The RDOS is currently investigating mosquito control near Max Lake through the installation of bat boxes and swallow houses. The following is an update from Zoe Kirk, the RDOS Public Works Project Coordinator:
This year, the RDOS is embarking on a partnership opportunity to help reduce the mosquito population in that area. The Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS) has generously provided up to 8 Swallow (bird) boxes and a large bat colony box, capable of holding up to 300 bats. The swallow boxes will be mounted on posts or trees in the covenant area during the annual Max Lake Clean Up Day on Saturday June 6th. Swallows will quickly take possession of the boxes and begin to eat pesky mosquitos. However, it can take bats up to three years to establish a strong colony, thus the reason behind this two pronged approach to natural integrated pest management.
RDOS Mosquito Control crew will be onsite to help place the boxes, and conduct a follow-up monitoring program to see if or how much of an impact the birds and bats have on mosquito populations.
Update 9 Sep 2015: Here is the latest from Zoe on the bat boxes and swallow boxes. As you will appreciate, these measures do not work overnight (if indeed they have a measurable impact at all). It will take time for populations of bats and birds to establish themselves. Bats in particular are apparently very picky about where they live (height, orientation to the sun, and so on). But we are hopeful that the birds and bats will take up residence in Max Lake by the spring of 2016 and be feasting on mosquitos around the clock.
The last action item for the RDOS Mosquito Control folks was to go out and place a bat box on the property right across from the Max Lake Covenant area (with permission from the land owner).
We could not get it as high as we would have liked, as the structure was not stable enough at the peak, so it is as high as they could get on the building. We still have one more box left, which I would like to get quite a bit higher on the structure or in some trees close by.
The swallow boxes along the covenant fences seem to be doing well, and all are still there!