Douro-Dummer Township council is asking its staff to research bats and bat  houses, after a local resident sought permission to erect a bat house in  Clintonia Park near Curtis Creek in Donwood.

In a letter to council, which was received at its Tuesday evening meeting, E.  Marty Aschaber, a longtime Television Road resident and self-proclaimed “bat  enthusiast,” said he has built a bat house for the area and, if approved by  council, he would monitor it and complete yearly maintenance and inspection.

A single bat can consume anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 mosquitoes in a single  day, said Aschaber in his letter, in pointing out why bats need to be saved.

“In the past bats have been given a ‘bad rap’ such as ‘getting entangled in  one’s hair’ or ‘they will suck blood from their victims!’ Nothing is further  from the truth,” he said.

Environmental issues, human misunderstandings and disease, such as white nose  syndrome, has led to a serious decline in bat numbers, he said. 

Another reason why bats are ecologically important is that they are great  pollinators of different types of local plants.

They are also a friend to farmers, said Aschaber. 

“It is estimated in the U.S. that bats save farmers millions of dollars by  eliminating the need for pesticides because they also eat many other insects  that forage on crops. Bats love and thrive close to agricultural and open land  with water close by,” he said.

“I am a bat enthusiast and interested in helping these amazing  creatures.”

Martina Chait-Hartwig, acting clerk for the township, said she learned from  research that a bat house would not impact people using Clintonia Park, which is  located just east of the city. 

“If you install a bat house in a location, bats will actually pull back from  people’s attics to the house because they prefer to live in this custom-made  home. So you get positive benefits,” she said. 

Chait-Hartwig said she has spoken with Aschaber, who has built a series of  bat houses. There is one on his property and he has given some to other  homeowners.

“This would be one way for us to maybe bring some other natural species back  to the area,” she told council members. 

A properly built bat house in a good location can be “a hot bed for a bat  colony,” Aschaber said.

A decision on Aschaber’s request was deferred by council until its next  meeting when staff will return with bat information and any positive and  negative consequences of a bat house in the park.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His  reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism  Initiative.

By Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 22, 2023 at 17:19

This item reprinted with permission from   The Peterborough Examiner   Peterborough, Ontario
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