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"Bat Houses"

Has anyone else noticed that there seems to be a lot more mosquitoes buzzing around this summer? Sitting on the desk with a "cold one" now involves bug spray, citronella candles and toxic fog that comes out of can. Still it seems that there is no defeating today's mosquitoes. Aside from the annoying itching, slapping and scratching, mosquitoes can be carriers of disease.

One possible cause of this "bumper crop" of bugs may be the decline in the bat population. The much-maligned bat has fallen upon hard times lately as the loss of habitat and "white noise" syndrome that has wiped out a huge portion of their population.

Bats may be frightening to some, but they are harmless and have a huge appetite for mosquitoes. A single bat can consume almost a half a pound of bugs in a season. One way to encourage these little mammals to inhabit our yards is by putting up a bat nesting box.

Taking up approximately ten square feet, a bat box can house lots of hungry bats. It is simple to build, and a little harder to hang, as it needs to be fifteen to twenty feet in the air. It's a great family project that will educate everyone about the importance of the bat.

Plans for a bat box can easily be found online, can be obtained from the Paramus Environmental Commission, or found in the library. Boxes can also be purchased in outdoor stores or from local artisans.

Local governments should consider placing bat boxes in parks and places of assembly. Bat boxes are a low-tech, non-toxic form of insect control that may just make you next outdoor event a little more enjoyable.

Check out the following links for more information about building a bat box of your own.

Bat Conservational International Website

From Bat Conservation International: Criteria for Successful Bat Houses (.pdf)

From National Wildlife Federation: How to Build a Bat House

Bat House Construction and Installation

Paramus Environmental Commission
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