So, we are going to give $100,000 to an Eastern Slope firm to control mosquito populations in Garfield County.
There are differing opinions as to whether some of the proposed chemicals to be used can cause cancer, so I have mixed feelings about the program.
I am all for controlling mosquitoes, especially since the advancement of West Nile virus into Colorado last year. Without a serious degree of eradication of the evil little bloodsuckers, we are all in danger of infection, sickness, and possible death from their bite.
I would like to propose another method of eliminating the pesky little insects, to be used in conjunction with the chemical program, which seems to be contractually in place.
A single bat can eat between 500 and 1,000 mosquitoes an hour. We have some bats in the area already, primarily Little Browns and the Long-eared Townsend. They are both small, harmless little creatures, unless you happen to be an insect.
There are two reasons for the attraction of additional bats and for encouraging them to produce little batlets.
First, which is painfully obvious, the more bats, the fewer mosquitoes.
Second, which might not be quite as obvious, the killing of insects by chemical means deprives the bat population of a major source of food, which decreases the number of bats, which means that we have to use more chemicals next year … you get the idea.
Now, as to my proposal: bat houses!
A bat house is a wide, flat structure with mesh or grooves on the interior for the bats to cling to when they are sleeping. It has an opening at the bottom, and a “landing strip” (an extension of the back of the structure) to enable the mosquito-stuffed little guys to safely enter their house.
There are a multitude of sites on the Internet that will gleefully sell you a bat house. Some of them get pretty fancy, if that happens to be your taste.
However, there are also several sites that will allow you to download plans, material lists, and specifications to build your own. One of the best can be found at: http://www.batcon.org/bhra/economyhouse.html.
Bat houses can be hung from a tree, a pole, or the side of a building. One must be mindful of placement, due to the guano produced by eating all of those mosquitoes. It is, I understand, great fertilizer.
I would love to see someone take on the building of bat houses as a project. The scouts, a service club, or some other organization could make a decent amount of money doing so.
” Jim Nelson of Glenwood Springs is the author of “Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves.”
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