110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Nonprofit Fly By Night helps manage the bats
posted Feb 4, 2014 - 11:01:08pm
Laura and Tom Finn of the Osteen nonprofit Fly By Night Inc. installed bat house No. 2 on Artisan Alley Feb. 1.
"Every time you install a bat house, you may be preventing a colony from getting into someone's house," Laura Finn noted.
The Finns are experts in bat protection and conservation. They travel all over the Southeastern United States helping people manage bat colonies.
Bat house No. 1 was installed on Artisan Alley by the Finns in July 2009, after a massive colony of bats was (very gently) evicted with the Finns' help from the 9,000-square-foot attic of the Conrad Property building. The building at 110-116 W. New York Ave. in Downtown DeLand houses The West Volusia Beacon newspaper, along with several other local businesses.
Watch the bat house go up!
Tom Finn builds these 1,000-seat bat houses, and he perfected his bat-house installation technique while helping NASA control the bat population at Kennedy Space Center. So, as Tom says, this bat house installation is designed by rocket scientists!
First, Tom digs a 4-foot deep hole, then he installs a galvanized pipe in the hole, deep in the earth. The bat house, with its hollow pole, is slipped over the first pipe, and cement is added to firm things up.
"It's a labor of love," Tom Finn said.
He and his wife are devoted to educating people about bats and about their importance in the environment.
Bat house No. 1 has a colony of several hundred bats and has become something of a tourist attraction in Downtown DeLand, as visitors often come at about dusk to enjoy a glass of wine or beer at Nest (104 S. Artisan Alley) while watching the colony fly out of their house for a nightly bug-eating adventure.
The Artisan Alley colony is just one of a few colonies of free-tail bats in Downtown DeLand. While we often credit the bats for keeping Downtown free of mosquitoes — and these bats do eat mosquitoes — Laura Finn said moths are actually their preferred cuisine.
All are welcome to visit Artisan Alley — also home to Roses and Gargoyles plant boutique, Renie's Retreat aesthetic center and Dally in the Alley resturant — to see how long it takes for the new bat house to be occupied.
The nightly fly-out occurs just when it gets barely dark ... about the time your dusk-to-dawn lights come on.
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