A High-Rise for Bats Is a Natural Pesticide Program

Bats are better known for their blood-sucking, vampire-morphing qualities than they are for their ability to help humans. But according to University at Buffalo professor Joyce Hwang, they're some of the most vital animals in our ecosystem: The flying mammals are natural pest-control teams—effective predators of potentially harmful but mostly annoying insects like mosquitoes—and also manage to pollinate flowers. So Hwang designed the Bat Tower, a structure that would encourage bats to concentrate their pest-fighting skills in a specific area.

The 12-foot bat apartment building is filled with tiny crevices made from plywood and dimensional lumber and was constructed with Hwang's students. The dark wood panels on the roof of the structure heat up in the sun to provide a warm, dark place for bats to go after dusk. The team also planted spicy herbs like chives and oregano that would attract bats to the area (maybe the whole garlic-warding-off-vampires isn't exactly right).


If you think the Bat Tower looks more like a piece of art than a bat high-rise, you're right. The structure is actually a piece of sculpture, part of Griffis Sculpture Park in upstate New York. Hwang received a $10,000 grant from New York State Council on the Arts to address her specific statement on the relationship between architecture and ecology.

The structure will be dedicated on October 2 and if all goes well, the bats will be moved in by Halloween. But even if bats don't take a liking to it right away, the Bat Tower does serve as a valuable piece of bat PR, educating people that the flying mammals are indeed a valuable part of the local ecosystem. In fact, says Hwang, bats are suffering from something called white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease which scientists have been unable to explain. It may have something to do with toxins—which could, ironically, possibly be related to pesticides—in the caves they hibernate in.

As she waits for her bat friends to move in, Hwang is working on other architectural ways to draw bats close to our homes, like a Pest Wall that would work vertically on the outside of a building, or a Pest Pavilion, an entire building with crevices around the exterior to attract our new favorite neighbors. For those in the area, a Bat Tower dedication and hike is scheduled for October 2.


For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

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A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

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A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

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via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

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