Bats in the Belfry

Image result for batsEach summer bats take up residence near the entrance to the club house. They are here again this summer. People are expressing concern so I have taken some information from the Arizona Game and Fish website.

Arizona is home to 28 species of bats, more than almost any other state. Bats are the only true flying mammals and are valuable human allies. They are primary predators of vast numbers of insect pests.

Although bats play key roles in keeping insect populations in balance, they are North America’s most rapidly declining land mammals. Declines are often caused by human fear and persecution, and each of us can help by learning how to live with these animals.

While some people appreciate bats and the ways they benefit us, others fear bats because a small percentage of them can expose humans and pets to rabies. Bats should always be kept out of places where people live indoors. Bat guano (feces) can present disease and odor problems. However, bats are generally harmless to humans and are extremely beneficial for controlling insects and mosquitoes and pollinating some plants. Bats are vulnerable to disturbances by people because of their roosting habits and slow reproductive rate.

If bats are in an area, it is probably because they are finding food, water or shelter.

  • Food can include insects that congregate in areas near lights, agricultural or playing fields, ponds or other water sources. Nectar-feeding bats may be attracted to flowering agaves and hummingbird feeders.
  • Water sources can include any pool, pond or lake with a long flying corridor that bats can skim.
  • Shelter can include rough surfaces for hanging. A bump of only 1/16 inch is enough. Bats can squeeze into holes as small as 3/8 inch and are attracted to spaces inside buildings and attics, under bridges, in culverts, behind siding on buildings, in palm trees, and under eaves and porch or patio awnings.

Bats should never be allowed to remain in human living areas. However, bats roosting on the porch, in the yard, or in a bat house are far more beneficial than harmful, and the small amount of guano can be cleaned up or used as fertilizer, in exchange for the reduction in flying insects and mosquitoes.

All bats in Arizona are protected and cannot be collected or killed. Proper exclusions may be performed where necessary.

  • It is unlawful to use pesticides or other chemicals directly on bats.
  • Bat exclusions should be done only with the advice of the Arizona Game and Fish Department or a wildlife control business, and should not be attempted during the maternity season (generally May through September) to avoid separating mothers from their young.

On a lighter note, if you don’t want the problem of mosquitoes, befriend the bats. Also, put on a mask and some gloves and gather the guano for your gardens. You can find instructions on the internet on how to apply it.  It could also become an income stream for the RSA!

Advertisements

Bear Sightings and Dog Poo

Image result for dog pooThere have been reports of bears visiting the Village several times recently. One was seen roaming in the Festival area and one at the entrance to Elk Trot Loop. This is a reminder to keep a distance and no matter how strong the urge, please don’t turn and run. Those guys can move very fast so make some noise when you see them. If you have a dog, maybe it will bark and help with the noise.

Speaking of dogs, there have also been lots of sightings of dog poo. Please be a good neighbor and pick up after your animal. There are bags available so please take advantage of this service. Responsible pet owners and people without pets are getting irritable about seeing and smelling the mess. It’s a tight community with people living very close together. Anything you can do to make life easier is greatly appreciated.

Bubonic Plague

Image result for prairie dog cartoon imagesA recent article in the White Mountain Independent addressed a prairie dog die-off in the Concho and Taylor areas as a result of fleas hosting bubonic plague. A Village resident wondered if there should be concern because Taylor is only twenty miles away. I don’t have the answer to that question and we can never be too careful.

A bright spot is that most outbreaks occur in the prairie dog population. Prairie dogs usually live at a little lower elevation with not as many pine trees as are in the Village. Plague outbreaks have been reported many times over the years and it would be wise to stay vigilant.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has a downloadable flyer about the various forms of the plague. Who knew there were actually three?

According to the article in the Independent and the CDC flyer, humans are most likely to contract plague from their pets. Apparently, agitated fleas have killed their hosts and are looking for a replacement and sometimes light on an unsuspecting dog or cat.

