Long Island town enlisting bats in war against Zika-carrying mosquitoes

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Lauren Glassberg has the latest details.

The town of North Hempstead has turned to a new line of defense in its battle against mosquitoes: bats.

If you look around the community, you may see bat boxes in several parks that are being used to attract mosquitoes.

"We're rolling out the welcome mat to bats in North Hempstead," said Judi Bosworth, who is encouraging the nearly quarter million residents in North Hempstead to embrace bats.
Because bats eat mosquitoes, lots of them. As many as a thousand an hour.

And with the fear of Zika-carrying mosquitos, bats are a preemptive strike.

"We are looking for some out of the box ways to control our mosquito population," said Judi.

And by out of the box she really means in the box. Bat boxes are perfect for bats to call home.

And preferable to your attic or shutters. They give bats a place to breed.

There are 20 already up at the Clark Botanic Garden.

Some older ones will be replaced and more will go in other parks as well.

"The name of the game is no chemicals, and just a natural method to deal with this," said North Hempstead's deputy parks commissioner John Darcy.

So far there are no Zika-carrying mosquitoes anywhere in our area and they may never come, but authorities say it doesn't hurt to have the bat boxes.

After all some mosquitoes may still carry West Nile virus and no one likes mosquitoes. The more bats, the fewer mosquitoes.

"If you're here for a concert or a walk, you're not going to be constantly eaten alive, it really adds up," said Darcy.

The town also offers a how-to video on making your own bat box and don't worry, very few bats carry rabies.

"We know that we want to do whatever we can to control the mosquito population," said Bosworth.
Related Topics:
newsmosquitozika viruslong island newsHempstead
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