Back in the mid eighties I was active in sport caving (spelunking to non participants) and as a side effect became quite interested in bats and bat conservation. Even bought a then 'state of the art' bat house from someone at a grotto meeting for around $25. Essentially a small bird house with a slit in the bottom instead of a hole in the front.

Quite useless as it turned out, had it up for many years in various locations and it never to my knowledge had a single bat visit much less take up residence. It eventually rotted and fell from the tree it was in. Thus ending chapter one...

Summer of 2010 we noticed a small colony of bats living in the eaves of our house. A nursery colony since a fallen young bat first drew our attention to it.

In researching currently available bat houses I was immediately struck by three things. First by how radically different they are today than back then. Much larger, opened bottom with multiple roughened baffles for the bats to cling to and closely spaced to discourage wasps from joining the bats. BCI (Bat Conservation International) even recommends caulking and painting the outside to prevent drafts. As well as strategically placed vents so each bat house has a variety of micro climates within.

Second by just how expensive nice bat houses are today. The large attractive ones are well over $200.
Ouch! A decent sized ugly house can run a hundred bucks. Tiny, virtually useless, artsy-craftsy bat houses can run $40 to $50. Even kits are not cheap and some of those are rather ugly as well.

Third by the fact that there are several (apparently quite successful?) plastic bat houses on the market today. Hand crafted like their labor intensive wooden counterparts and none that appear to have been designed with the intent of being truly mass produced. Now if alarm bells just went off in your mind, explaining the "dot com" part of the URL above, you can imagine how I felt at the time since I coincidentally worked in plastics manufacturing.

Rotational molding to be precise, and building my first mold
is thoroughly documented with numerous large pictures (warning mobile and dial up users!)

Now spring 2012 and my mold is almost finished. Have three prototype bat houses up around our farm with mixed success. A pole mounted bat house installed in 2011 has had several visitors, but no long term residents. One of two building mounted bat houses installed 2012 enticed our small (but growing!) maternity colony to move in within a month of the bats return.

Bats 'hanging' out on a hot day.

Had to wait for a 105 degree day to get this picture.

Thanks for visiting!

William Bagwell.