Bat House: Space For 50,000 New Residents In Molino

September 30, 2015

There could soon be 50,000 new residents in Molino, thanks to Navy Federal and Escambia County 4-H.

Tuesday, crews from Navy Federal Credit Union’s general contractor Hensel Phelps Construction Company installed a bat house on its new foundation on the Escambia County 4-H property on Chalker Road in Molino.

According to UF IFAS Extension Agent Carrie Stevenson, the bat house was originally built in 2010 on the former 4-H property located on West Nine Mile Road in Beulah. The property was sold to Navy Federal Credit Union in 2012, but leaders with the financial institution committed to relocating the bat house.

The original bat house was funded by the Florida and Escambia County 4-H Foundations and has enabled thousands of children and their families to learn the ecological benefits of bats.

“We are very excited to be part of this process,” said Debbie Calder, executive vice president of Navy Federal’s Greater Pensacola Operations. “The bat house was a unique feature of the 4-H property and we are glad we could work with Hensel Phelps and the Escambia County 4-H to make sure this structure could continue to serve both as a home for wildlife and as an educational tool for local children.”

Originally, materials for the house cost about $4,500 and the building was constructed for free by Rick Jones and his students in the Pensacola State College carpentry program. The relocation of the bat house was made possible by Navy Federal, Hensel Phelps Construction and the donation of new poles by Gulf Power Company.

“I was thrilled when Navy Federal approached me about moving the bat house up to the new property,” said Carrie Stevenson, who specializes in educational outreach on sustainable land use. “This will be a tremendous resource for 4-H’ers and other members of the community to learn more about local wildlife. We hope that it can become as populated as the large bat house on the UF campus in Gainesville.”

The bat house was designed to provide shelter for up to 50,000 bats. The structure also serves to educate local youth about the important role bats play in the environment and how they make good neighbors.  Contrary to popular culture references, “vampire bats” do not live in the United States, and native bats help control insect populations can fly at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, she said.

Stevenson said no bats were relocated or displaced by the move. She said the bats that had called the house home in Beulah had abandoned it because of lights and construction on new Navy Federal buildings.

Pictured top and inset: The installation of Escambia County 4-H’s bat house in Molino on Monday. Pictured below: Looking up inside the  bat house and “chambers” designed to house the bats. Photos for, click to enlarge.


12 Responses to “Bat House: Space For 50,000 New Residents In Molino”

  1. Don on October 1st, 2015 5:12 am

    I come into an encounter with my first bat a few years back while getting some firewood for our fireplace I removed a log and there lay a bat spread our like Dracula!! it hissed at me through pointed teeth and my wife said I screamed like a little girl as I ran away haha…I had never seen one other than t.v…I called the wildlife sancutuary of n.w Fl and they laughed at me too.I was instructed to place it in a small box and bring it to them but it had thankfully flown away on my return..amen.

  2. Citizen on September 30th, 2015 11:52 am

    I hope it does become populated also. I like to see bats at sunset. Keeping natural wooded areas free from feral cats is another cheaper option. Good to educate people though. I’d much rather see a bat than a mosquito.

  3. Retired on September 30th, 2015 11:42 am

    Do bats go into these? It does look clean inside. I’ve bought a bat house before and they didn’t use it. Good idea though. I think the best practice is to continue to learn about wildlife and not destroy all habitat. Learn to leave a dead tree and some natural growth in backyard and areas.

  4. Mike on September 30th, 2015 11:27 am

    Molino is pretty batty anyway, so these critters will blend right in! (Joke) :)

    The spellchecker thinks Molino is wrong, hehe.

  5. Molino Resident on September 30th, 2015 11:27 am

    Thank God it’s for bats! When I read 50,000 new residents, my heart skipped a beat! LOL

  6. Ellen on September 30th, 2015 10:47 am

    Thank you for looking out for bats and providing them such a wonderful place to live. I hope this article is far-reaching and inspires bat houses to be built lots of other places too!

  7. EMD on September 30th, 2015 9:43 am

    Thank you so much Navy Federal, Hensel Phelps Construction and Gulf Power Company, and anyone else who helped make this possible. I have been using NFCU for about 40 years and am very impressed and pleased with how they treat people; employees, customers and the public. Kudos to them.

  8. Molino, FL resident on September 30th, 2015 9:18 am

    This is great. I would love to see more bat houses to help combat the mosquito problems we have in Escambia County. Such a great alternative to poisons being sprayed.

  9. Golden Girl on September 30th, 2015 9:05 am

    It is very refreshing to read this story about the bats being accomodated instead of displaced! Kudos to all involved.

  10. jeeperman on September 30th, 2015 6:24 am

    Did they replace all of the interior components also?
    Looks extremely clean there ever was a bat using it, anywhere.

  11. Jane on September 30th, 2015 5:48 am

    Bats are a wonderful alternative to pesticides and eat HUGE numbers of insects. They are always welcome around my house!

  12. Gman on September 30th, 2015 5:32 am

    Hats off to Navy Federal and all others involved.

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