Boy Scout Troop 777 Installs Bat Boxes at Kiawah River
Recently, our Chief Environmental Officer Jeff Snyder welcomed Boy Scout Troop 777 to Kiawah River to install four bat boxes in the pasture. The Scouts completed this project to help one of their members, Ben, earn his Eagle Scout badge.
Why do we want bat boxes at Kiawah River? Bats might have a negative reputation, but they’re actually very beneficial to humans. Bats help manage the mosquitoes on the sea islands during the warmer months. According to Bat Conservation International, one brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1,000 mosquito-sized insects in one night! Not only does that mean fewer mosquito bites over the summer, but it also lessens the transmission of diseases, like West Nile Virus, that they spread. Fewer bugs also mean less pesticide needs to be used on our food and flowers—which is good for all of us. Also, bats can act as pollinators in some areas, pollinating fruits such as mangoes and other night-blooming flowers.
So bats are good, but why do we need to build them houses? Contrary to popular belief, bats don’t always live in caves. That’s where you’ll probably find them in winter, but in summer they’ll be in trees, under bridges or in old houses. But as forests are cleared, the loss and degradation of the bat’s natural habitat has made it more difficult for them to find a safe place to give birth to and raise their young. Here’s where humans can help, by building and installing properly made bat boxes to offer female bats that safe place.
If you want to take the Scouts’ lead and build your own bat house, you can visit https://www.nwf.org/garden-for-wildlife/cover/build-a-bat-house for easy instructions. You can also buy one at your local hardware store. Just make sure to install them in the right place, like Troop 777 did. Ideally, the houses should be placed on a tall metal pole, not on a tree as you might think. You don’t want to install them on a tree for several reasons: they won’t receive enough sun to remain warm, branches make it harder for bats to enter and exit, and predators have easier access.
Take the time to walk by the pastures and admire the Scouts’ handiwork. Thank you to Troop 777 for helping make Kiawah River a better place for bats and for us, too!