Bats in your belfry is a good thing!

“Let’s get those mosquitos with larvicide!”

“West Nile will get you if you’re near standing water!”

Mosquitos will carry this deadly disease; don’t go outside at all this summer!”

No doubt you’ve heard these fears and more as our Canadian summer’s unique character traits get swatted about…

My friend Tim Cruise listened to all the fearmongering this spring and early summer. What scared him most were plans by various levels of government to spray larvicide in areas of standing water in an attempt to kill mosquito larvae.

“It’ll kill the mosquito larvae, all right,” he said. “it’ll also kill water spiders, dragon flies, striders, and anything else living in that standing water… crayfish, clams, tadpoles. And if it didn’t kill it, it would pass it down the food chain to everything else.”

Tim’s a man of action and started immediately to investigate alternatives.

Bats, for instance. He spoke to veterinarians, he researched in both libraries and online, and took his entrepreneurial spirit into his office to design three natural ways to combat West Nile Virus. The Roosting Bathouse, the Decorative Bat House, and the Little Brown Bat Colony House are Tim’s three solutions, none of which do any environmental damage to other living creatures in our often sensitive aquatic environments.

A little brown bat, which has a wing span of 6” and weighs a whopping quarter-ounce feasts on 3000 mosquitos per day. In the hours of dusk and dawn, these creatures are a natural prey to mosquitos and a dead end to West Nile virus. Why not have a few hundred little brown bats take care of your immediate neighbourhood?

Tim’s aware that some people prefer an urban look to their back or front garden areas, so he also designed a decorative house that looks alot like a bird house except it houses 200-300 little brown bats. Bat houses require specific grooves cut to certain depths. They need enough space to grab onto and nest into.

Tim’s bat colony house houses 600-800 little brown bats with four internal chambers, all grooved 1/8 inch deep with half-inch spacings. This is the type of bathouse where mothers would rear their young and return each year. The colony bat house could easily be responsible for the consumptions of 2,400,000 mosquitos DAILY.

Seems alot better than larvicide!

What I like about Tim is that he doesn’t linger on these things. He hopped out to see Trish and Grant Lloyd at Springwater Woodcraft on Snow Valley Rd and Grant quickly made up prototypes in an attempt to price them and iron out the ‘bugs’ (so to speak) before putting them in production lines.

Tim, meanwhile, drew up a pamphlet and made sales calls to the Muskoka Store on Highway 11 and Country Pine on Bryne Dr. Lorne Properties, property developer of much of the Bryne Dr area, was quick to promote the bat houses as well.

Tim’s pamphlet gives installation instructions, the houses need at least six hours of direct sunlight a day to keep them warm. They should be mounted 12-16 feet high, and while you can hang your bathouse near where your bats are currently living, it’s best once you’ve lured them to the house to begin to move it away and up, up, up.

Tim says it’s amazing where bats live; he’s had customers report bats in their patio umbrella, under shingles in the hip of a roof, in the shutters beside the windows of a house. One of the reasons bats are living in residential areas is the food source is terrific, and their natural habitat in old houses and barns, has been destroyed. They have fewer places to live.

Well, with the possibilities of having a mosquito free yard, having a bathouse or two seems like an environmentally sound solution to West Nile. As well as to that familiar SWAT to the back of your neck. Or to your back.

If you’re interested, you’re welcome to call Tim at 739-0949 or Springwater Woodcraft at 727-4095.

Thank you, Tim, for doing something instead of just listening to a news story and tsk-tsking.