Bats have definitely gotten a bad rap. Batman may fight crime, but otherwise bats have been pictured as the stuff of nightmares—nasty looking rodent vampires with wings and fangs, flitting swiftly through the night searching for human blood. Or maybe they are looking for someone with a nice fluffy head of hair so they can land on them and make a comfy nest.
The truth is that most of the estimated 10 billion bats in the world are not that interested in stalking human beings. They are looking for mosquitoes, leafhoppers, beetles, moths, grasshoppers, ants, flies and crickets. One bat can eat thousands of insects in a single night. They are the Ghostbusters of the insect world.
Anyone who has tried to enjoy relaxing in their backyard on a lovely summer evening, but spent most of the time swatting mosquitos, has probably given some thought to using pesticides. That might get rid of the mosquitos, but is not very healthy for the grass, beneficial insects such as butterflies and bees, and certainly not for humans. Consider instead opening a BnB for bats!
Friends Christopher Rannefors and Harrison Broadhurst of Lexington, Kentucky, came by their interest in bats naturally. Christopher and his father built bat houses during his childhood in Massachusetts and Harrison’s mother was a teacher who had used bats in her biology classes. In 2016 they both learned that bat survival is threatened by habitat loss, disease and adverse effects from wind turbines, and excessive night lighting. They wanted to encourage the use of bat houses but felt that most of the commercially available ones were not designed to be the most useful to bats and were not esthetically pleasing.
To confirm their impressions, they consulted with Merlin Tuttle, who is a global expert on bats and he agreed that most available bat houses were not designed with enough attention to the needs of bats. Harrison had a B.A. in Architecture from the College of Design at the University of Kentucky and worked at Nomi Design. Christopher had earned a BS in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and was working as a Sales Manager at Google. By combining their interest in bats with their education and experience, they were determined to design and produce the best bat house on the market.
Nomi Design provided them with the necessary work space and they spent a year designing and producing several prototypes. In July, 2017 they initiated a campaign through Indigogo with a goal of $25,000. In less than two days they exceeded that goal and two days after that were closing in on $40,000. By the end of the campaign, they had raised $119,782 from 459 backers.
Huffington Post did an article on the BatBnB on July 27, 2017, and Harrison and Christopher participated in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Elevator Pitch in October, 2017. Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca aired a segment on the BatBnB in April, 2018.
The BatBnB is made in the US from sustainably harvested Western Red Cedar and is available in three designs that can house around 100 bats each. They come fully assembled with instructions for hanging and information on the most advantageous setting to attract bats.