First choose a primarily sunny location for your bat house. They work best when they receive about 6-8 hours of sunlight and should not be lit by artificial lights. Thats why it's a bad idea to install them on existing light or utility poles. Bats may find your bat house more quickly if located along a forest or water edge where they tend to be more active. Your bat house should be placed 20 to 25 feet from any tree branches, wires or other potential perches for aerial predators.
Most nursery colonies choose to roost within 1/4 mile of water, a better success rate for bat houses has been in areas with diverse habitat, also where there is a mixture of varied agricultural and natural vegetation. A single-chambered bat house does not work that well installed on a pole, multi-chambered works the best. The larger bat houses are more thermally stable for cooler climates such as Michigan, it's recommended to paint your bat house a dark color such as black or gray to hold heat in.
Bat houses should be at least 10 feet above ground, and somewhere between 12 to 20 feet is better. Metal predator guards may help, especially if using wooden posts. Bat houses can be installed at any time of the year, but are more likely to be used during their first summer if they are installed before the bats return in spring. If you are excluding bats from a nearby building or home, install the bat houses at least two to six weeks before evicting the bats.
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