Bats living in Bath this summer will have a fancy, new place to call home: their very own BatBnb.
Designed to hold up to 100 bats, the state-of-the-art bat house was recently won by Kennebec Estuary Land Trust in an online competition for nonprofits devoted to bat conservation. The structure retails at $250, making it one of the most expensive bat houses on the market.
BatBnB is a Kentucky-based company that was founded in 2016, by two young entrepreneurs who were concerned about a growing mosquito population and mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika virus. Their business plan hinges on the idea that bats can consume around 1,000 mosquito-sized insects per hour, serving as a natural form of pest control.
“We plan to install it in Lilly Pond Community Forest [in Bath],” said Ben Barrett, the land trust’s communications and education coordinator. “It’s by a waterway where the mosquito populations are higher, so that’s one big reason. It’s also a good place for educational programs, so we can bring groups out there — children and adults — and give them a chance to see the bat house from afar.”
BatBnB bat houses are so expensive because they’re crafted out of durable red cedar and designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and ideal for bat habitation. Offered in seven different designs, the houses were carefully designed with the consultation of Merlin Tuttle, a well-known bat expert who has been studying the animal since 1959.
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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