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Bat houses to enhance T-T Rec Trail experience

May 6, 2010
By John Speer, Editor
Many people know bats are renown as the best for mosquito control. That’s why three new bat houses went up along the route of the South Tama Recreation Trail last week.

According to the magazine Mother Earth News, “Some (bats) can eat up to 1,000 of those nasty little bugs an hour! There are many myths and urban legends about bats, but there's nothing to fear.”

Scharnweber’s Water Conditioning sent employees Jerry Meek and Steve Kupka and a truck to assist Rec Trail Board members Jake Jacobson and Kenny Bacon in installing the new houses along the trail in three locations.

Tama-Toledo Boy Scouts under the direction of Scout Leader and Trail Board member Mark McFate built the bat houses earlier. Jacobson said bat houses are built specifically to house female and male bats.

“Bat houses are commonly found along a lot of trails specifically for mosquito control,” Jacobson said.

The houses were placed high in the air on poles donated by Alliant Energy and Scharnwebers, Jacobson said. They were set along the trail near the west side of the Tama-Toledo Country Club course, south of the new U.S. 30 Expressway and near Toledo Heights.

The trail will be be rebuilt and extended along the west side of the Arrowhead Mobile home Park this summer by the City of Toledo crew, Jacobson said. The trial route also awaits completion of the Expressway, before being reconnected to again form the six-mile route from the Toledo City Park on the north to encircle Cherry Lake on the south.

Jacobson said it may be possible to also complete the south end of the trial from Cherry Lake along the flood control dike to an area near the Iowa river at Jiffy South yet this year.

Recreation Trail Board members include Marilyn Hanna, John Willett, Roger Benda, Larry Eisentrager, Amy Ridout, Pat Downs, Bacon, McFate and Jacobson.

Article Photos

Rec trail volunteers are placing a pole with a bat house on top of it on the trail. Photo Provided

Fact Box

Don't spend lots of money on one of those gadgets or gizmos that promise to keep them at bay while you relax in a hammock with a glass of lemonade. Instead, consider employing bats for a natural and effective mosquito abatement program.
Mosquitoes are the primary source of food for many bat species. Some can eat up to 1,000 of those nasty little bugs an hour! There are many myths and urban legends about bats, but there's nothing to fear. They won't harm you. In fact, bats are fascinating animals (read more about their complexity in Fantastic Bats).
All you have to do to attract them is provide some bat-friendly shelter and building a bat house is a fun and easy project. Simply gather the basic supplies (non-pressure-treated plywood, caulk, paintbrushes, a drill and wood screws, a table or hand saw and water-based stain, paint and primer) and get started; click here for detailed instructions. You can have one up and running in no time: The project is perfect for a lazy Saturday, and usually costs less than $30, depending on the size of the house. Consult Bat Conservation International's Criteria for Successful Bat Houses for additional building tips. Not handy with a table saw? Completed bat houses that are ready to install are available for purchase,
Mother Earth News is a companion publication of The Tama News Herald and Toledo Chronicle.
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