Build your own bat house
With this easy homemade box you can attract quite a few bats to your yard to give the mosquitos a hard time. A nice warm, dark house is all they ask for.
This is how
A Cut the wood Measure and cut from one of the wide planks (22mm x 96mm) three lengths of 400mm each. From the other one, cut three lengths of 300mm each. 1 Keep aside the remaining two pieces – you’ll use them later on.
From the thin plank (22mm x 44mm), cut the following lengths: two of 320mm each, one of 288mm and one of 244mm. Cut the ends of the two 320mm planks diagonally at a 45° angle. 2
B Make the back panel Glue the longest narrow side of one of the thin 320mm planks and clamp and screw it onto the flat side of one of the 400mm lengths of the wide planks. Make sure that the left-hand edges align and that the underside of the diagonal edge aligns with the top edge of the wide plank – the diagonal end should thus protrude from the edge. 34 Now do the same with the other thin plank of 320mm, but this time make sure the right-hand sides align. 6 The two 400mm lengths with the sides attached to them will form the two sides of the back panel. Glue the two narrow sides of the remaining 400mm plank and place it in between the other two planks to which the thin planks >
have been screwed. 7 The three wide 400mm planks should fit snugly side by side. (Use one or two pieces of thin plank to support the wide plank in the centre.) From one of the remaining wide planks (22mm x 96mm), cut two lengths of 288mm each. Glue and screw them crosswise to the backside of all three 400mm pieces so that you have one solid backside for your bat box – the one must align with the top edge 8 and the other one at the bottom with the point where the sides end. 9
C Make the front Glue the flat side of the thin 288mm plank and screw the three 300mm pieces onto it, side by side 10 – double-check that the bottom edges align. This will form the front panel of the bat box (with the flat thin plank forming a lip on the opposite side at the entrance to the box).
Turn these three planks around to work on the opposite side. Glue and screw the narrow side of the 244mm plank onto the three planks, on the end opposite from where the other thin plank has been screwed down. Place the plank so that it aligns with the top edge of the three planks and that it is 22mm away from the sides on either side. 11 Again, use a guiding block to get this upright plank exactly in the centre. 12
The front and back panels 13 of your bat box are now complete and should fit together like two 3D puzzle pieces. 14
Paint the inside of these pieces black and allow them to dry thoroughly. 15
D Build a ladder to the top Place the back of the bat house (the piece with the two sides) on top of the plastic netting and cut the netting accordingly. 16 Starting at the backside, along the bottom, and staple the netting to the wood. 17
Fold the netting around the bottom 18 to cover what will become the inside of the box.
Cut the netting smaller so that it fits in between the two sides 19 20 and staple it in place 21 up to about 30mm from the top. 22
E Put it all together Apply glue along the narrow sides of the side panels of the back panel as well as the narrow side of the top plank of the front panel 23 and join the pieces. 24 Screw them in place. Take the remaining 22mm x 96mm plank and cut another 300mm piece from it. Screw it onto the diagonal ends of the side panels to form an afdakkie 25 – it will prevent water from getting into the bat box when it rains. (Remember, light and moisture deter bats.) Finally, paint the exterior of the box black all over 26 and install it in a suitable spot. (For tips on choosing the best position to attract newcomers, see page 105.)