Introduction: Northern Bat House

YuKonstruct paired up with our local bat experts to offer a bat house workshop that is specific to the needs of Little Brown Bats (common in Yukon). In our colder northern climate this style of bat house provides a warm nursery for this important species (or other cold-climate small bat species).

Read more about this workshop on our blog.

Read more about Yukon bats.

These instructions are based off of Environment Yukon's bat house.

YuKonstruct is the first makerspace in Canada's north. Our mission is to provide access to shared space, quality tools, available expertise, and a collaborative environment to help makers build anything!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials (This makes the pieces for two bat houses)

***Do not use pressure treated lumber as this can be harmful to the bats.***

  • One half sheet (48” x 48”) 1/2” standard plywood
  • One half sheet (48” x 48”) 3/8” standard plywood
  • Two pieces 1” x 6” x 8’ spruce board
  • 25 – 1 ¾” x #8 wood screws
  • 100 – 1” x # 6 or #8 wood screws
  • Six to ten 2 ½” x #8 wood screws
  • 1 litre of dark coloured water-based stain
  • Approximately 40 square feet of burlap or nylon window screen (or similar material)
  • Tube of caulking

Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Combination square or tri-square
  • Chalk line
  • Circular and/or table saw
  • Drill with screw driver bits and 1 ½” hole saw
  • Staple gun with 1/4” staples
  • Scissors to cut burlap/screen
  • Clamps (optional)
  • Hammer
  • Caulking gun
  • Paint brush or roller with tray

Step 2: Cut Out All Pieces

Follow the template instructions to mark and cut the pieces for the bat house.

The attached layout provides enough pieces for two bat houses. Some of the edges are cut at a 25° angle (using the bevel on the tablesaw): the top edges of the back and front pieces, the roof, and the roof supports - this is noted by a dotted line in the layout.

Once all the pieces are cut out, drill 1 ½” diameter holes in the Partition pieces. Partition 1 and 3 will have 12 inches between the two holes and Partition 2 will only have 6 inches between the two holes.

Step 3: Attach Burlap/screen

Staple burlap (or nylon window screen) to the inner surfaces of the Front and Back pieces as well as to both sides of all of the Partitions.

Wrapping the screen down one side of the Partitions and up around the other side works well - this isn't pictured as we were using smaller scrap pieces of burlap.

If you put the burlap all the say to the edges, make sure to hammer down the staples. The house will not fit snugly together (within the width of the side pieces) if there is bulky burlap and staples between each layer. Here we decided to fold the burlap under so that it didn't go underneath the spacers.

Make sure to get rid of any loose ends and make it tidy. Pay special attention around the holes - we used both glue and staples to get a good finish without any hanging strings.

The burlap or screen gives the bats something to grip as they climb up the bat house chambers. Make sure to attach screen to the lower inner part of the Back as this will be where the bats land on the bat house.

Materials for this step could be window screen, burlap or fabric, or horizontal grooves could be cut into the plywood with a power saw. The grooves should be 1/32” to 1/16” deep and spaced 1/4” to 1/2” apart.

Step 4: Back, Roof & Sides

Screw the 1/2” plywood Back to the Sides with the angled cuts aligned at the top using 1 ¾” screws.

Fasten the Roof to the top using 1 ¾” screws with the angled edge of the Roof aligned with the back of the bat house.

Step 5: Double Rear Inner Panel

Construct the double rear inner panel as follows:

  • Place two Back Side Partition Spacers (these are longer than the other spacers) down parallel and about 14” apart on a flat surface.
  • Place a Roof Support above the two Back Side Partition Spacers to resemble an up-side-down “U”. The Roof Support and spacers should be laid out with the broad sides down.
  • Ensure the angle on the Roof Support is visible with the wider edge of the support down. Place the 3/8” plywood Partition 1 onto the spacers with half of the Roof Support exposed and the 1 ½” diameter holes towards the Roof Support.
  • Make the edges of the spacers flush with the edge of Partition 1.
  • Fasten Partition 1 to the Roof Support and the Back Side Partition Spacers with 1” screws.

Pictures 1 and 3 show the product of the above steps.

  • Place two Side Partition Spacers down on top of the first Partition 1 with the bottoms of the spacers flush with the bottom of the partition. The 3/8” plywood partitions are offset downwards toward the front of the bat house (take a look ahead to the next step to understand why).
  • Place Partition 2 on top of the Side Partition Spacers so that it is centered vertically on the spacers and the 1 ½” diameter holes are towards the top.
  • Fasten Partition 2 to the second set of spacers with 1” screws.
  • This is the double rear inner panel.

Picture 3 shows the second partition attached.

Step 6: Attach Double Rear Inner Panel

Slide the double rear inner panel against the inner rear of the bat house with the angle of the Roof Support aligned with the angle of the Back and Sides.

The Roof Support should slide up tight to the underside of the Roof. Because you offset the partitions, there is a space above the second partition between it and the roof. This is space for the bat nursery.

Attach this double rear inner panel to the Back of the bat house with two 1 ¾”screws into the bottom of the Back Side Partition Spacers.

Step 7: Front Inner Panel

Construct the front inner panel as follows:

  • Place two Side Partition Spacers down parallel and about 14” apart on a flat surface.
  • Place Partition 3 on top and center it vertically on the two Side Partition Spacers with the 1 ½” diameter holes towards the top.
  • Make the edges of the spacers flush with the edge of Partition 3.
  • Fasten Partition 3 to the two Side Partition Spacers with 1” screws.
  • Place a Roof Support on top of Partition 3 so that the beveled edge is up and so that it will be aligned with the Roof angle. Half of the long side (underneath) of the Roof Support should extend above Partition 3.
  • Place the last two Side Partition Spacers on Partition 3 about 14” apart and under the Roof Support to create another up-side-down “U”.
  • Fasten the Roof Support and Side Partition Spacers to the Partition 3 with 1” screws. This is the front inner panel.

Step 8: Attach Front Inner Panel

Slide the front inner panel into the bat house so that the top angle of the Roof Support is aligned with the angle of the Back and Sides. The Roof Support should slide up tight to the underside of the Roof.

Fasten the front inner panel using 1 ¾” screws through the Sides.

Fasten the 1/2” plywood Front onto the bat house with the angled top aligned with the Roof using 1 ¾” screws.

Step 9: Caulk and Paint

Caulk the exterior joints of the bat house to keep wind and rain out.

Paint the exterior of the bat house with dark water-based stain so that it will absorb heat. Bats like heat.

Your bat house is now complete!

You can mount the completed bat house to the side of a building with two or three 2 ½” wood screws through the lower part of the Back panel and with two or three 2 ½” wood screws through the Roof at an angle into the building.

Comments

author
DavidL752 (author)2017-05-10

Is there a reason the burlap or the nylon meshed couldn't be glued, say with some old fashioned organic glue, such as flour paste glue and cornstarch glue. Also Gum Arabic. Would these materials be a problem for the bats any more than the other materials?

author
ModMischief (author)2016-07-25

Great instructable!

At first I thought the "Home Sweet Home" and cute little bat were actually on the box. Wouldn't be too hard to do with some white vinyl decals...

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