Forget pesticides; get a bat home to fight mosquitoes this summer - InfoNews

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Forget pesticides; get a bat home to fight mosquitoes this summer

Bats are seen frequently in the Okanagan and thank goodness they are.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Okanagan Community Bat Program
May 11, 2019 - 12:00 PM

PEACHLAND - Summer is just around the corner, which means it's backyard season. Have you figured out how to get the upper hand on blood-hungry mosquitoes?

The answer may be sitting in the heart of Peachland at the old schoolhouse.

The historic yellow building is the home of Peachland Tourism and the Bat Education and Ecological Protection Society, better known as BEEPS.

They promote the protection and preservation through education of the 14 bat species that live in the Okanagan, half of which are currently at risk.

It’s the perfect place for all things batty. Between 1,300 to 2,000 bats live in their attic, said Susan Neill, Peachland’s tourism services co-ordinator. Pop in the centre and you can see some of them cuddle each other under the close watch of the camera installed in their roost.

Neill says thanks to the attic dwellers, the area is “practically mosquito free.”

Almost all bats thrive on an insect diet. A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects every hour, and each bat usually eats 6,000 to 8,000 insects each night.

READ MORE: DON'T GO BATTY

Their appetite for mosquitoes certainly makes a backyard more comfortable, and there’s a way to make sure they frequent your sitting areas.

The society carries bat houses that have been modified for Okanagan needs.

BEEPS Bat house in Peachland's Visitor Centre
BEEPS Bat house in Peachland's Visitor Centre

Neill explained that because it’s so hot in this region, their bat houses have more ventilation, which allows the 100-or-so residents of a bat house to get some breathing room when need be. 

Better yet, for the farmers in the area, these bat houses have guano collectors beneath which is may be an effective soil fertilizer.

To get the best use out of a bat house, however, you should live within a quarter-mile of a body of water.

The visitor centre has all you need to know about bats, their boxes, and why they should be welcomed into your neighbourhoods. If you’re really keen on the creatures, they even offer an opportunity for a bat adoption.

To learn more, visit them at beepspeachland.com.

This little winged creature may be a help this summer.
This little winged creature may be a help this summer.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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