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JULY 2017 Newsletter July 2017



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Ethical bat exclusions


After attending a 5 day course on structural pest management provided by PCITA, an accredited service provider with Agrisita, it was abundantly clear that although bats are protected by law, they are not protected by many pest control companies. After listening to horror stories of bat pups being “dropped” into the veld, being sprayed with ammonia, being taken home to be raised by friends, we decided, although we couldn't change the law, we could create a “best practice” guideline and implement it.


Bats do sometimes come into conflict with man. Bats in the ceiling can become problematic. There are times, when they are not breeding or hibernating, when bats can be excluded. Bat houses can and should - as a matter of course - be placed strategically to minimise disturbance. These are some of the considerations required to achieve “Best Practice”.


We are very proud to announce that EcoSolutions is the now fully permitted by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural development (GDARD) to ethically exclude bats from buildings in Gauteng. At this stage, we are also the ONLY permitted company accredited by GDARD to undertake bat exclusions in Gauteng.




Bats are a valuable environmental asset, voraciously consuming pesky mosquitoes and other bugs. What do you do when they have chosen your roof in which to live? You CAN achieve a harmonious balance.

Alexandra Owl 








After the success of Alexandra Owl Day 2016, the children from the participating schools decided to go bigger in 2017. Instead of just painting owl pictures on the owl box cutouts, they decided to make owls from their wooden inserts and then paint them. These owl works will be displayed as a mobile at the Birdlife SA BirdFair on September the 9th and 10th 2017. As an NPO we rely solely on donations and sponsorship for our educational programmes. To help fund these initiatives, please follow our Give and Gain link here.



Getting the most from your owl house.


One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from prospective and excited participants regarding their new owl box is: “How long before we have owls?”


15 years along and this is still a question that we are unable to answer. What we can tell you is based on the 100 plus EcoSolutions owl boxes that are serviced and occupied nationally. We have experienced owls occupying owl boxes within two weeks from the installation date, however, this is far from the norm. The large majority of our occupied owl boxes have taken anything from 2 - 5 years before occupancy occurs. That is the reality of it, you could be waiting for 5 years for occupancy to occur; that is if you experience occupancy at all.


The most important component of an owl box is not it's design, it's colour or even it's location. It is the substrate within the box. This substrate allows owls to form a ''cup'' in which to lay their eggs and raise their young. Without annual substrate replacement, the box is not an owl box - it will not be used by owls and is really just a box high up in your tree.



Owl Box Service


Why does my owl box need to be serviced annually and the substrate replaced?


Owl boxes are designed to replicate a cavity in a tree. Although South Africa's urban centres are well treed, the majority of the trees are alive and unlike dead trees, do not have natural cavities. As a result, your owl box will attract the attention and fill the requirements for many cavity breeding and roosting residents. It is fine for squirrels, Egyptian geese, Genets and other birds to use it out of season. However, these usurpers bring sticks, paper, litter and all sorts of things into the box. Unless these are removed, owls will not utilise your owl box to breed in.


Once a year, prior to the owl breeding season, EcoSolutions undertakes to clean out the box and replace the substrate necessary for owl occupation. In addition, your annual service allows us to check that the box is still firmly attached, provide it with a new coat of varnish and make sure that the bee proofing is still intact. Additionally, the service component allows us to seamlessly introduce improved designs, greater expertise and understanding into our programme. If our data reveals that a specific orientation is optimum for successful occupancy, we will implement this during your annual service.


Booking your owl box service is easy. Just click here.

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