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What Color Should I Paint My Bat House?

What Color Should I Paint My Bat House?

This is a guide to what color to paint your house, the majority of the country medium brown should work, or black. Its actually easier to fix a bat house that is too hot, but bats will never use a bat house that is too cold, so always err on the side of overheating.


Paint Your Bat House for Proper Heating

TEMPERATURE IS A CRITICAL FACTOR in determining bat house use. While northern bats often need considerable heating in their roosts, southern bats, especially in lowland desert areas, may need much less. By taking advantage of solar heating you can significantly alter the temperature in your bat house. The amount of sun exposure needed will vary with local climates.

In middle and northern latitudes bat houses should receive at least six hours of daily sun, preferably 8-12 hours. Additional measures can be taken to enhance the effects of solar heating. Contrary to previously published information, painting or staining the outside of your bat house can actually increase the chances of attracting bats. Once thought to repel bats due to odor, dark brown or black paint or stain on the exterior of bat houses in the North increases the temperature in the house. Carefully caulk all exterior joints before painting.

Best bat houses by Bat Conservation and Management

Similarly, light colors may reflect nearly all solar heat on bat houses in southern latitudes, thus allowing exposure to more sun without overheating. In the South, houses should be painted or stained medium to dark brown or, in exceptionally hot areas, light brown. In all but the hottest desert areas, they should still receive at least six hours of sun, particularly morning sun. It is easier to attract bats in southern areas if two houses are mounted back-to-back on poles, facing north and south, with a 3/4" space between. This way the bats will be able to move back and forth to seek the optimum temperature. In the hottest areas, houses can be partially shaded by an overhanging tin roof that protects them from the day's hottest sun. If you observe bats constantly occupying the lowest portions of the bat box, it is probably too hot or overcrowded.

You can stain the interior surfaces prior to assembly to extend the life span of the bat house and provide a darker interior. Use stain instead of paint, as paint will fill in the grooves. Assembled bat houses from BCM feature painted baffles near the bottom to reduce light reflected into the bat house.

No matter what part of the country you live in, exposure to sun and proper color are critically important to success.


If you are looking for a quality bat house built right, please see BCM's own models including long lasting plastic shelled variants.

Need help installing a bat house? We can help you microsite your bat house so it is good for both you and bats, and handle all the install details.

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  • John Chenger