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Batty Manteca High assignment out of the box
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Cam Groves and Danika Kelly display a bat box they built together in Manteca High’s wood shop Ag Mechanics class. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

Manteca High woodshop teacher David Gillingwater’s students are going a bit batty with their latest project.

The students are constructing bat boxes to help in the fight against deadly West Nile Virus carrying mosquitos. Bats are an effective way at keeping the mosquito population under control. One small brown bat can eat 60 medium-sized moths or over 1,000 mosquito-size insects in one night.

 The boxes about 12 by 14 inches in size have a two-inch horizontal opening at the top of the boxes with one-inch square posts running up the inside back of the enclosures for the bats to hang on as they sleep.  Bats are often considered as something to be feared but as Gillingwater explained to his class, the mosquitos often are the greater danger with the spread of West Nile Virus.

The class made up mostly of boys meets regularly in their classroom just off the shop area.  Gillingwater taught at East Union High School’s wood shop for many years prior to his retirement. He was brought back into teaching to substitute for an ailing shop teacher.

Nearly a dozen boxes stood on a work bench after the green paint dried. They are ready for placement in barns or on trees in areas frequented the most by mosquitos.

To contact Glenn Kahl, email