Going Batty

“The town, North Hempstead, has approved the construction of boxes that function as bat houses in several parks to attract more bats to the area.
“Bats can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour,” Judi Bosworth, the town supervisor, said. “That’s extraordinary. A pesticide couldn’t do that.”
The town started encouraging the building and hanging of bat houses in its parks in 2007 to curb the use of pesticides, and it has added a few more each year since.”
See Devouring 1,000 Mosquitoes an Hour, Bats Are Now Welcome Guests as Zika Fears Rise
I’ve long appreciated bats. Anything that eats mosquitoes by day or night is my friend. We have various swallows by day and the bats carry on past sunset. Good for them.

The town in TFA seems to have numerous small-scale bat boxes. That works but more efficient boxes might be less expensive and more effective. My concept is a sandwich of 3/4 inch plywood with 3/4 inch spacing. It might help to score the sides of the panels so that bats could climb up more easily. Bolt the thing together with long threaded rods and hang it on lamp posts or such sturdy mounts. One such house could hold hundreds of bats and their young. Being near a light at night might be helpful as it attracts moths, another favourite food. One could also install CO2 generators to attract a cloud of mosquitoes making the bats even more efficient.

One of my favourite memories as a child was watching toads crawl up window screens at night to eat mosquitoes. The CO2 from us attracted mosquitoes and everyone was happy. The town might consider building toad houses (piles of stones or inverted flower pots with openings) folks could install in flower beds near homes to help increase the consumption of mosquitoes where they hide, in foliage. Don’t forget to build lots of nesting boxes for tree swallows and install anchoring meshes under bridges and eaves of buildings so swallows can nest. It’s all good. Put those mosquitoes to good use instead of letting them eat us.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to Going Batty

  1. wrote, “The 3/4″ plywood might be unnecessarily thick”.

    It’s there for the thermal mass to keep the little guys warm when Mommy goes out at night. Some of our nights are cold. Of course, one could get by with 1/2 inch or 3.8 inch but I’m thinking of bat-colonies 4X8X3 feet3 so it needs to be substantial to handle winds. Lifting this thing into the trees requires some equipment, bolts and chain/cable. Done right and weather-tight it should last decades to keep them coming back year after year. Our bats migrate like the birds. There are very few if any caves in this neighbourhood so the bats move south for the winter.

  2. Modular sunfish says:

    I’ve made smaller bat boxes. The internal scoring is something I did for the ones I made. So I agree that the scoring is a good idea, but it’s also surprisingly important to keep the entrance slot very narrow. Bats can get in with 1/2″ or so, if I recall correctly. The boxes need to be positioned so they don’t get much if any sun. The bats worked ok as far as I know.

    The 3/4″ plywood might be unnecessarily thick though. Bats don’t weigh much and are not rowdy nor do they gnaw.

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