RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City’s Urban Wildlife Committee is working with a bat expert and city park officials to construct three bat maternity roost boxes within the Rapid Creek Greenway.

The bat population is declining in the Black Hills, and the bat house effort is aimed at helping perpetuate the flying mammals, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2dQ727G ).

“Bats are very much in decline, but they are good things to have around,” said bat expert Joel Tigner of Batworks, a private biological consulting business specializing in bats and bat habitat who has been advising the city committee. “They eat night-flying insects, many of which are agricultural and forestry pests, as well as mosquitoes, and this is an opportunity to provide them with habitat designed specifically for their needs.”

A bat can consume up to 1,000 small insects per hour and can eat their body weight in a single day, according to Urban Wildlife Committee Chairman Jim Good.

The 4-foot-tall bat houses will be built by the city Parks Department and installed on 24-foot-tall posts in the Greenway, away from high-traffic areas. They’ll be used seasonally by bats that hibernate in more remote locations during the winter.

The city hopes to have them in place by spring.

“These houses will provide alternate roosting habitat in an area where (bats) already are,” Tigner said.

Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com