By Dawn Pearson
Did you know a single, little brown bat can eat up to a 1,000 mosquitoes in one hour? They also help prevent the need for environmentally harmful sprays, chemicals, biological agents and pesticides.
Jared Westerfield, 14, bit into an insect problem when his sister’s Girl Scout troop was working on a service project in an outdoor classroom behind Riverside Junior High School.
“There were bugs and mosquitoes all over,” Laura Westerfield, Jared’s mother, explained. “And he came up with the idea for natural pest control for his Eagle Scout project.”
The bat house went up along the river behind the school for his project.
“It was a good location because the bleachers and fields are back there, and the cross country runners won’t have to spray themselves as much when they are running,” Laura explained.
The bats eating the bugs help the environment too.
“Whenever there is a nature area, or anytime there is water, you are limited to what you can do for pest control,” Laura said.
Scout Master Joe Fenimore said Jared wanted to help control the population in a natural way.
“You just put the bat houses up and the bats find them,” Fenimore said.
More than 200 hours of volunteer time was spent on the project.
Parents and other troop members and family worked on the bat houses, “which are built out of wood and have to face a certain way for heat and to keep predators out,” Laura said. “There is a special panel inside so the bats can hang; the bottom is open.”
Jared was also recently elected to be the Senior Patrol Leader, which is the top youth position within the troop.
According to the Website, www.defenders.org/bats/basic-facts there are almost 1,000 bat species worldwide.