Bat boxes placed in Clintonville to help control bug population


Leave it to an Eagle Scout to find a way to solve a pesky problem.

“I don't know why you wouldn't want them because they eat a ton of insects,” Chandler Frenken said.

Frenken is talking about Ohio's little brown bat.

“My hope is to give a bat a home,” he said.

To complete his Eagle Scout Project, he built 12 Bat Boxes. He said each box can hold up to 150 bats.

The wooden homes look like giant bird houses with wooden planks inside to allow the bats to hang together. The boxes are attached to metal pipes and sit 12 feet in the air.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy River Watershed helped install the boxes.

The little brown bat may be small, but experts say they can eat their weight in insects every night.

Dylan Williams, who is the President of the Sharon Heights Community Association, backed the project.

“The bats will actually land on the bottom ledge and climb up inside,” Williams said.

The neighborhood group helped Frenken get the bat boxes in north Clintonville.

“We expect about a thousand bats to inhabit these boxes within the next  year,” Williams said.

Williams said these flying exterminators could save the city when it comes to spraying pesticides for mosquitoes, based on savings from other cities where these bat boxes are used.

Even the Ohio Department of Natural Resources supports bat boxes because the little brown bat is struggling to survive.

“The little brown bat is going through a major population decline because of white nose syndrome,” Donna Schwab of the Division of Wildlife said.

It's a disease that's found in caves where bats often live.

So the next time you see these furry winged bug eaters, experts say you have nothing  to fear.

“Bats do not attack people at all,” Schwab said.

Frenken said people need to embrace the bat.

“If you see a bat leave it alone and let it do  its job,” he said.

A job that could save your garden, once these nocturnal predators awake in search of a late night snack.

According to Columbus Public Health, bats can help eliminate mosquitoes but the agency says it would never rely on one single method to control diseases such as West Nile or Zika viruses.