house. Test this by shining a light from the outside of the bat house inwards. Roof repair sealant may be needed if your bat house fails the "light test".
Be pro-active against wear and tear
Just like any piece of outdoor decor you will have some level of hands on maintenance and up-keep that must be done with your bat house. Inspect the roofing paper, wooden shingles and the landing mesh and replace anything that needs it. If you don't, this will inevitably affect your occupancy rate in a bad way. It's also a good habit to re-stain or re-paint your bat house every few years or so. This helps to "seal" and protect the bat house against natural elements and prolong the life of your bat house. Also keep a close on the baffles within the bat house. These tend to warp and wear out first. In fact, some bat houses are actually constructed from materials like yellow pine plywood that are more resistant to warping than most plywoods.
Remove unwanted visitors
From time to time you may find that wasps and bees build a nest at the base or inside you bat house. The conditions are ideal for them to do so. Keep an eye out for this activity and remove them as soon as possible. Although they aren't necessary combative with bats, they will take up valuable real estate within and around the bat house and you don't want that.
Prevent overcrowding and overheating
A great indicator of overcrowding is seeing bats towards the bottom or on the exterior of the bat house. This means that it's most likely overcrowded and the bats are overheating. An easy solution is to install a very similar bat house nearby to help "split up" the population. It's better to accommodate them then to lose them your property. Although not our first recommendation, another solution would be to repaint the box to a lighter shade of color or by adding white roofing paper to help control the temperatures. We only recommend "experimenting" and altering your bat house if you have another one already installed nearby. Experimentation could result in a loss of population.