More bat-boxes for Milan's parks

Less than a year after the start of the programme, 100 new bat-boxes are to be mounted on trees in Milan’s parks to join the 400 already encouraging the bat population to come and nest.
Monitoring the previous installation showed a success rate which is normally not expected in less than two or three years, say satisfied city officials.
“Bats are our allies against mosquitoes,” said councillor Pierfrancesco Maran, reporting on progress, “alongside traditional disinfestation methods across the city.  That’s why we’ve chosen to go down this road, for an integrated fight against the insects that respects the environment and still guarantees good results for residents.”
The new “refuges” for the flying bug-zappers were donated to the city by the supermarket chain Coop, and extend the boxes already installed, which were made by inmates of Monza jail through the help of the prisoners’ aid cooperative EX-it.  And another 50 bat-boxes have been made by children at the Ghiffa and Vaciago holiday homes, and mounted in their schools.
City work squads have already started this year’s cycle of spraying to kill the insects in the larva stage, which they calculate has a 90 per cent success rate.  Bats alone cannot keep the bug population down, because they are nocturnal animals, while the striped “tiger mosquito”, which arrived recently in Italy from South-East Asia, is active also in  daytime.
The spray teams cover some 125,000 street manholes, plus another 10,000 in schools, administrative buildings and cemeteries.  Up until late October they will carry out seven four-week cycles of insecticide operations.
And for residents who want to disinfect their own terraces or gardens, the Comune has made supplies of specific anti-mosquito insecticide available in the city pharmacies.

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