Edwardsville Looks to Bats to Control Mosquito Population

Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Officials in Edwardsville have come up with a unique plan to deal with the problem of mosquitoes — and thus help curtail the potential spread of the Zika virus.

Next Tuesday afternoon, workers will begin installing three bat houses at the Robert C. Stille Edwardsville Township Community Park at 6368 Center Grove Rd. — commonly referred to as “Airplane Park.”

File photo of a bat house. (freeimages.com)

File photo of a bat house. (freeimages.com)

“Trustee Blake Fuhler recommended the installation of bat houses at Township Park as a safe way to control mosquitoes,” according to Township Supervisor Frank Miles. “It’s a very heavily used park, lots of kids, lots of families, and obviously there’s going to be lots of mosquitoes.”

Miles said estimates show that a single bat can consume more than 6,000 insects in a single night, and they’re hoping to attract as many as 150 bats at each of the three houses that will be installed, meaning that exponentially a couple million mosquitoes could be eliminated each night.

Miles pointed out there’s also an ecological element to the use of live bats to do away with pesky mosquitoes.

“With bats patrolling at night, the township can implement a supplemental abatement program to our usual mosquito spraying, which is in cooperation with the Village of Glen Carbon,” he pointed out. “Attracting bats for mosquito control is also more environmentally friendly than the use of pesticides, which can impact the bee population.”

The township purchased the three bat houses from Market Basket in Edwardsville for $50 apiece, and they’ll be installed around the perimeter of the park near the tree line and will include educational signage to describe the mosquito fighting abilities of bats.”

Miles also pointed out that there should be little interaction between the bats and any park visitors who might have a phobia of the creatures.

“The park actually closes at dusk, so it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said, noting that the bats will be resting up in their new homes during the daytime when people are using the park.

Depending on the success of the program, the use of bat houses may spread to other parks throughout Edwardsville Township, which consists of the city of Edwardsville, the Village of Glen Carbon and unincorporated area just outside of both municipalities.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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