Applications are being accepted through Jan. 7 for deluxe bat habitats, which Dylan Williams of the Sharon Heights Community Association hopes to place in each of the nine Clintonville Area Commission districts.

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 7 for deluxe bat habitats, which Dylan Williams of the Sharon Heights Community Association hopes to place in each of the nine Clintonville Area Commission districts.

If sites are found that meet the criteria, the occupants of the bat boxes would consume a ton of insects over the course of a summer.

That's a lot of bugs.

"We can cover Clintonville in bat protection," Williams said at the Nov. 5 meeting of the CAC.

Bats are an ecologically sound and economically sensible alternative to the spraying of insecticides, he said. Their diet consists of moths, wasps, beetles, gnats, mosquitoes, midges and mayflies, according to a fact sheet presented at the meeting.

The bat boxes the Sharon Heights Community Association is offering were produced by Chandler Frenken of the Upper Arlington community as part of an Eagle Scout project last summer.

Williams said the 16-year-old youth approached the association about using bats to control insects due to a problem with standing water at Sharon Meadows Park. From the pictures Frenken showed him, Williams thought the proposed bat boxes would be on the small side.

So, he told area commission members and those in the audience, he was more than a little surprised when Frenken's father delivered the dozen bat boxes his son had crafted and they turned out to weigh 35 pounds each. They're made of cedar and even have shingles on the roof.

"This is like the Crowne Plaza, Four Seasons of bat boxes," Williams said.

Comparable bat boxes for sale online cost around $275, according to the fact sheet, but Frenken raised funds to cover the cost.

Each of the boxes is designed to provide a home for 100 to 150 bats. The boxes have both roosting and breeding chambers.

In order to qualify for the bat habitats, a site must be within a quarter-mile of a body of water; have no overhead power lines or trees within 25 feet; face south or southeast; and have no nearby large artificial lights.

In response to a question from the audience, Williams said bats are the most common source of animal-to-human transmission of rabies.

However, he said, that amounts to only 13 cases in the past 25 years, the majority of which involved someone picking up a sick or dying bat that had gotten into their home.

"That's natural selection," Williams said.

If properly installed, he added, the bat boxes have an 83 percent success rate for occupancy during the first year.

Those interested in providing a site for the bat boxes should contact their CAC representatives or reach out to Williams by email at sharoncommunity@gmail.com.

Williams said he hopes to have all nine sites approved by the February commission meeting, with installation complete by the end of March.