Hundreds of Bats find Refuge in Bat Houses

Elise Forrest of Manchester, Michigan loves the bats on her property.  In 2000, her neighbor put a new roof on his house, closing off the entrance for a large colony of big brown bats consisting of more than 200 individuals.  The bats found refuge in the walls of a newly built barn on the Forrest property, surrounded by wetlands, pasture, and farmland.  The Forrest family didn’t want to disturb the bats in the barn, but also didn’t want the roosting bats to interfere with the work they needed to do.  With the help of her neighbor, an electrical contractor, Elise began attaching OBC-approved bat houses to the outside of her barn in 2002 in an attempt to encourage the bats to move out of her barn.  Each year she has added more bats houses to her barn.  The bat houses have been very successful in providing the bats a preferred roosting location.  By 2009, all five bat houses were occupied.  Elise has continued to add more bat houses to her barn and now has a total of 12- nine of which are single-celled OBC-approved bat houses and the rest are triple-celled OBC houses. 
Most of the bat houses are located on the west side of the barn, approximately 20 to 25 feet off the ground, receiving at least 8 hours of direct sun.  With the additional bat houses, most of the bats are now living outside of the barn and in their bat houses.  Elise reports that the bats seem to prefer the bat houses to the barn walls.

© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation