Men’s Shed builds bat houses for CWF

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Local Men’s Shed group partners with Canadian Wildlife Federation

This past summer the Hackberry Men’s Shed of Carleton Place (check us out on Facebook  or the Men’s Sheds Canada website) learned of the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s need for people to help build bat houses.  Having just completed a tool shed for the Community Gardens, the Men’s Shed was open to new challenges and considered building 10 such houses for the CWF.

A few days after meeting with the program’s director and agreeing to this, the Men’s Shed received a note saying “we have a bat emergency, we will need more houses”.  It seems CWF were now looking for some group to complete the entire order so their program could stay on schedule.

To construct 50 bat houses in a month and a half seemed like a tall order for a group of 15 men, a number of whom had prior commitments.  But, if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you can do these things.  So we completed the first 12 for which we had obtained supplies and three weeks later CWF took delivery of them.

Then it was back to the supply store to get on with the next 38.  Originally we had hoped to complete the full order by mid October but bottlenecks in the production process slowed down the project.  Now we have targeted the end of October to complete the deal. By so doing CWF can install the bat houses before snow flies so they’ll be ready for the bats next spring.

And why the need for bat houses, particularly this style which is a nursery bat house? Because bats along the east coast of North America, especially the little brown bat, are on the verge of extinction due to white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has wiped out some 5 to 6 million bats in the last 10 years.

So who cares if a few bats go missing?  They’re not very popular at the best of times!  Well — with fewer bats there are more bugs and mosquitoes around.  And more mosquitoes means more things like West Nile Virus — a cost to the health care system and more bugs to infect crops which then need more spraying which in turn boosts the cost of food.  But bats consume their own weight in these insects every night!  So they are our natural partners in balancing the eco system.

When white nose syndrome first appeared in North America, seemingly having arrived from Europe, local bats had no immunity to the disease and the disease spread rapidly and fatally.  But European bats, where the disease has been known for some time, have developed an immunity to the disease.  So it is hoped that by helping nurture the reproduction of the species, in time our N. American bats will develop a similar tolerance to the disease.

Any one want to help with this effort at natural conservation?  Check out the CWF website and offer to be a bat hero by having one of these houses erected at your place.