GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – When a group of students found a little brown bat at the base of a tree at school on Monday night, Leroy Smith had no idea what that bat would lead to.
“I’m not too fond of them myself,” Smith said referring to bats in general.
His wife is a teacher at Southeast Kelloggsville School in Grand Rapids, the school where the bat was discovered, brought the bat home.
“It was biting,” said Smith. “It was ferocious at the time. So I was, like, we are going to take it to Blandford Nature Center and leave it there.”
Smith thought that would be the last he would ever want to see of a bat, but then he learned of their helpful appetite.
“A little guy like this can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes a night,” said Lori Lomoro as she held the bat. Lomoro is a wildlife program coordinator at Blandford Nature Center and the person who took in the bat Smith brought in.
The bat did not appear to injured and was released at the center.
Bats aren’t the only thing coming into Smith’s life at the moment: the flood of 2013 brought an invasion of mosquitoes.
A bat house, similar to a bird house, can provide a place for the flying mammals to live near your house and eat mosquitoes.
Smith started thinking about entering the construction business. “I’m actually going to try and build 100 (bat houses) and spread out through all of my neighbors, because with all that flooding, it brought a lot mosquitoes.”
A bat house can hold 20 to 30 bats. To make your bat house attractive it should be painted black and installed 15 feet up a tree facing south so they get the most sun, according to Lomoro. And bats love to be near water.”
Bats typically don’t like to travel far from home for a meal, so they will likely treat your yard like an all-you-can-eat mosquito buffet.
The Blandford Nature Center has more information on how to construct or buy a bat home. You cannot however, buy a bat at the center.