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