Last time local bats appeared in the news, they were flying through the halls of Cortez Middle School. To remove the pesky rodents, the school district was forced to pay a cool $24,500.
Now, roughly a year and a half removed from the costly incident, Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Tyler Daniel is taking steps to insure that a similar situation does not occur in the future.
To fulfill requirements for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, Daniel has been designing, manufacturing and placing bat houses at various bat-friendly locations around the county.
“I was reading online and thinking about how we spent thousands of dollars excavating bats from the Middle School,” said Daniel. “I found this project and I thought it would be a really good project to benefit our community.”
Built using 10-inch PVC pipe and plywood dividers, the houses are designed to attract bats to non-nuisance areas, including Centennial Park and Denny Lake.
The Cortez Ice Cream Truck donated material for the bat houses.
In addition to aiding the community by drawing bats away from unwanted locations such as the Middle School, Daniel’s project could benefit the community in other ways as well.
Insect control is one such benefit due to the fact that bats are capable of consuming more than 1,000 insects per hour.
“There are a lot of insects that damage our crops and bats can help control those,” said Daniel.
Well-placed bats could also aid in mosquito control, which, according to Daniel, could aid in controlling the spread of West Nile Virus and prevent the spraying of harmful chemicals.
“If we have bats localized in our parks, it would cut down on the insecticides that we have to spray there.
Thus far, Daniel has placed 10 bat houses at various locations around Montezuma-County and depending on their success, he could place even more.
“I’ve had a few people out on the country roads saying they would like more insect control so they don’t have to spray as much,” said Daniel. “I’ve also had three local natural farmers say that they want to go around and collect the guano for their farms.”
Unique, well designed and creatively conceived, Daniel’s project could certainly benefit Montezuma-County and the countless bats that call the area home.