Nearly Stumped by a Serotine Bat

Each day in the Bird Brick Houses nerve centre brings a new question of some sort, perhaps an architect asking about installing boxes in a particular brick bond, or a site manager asking how where exactly their swift boxes should be installed in their rapidly growing new build. This week however was notable for a particularly challenging question from a potential customer, who wanted to know whether our bat box would be appropriate for use by Serotine bats – a much less common variety in the UK than their Pipistrelle cousins.

Despite the presence in the office of some individuals with plenty of ‘bat knowledge’, this was one of those occasions when we admit defeat and call on a bat specialist. Fortunately, we are on good terms with an eminent ecologist in this area. The questions were posed:  – would Serotines use our bat box? Would any modifications would be necessary?

Happily for all concerned (not least the bats in question), the advice was that with a slightly larger entrance aperture and thinner timber for the internal hanging boards (neither of which is a problem for the workshop team), Serotines would certainly make themselves at home.

All of which is much needed good news for these particular bats, which it transpired are suffering a decline in numbers from an already small population base. It seems that climate change has altered the lifecycle of insects, upon which all of the UK’s bat species depend upon for their diet. Our long hot dry spell was especially bad news, as insects thrive on the occasional moisture provided by summer rain showers. As a motorcyclist, I can vouch for the relative dearth of insects – my visor would be absolutely splattered from a summer ride a few years ago – nowadays it barely needs a wash.

Food for thought – if not for bats.