Bat boxes wage war on mosquitoes in Poland

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The Independent Online

Instead of using insecticides, a village in Poland has bet on "bat boxes" to attract the insect-consuming flying mammals in a bid to wage war on swarms of mosquitoes driving local residents batty.

Authorities in the southern Polish village of Lelow have distributed about 50 wooden "bat boxes" to residents for the symbolic fee of five zlotys (1.21 euros, 1.5 dollars) each, village head Jerzy Szydlowski told AFP.

"The small species of bats can sleep there and at the same time eat mosquitoes. One small bat is able to eat even 2,000 mosquitoes per day," Szydlowski explained.

The mosquito population in many areas of Poland soared in the wake of major flooding which devastated the country in May and June.

Szydlowski, himself a nature-lover, hopes that this ecological method of insect-control will allow to the village to avoid resorting to chemical products to fight hoards of mosquitoes.

The wooden "bat boxes"were built according to the advice of bat experts, who also say it will take about a year before residents will start feeling their benefits.

Szydlowski also hopes the project will help preserve Poland's bat population which is dwindling due to shrinking natural habitat.

Bats, the only mammals able to fly, are a protected species in Europe.