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: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Genre-hopping harpist, singer to perform in Parksville

Musician on a quest to demystify harp playing GZAL on Jan. 24

Councillor has concerns about Qualicum Beach pot shop decision

Debate over location, public consultation and timing continues, though commitment already made

Oceanside RCMP arrest man wanted on several outstanding warrants

Hudson David Klassen, 26, picked up in Parksville

Qualicum Beach ‘Seniors Scene’ columnist remembered

Roy Jones described as caring father, energetic seniors’ centre member

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Parksville addictions treatment advocate to speak in Port Alberni

Recovering addict Kelly seeks to share more of her story with second event

Truck convoy honouring Nanaimo boy who died after being struck by vehicle

Trucks left from Victoria and others joined along the way up the Island

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Most Read