Batman (also known as Chris Treadwell), left, with Brown Property Preservation president Tom Whitfield with one of the two bat houses Treadwell built for the society. — Lauren Collins photo

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

When Brown Property Preservation Society president Tom Whitfield put a call out for someone to build two bat houses for the Heritage Forest, Chris Treadwell immediately volunteered.

Except Treadwell thought he was making birdhouses.

The Brown Property Preservation Society, which manages the Heritage Forest in Qualicum Beach, started a project last year to provide additional habitats for bats in the forest. Whitfield said bats are experiencing a decline in North America due to white-nose syndrome, a fungi that has decimated the population.

According to the BC Community Bat Program, white-nose syndrome is harmless to humans, but is “responsible for the deaths of millions of insect-eating bats.” It was first detected in Washington State in March, 2016.

As of March, 2018, BC Community Bat Program states no white-nose syndrome has been reported in the province, but Whitfield said it could potentially spread to the Island.

In May of 2017, the society decided to have two bat houses built to monitor bat activity. However, Treadwell said he thought he was being asked to make bird houses, which he thought wouldn’t be that difficult.

But a week later, Treadwell said, he discovered he had offered to make bat houses.

Whitfield said he researched what is required for suitable bat habitat and found the rocket box design. The bat house has four chambers, he said, which will allow the bats access from the lower edge. There are slats cut in the wood every three-quarters of an inch to allow the bats to crawl up.

The bat houses, Whitfield said, need to be in the open so the bats can find them.

“If we put that house in that forest, they’re never going to find it because they’re flying around in the open looking for bugs.”

The society, with the help of the Town of Qualicum Beach, had one of the two bat houses installed last week, just outside of the Heritage Forest along Hemsworth Road. The second bat house will be installed in the forest in the meadow area.

Cam Purdon, town superintendent of public works, parks and buildings, said the total cost of the bat houses, the concrete pads and the poles is about $2,000. The Brown Property Preservation Society paid for the two houses, which cost $250.

Whitfield said the society will monitor the houses over time to see if any bats show up.

“We’ll know (if there are bats) because we’ll see the poop droppings over time,” he said. “It could take up to 10 years for bats to show up and use that.”

Send story tips:

Just Posted

Single-use retail plastic bags to be banned in Parksville March 1

Over the next few months, the city will undertake public education outreach

Retail pot business interest in Parksville

City gets two referrals for licences; QB expected to have first cannabis store soon

Motorcyclist collides with bear in Coombs

The man was transported to hospital

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land for expansion

Shots fired at Vancouver Island house during fight

Shots were fired at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in 500 block of Kennedy Street, say Nanaimo RCMP

‘Aquaman’ star Jason Momoa spotted around Campbell River

Actor, best known for his role in ‘Game of Thrones’, is in town to film television series ‘See’

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Most Read