From the CDC flyer: Treat dogs and cats for fleas regularly and take sick pets to the veterinarian promptly.

The Independent mentions not letting your pet sleep in your bed. The article further states “If you think you have been bitten by a flea and develop flu-like symptoms, see a doctor promptly. Plague is easily treated with antibiotics but can rapidly develop into a serious illness if left untreated.”

You can read both the CDC flyer and the Independent article online. Arm yourself with information and be safe.

BOCCE BALL COURT UPDATE

Image result for bocce ball imagesCourtesy of Ray Hedlund – Advisory Committee Chairman

There have been many questions and rumors about the Bocce Ball court. It is ready for play!

To help inform all, here are some details you may find of interest:

  1. This court was constructed by a professional experienced in building these units
  2. There is a complete drainage system installed in the under fill of the unit. It is not a water pit.
  3. It is specifically designed to handle the rain and snow and drain away as fast as possible the water that may be left from a heavy rain.
  4. The court is finished with professional grade material and its final top coat is crushed oyster shells. It’s what the pros use.
  5. Oyster shells are designed to allow drainage and provide a smooth roll of the ball. They are not designed to be layered thickly onto the rolling surface.
  6. The court is tamped down firmly and from time to time you may see black under material surface. This is not a cause to pour an additional layer of oyster shells as its increasing thickness will result in a slow and harder to throw rolling of the ball.
  7. When you see a black spot and between games, players should use the rake/brush (hanging on the pavilion wall) and drag the court to a level, flat playing surface.
  8. The proper etiquette is to NOT WALK on the playing surface during a game. Only those playing should be on the court.
  9. We have some additional bags that are still on back order for touch up purposes as time goes by. It is not intended to add a major thickness to the rolling surface. We will store these and use as required.
  10. The string rope lights have been removed. They have proven to be a questionable feature. The sticky backing has not stuck. The rake has knocked it down and in one case broke the string. Their return is questionable at this time. Lighting was a bonus feature and not originally in the plan.
  11. The surrounding rock area was designed so that golf carts could be driven close by and used for seating of spectators and possibly lighting if needed.
  12. There were originally some rocks at the near end toward the club house that was discovered after play was started and they have been dug out and removed and stacked by the trees. If you want to see just how big a rock can be, take a look at these.
  13. The existing brand new benches have been moved several times now. They are heavy and are not truly designed to be moved to shade so my suggestion is to stand in the shade of a tree when not rolling and use when they are shade covered.
  14. The Activities committee had tried to originate a BB captain and in fact had two lesson meetings. They are now looking to find a person to organize and undertake a BB plan. Anyone interested?
  15. The Bocce balls themselves are in the library. The rules are laminated inside the case for anyone to play. I suggest for now, that all interested go down and check this sport out. This is a fun senior sport that is sweeping the valley. Bring a friend or another couple with you to try this out. Early morning or late afternoon or dinner is probably the best time to play.

Clubhouse Rumor

Image result for rumorSomeone just posted a question asking if the club house is rented or being purchased along with the land under it. This is not meant to poke fun at the questioner, but this actually made me laugh out loud. One can only guess where such rumors start? Perhaps there is not enough excitement and the Activities Committee should be tasked with hosting more events.

When the clubhouse was built, the funds came from a mortgage. The Recreational Subdivision Association (RSA) could not qualify for the mortgage so it was secured by the developer. In August of 2005 a lease was created between the developer and the RSA in order to repay the mortgage. The lease is a twenty-year instrument and at the end of the lease, the RSA can exercise its option to purchase the clubhouse for the whopping sum of one dollar.

The lease functions just like any other lease agreement in the State of Arizona. The lease gives all rights to use the premises to the RSA. The clubhouse cannot be rented or sold. The ground under the clubhouse isn’t in danger of being sold and neither is the festival area. All of this is the common area that is for the use and enjoyment of all RSA members and their guests.