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Horn Lake Adding More Houses to Entice Bats, Combat Mosquitoes

Last month Horn Lake installed its first bat house. Now even more homes are in the works for the nocturnal creatures. The city is hoping if they build them the bats will come and West Nile cases will drop.
HORN LAKE, MS (abc24.com) - More of them are coming to the neighborhood. Last month Horn Lake installed its first bat house. Now even more homes are in the works for the nocturnal creatures. The city is hoping if they build them the bats will come and West Nile cases will drop.

More bats mean fewer mosquitoes since they eat the bugs. The first bat house went up in Latimer Lakes Park at the beginning of October. Soon there will be three.

One hundred bats can fit in each tiny wooden box. The city is hoping they'll make the bat house their new home.

A resident gave one to the city; the next two are coming from the Mississippi Bat Working Group.

"We live right here in Horn Lake not too far from Latimer," says George Grady. "My mom moved there in 1985 and we've been seeing bats since we moved."

Residents say the idea's a strange one -- "for mosquitoes or something," says Kristy Rakestraw.

But if they do help cut down on mosquitoes, and the diseases they carry, then the more houses the merrier.

"It's the thought that's worse than anything," Rakestraw says. "They're nocturnal so I wouldn't think it would be any kind of an issue as far as daytime goes."

Bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes a night. The city's hoping a colony of bats will move in. Females live separately from males, which is why more than one house is needed.

"Once the colony is established we are going forward with a monthly bat watch. It will be at dusk on a Friday," says Carson Culver with Horn Lake's library.

"Kids would love it," Grady says. "We're country folks. We're just used to it."

By putting the houses up now, it gives bats time to discover where the houses are located. The city hopes to notice a difference with a drop in West Nile cases by next summer.
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