Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A comparison of different bat box types by bat occupancy in deciduous woodland, Buckinghamshire, UK

Published source details

Dodds M. & Bilston H. (2013) A comparison of different bat box types by bat occupancy in deciduous woodland, Buckinghamshire, UK. Conservation Evidence, 10, 24-28


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide artificial roost structures for bats Bat Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in May–October 2011 and 2012 in ancient, lowland mixed deciduous woodland in Buckinghamshire, UK (Dodds & Bilston 2013) found that brown long-eared bats Plecotus auritus and Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri favoured three of five bat box types: 1FS (33% of total occupations), 2FN (29%), and 2F (27%). The 1FF boxes were rarely used (11%), and the Apex box was not used at all. There was seasonal variation in bat occupancy rates, with a suggestion that nesting birds outcompeted bats for the 1FS boxes between May and June. Groups of Schwegler 2F, 2FN, 1FS, 1FF woodcrete boxes and 1 wooden Apex box were erected in 13 locations (five around each tree). The box clusters were located on trees with a proven history of good box occupancy levels - part of a 10 year woodland bat box scheme. The group positions were evenly spaced along a transect line of 300 m in homogenous habitat of predominantly semi mature pendunculate oak Quercus robur and ash Fraxinus excelsior closed canopy with lapsed hazel Corylus avellana coppice understorey. Box temperatures were compared and found to be similar, and consistent with the ambient temperature due to the shaded nature of the sites. Aspect was experimentally controlled by progressively rotating the box positions around the tree. Over the two years, 156 box checks were made for each box type, with a total of 149 bat box occupations. Differences between species were discussed in the study, but were not supported by statistical analysis and sample sizes were small.