Thursday 21 May 2020

Bat the Bugs Away!

Bats can devour thousands of insects in a single night. What a great way to reduce the number of mosquitoes and other pesky insects that can take the pleasure out of an evening stroll by the river!

A group of students in the Sustainability in Action course at the University of Saskatchewan wanted to make walking through public spaces more enjoyable by reducing the number of mosquitoes. They chose to build and install 40 bat boxes in Saskatoon and the surrounding area to help stabilize the city’s bat population, particularly large brown bats, which are very common in cities as they like to hibernate in man-made structures. The students hope that the additional accommodation will reduce the number of bats nesting in homes where they are seen as a nuisance – and reduce the number of mosquitoes.

The first bat boxes have been installed in the Patterson Garden Arboretum and the students have permission to place the remaining bat boxes in city parks, on Meewasin land, and at Pike Lake Provincial Park. They will also be constructing educational signage that will be placed on the Meewasin trail to educate the public about bats.

The students’ work has been supported by an EcoFriendly Action Grant. More information about the students’ project is available online.

Bats and Covid: Bats have received a lot of bad press recently. Here are two science-based articles that shed a powerful light on this topic:

     Bats Are Not Our Enemies: The truth about bats and disease, Scientific American

     Bats and Disease: They may be the key to fighting viruses in the future, Undark

Did you know? Big brown bats fly very fast and can reach speeds up to 40 mph. They have strong teeth that can chew through the shell of beetles, one of their favorite foods.

See also: 8 Cool Facts about Bats and What to Do if you Find One in Your Home, EcoFriendly Sask

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