Bats: Natural Pest Eliminators
For years, bats have gotten a bad rap. These mammals are one of the most misunderstood species, resulting in unfair and irrational fears that include unpleasant ideas that involve drinking blood, rabies transmission, hair tangling and references to “flying mice.” Put all of your fears aside: bats are a wildly important part of the ecosystem and are “natural” pest eliminators.
The Downfalls of Toxic Chemicals
In recent years, bats have also been identified as a natural way to keep mosquito populations under control. The widespread use of toxic chemicals has often disrupted natural ecosystems; unfortunately, toxic chemicals are toxic to all insect species — even the beneficial types. Chemicals can also have adverse effects within other systems such as water systems. What’s worse, pesticides can cause mosquitoes to develop resistance to them, resulting in greater populations of these unwanted pests.
Benefits of Bats
Because mosquitoes have no real “evasive action” and they are easy to catch, bats often prefer mosquitoes over other insects. University of Michigan noted that one brown myotis bat (Myotis lucifungus) can catch up to 1,000 insects in one hour. Additionally, large bat colonies that were studied have been calculated to capture 50 tons of insects annually — and 15 tons of mosquitoes. The Center for Biological Diversity has noted that the economic impact of bats is profound: bats have provided non-toxic pest control services that total about $3.7 billion to $53 billion per year.
Bats & Species’ “Rough Patch”
Unfortunately, in addition to bats’ unfair reputations over the years, bats have hit a bit of a species “rough patch” in the past several years. Biodiversity loss threatens entire bat ecosystems and a loss of suitable hibernation caves have caused mosquito-eating bats to die out entirely in certain areas. Pesticide use has had a detrimental effect on bats. In addition, an accidentally introduced fungus has caused the death of millions of bats, causing “Pseudogymnoascus destructans,” or “white-nose syndrome.”
Bat Houses & Bat Roosts
Many areas have introduced bat houses, or bat “roosts,” to encourage bat populations. These structures can be erected in areas where bats have been known to already use old buildings. These houses must be tightly sealed (bats don’t like drafty or leaky homes) and must have an overall size of at least 24-inches tall by 14-inches wide. Entry landings and roosting area surfaces must be roughened to provide secure footing for the bats, and roosting spaces need to be about 3/4” wide.
Four chamber houses have proven to be the most attractive for colonies. Further, black is the best color for cooler climates; light or medium-brown work best in hot climates. Successful bat homes are located within ¼-mile of a water source: a lake, pond or stream. They must be about 10-15 feet above the ground. The largest artificial roosts have attracted up to 250,000 or more bats — which is a lot of mosquito control!
In addition to introducing bat houses into your area, you can contact the highly trained professionals at MosquitoNix. We offer extensive mosquito and pest control services that fit your busy and active life. Choose from our mosquito control treatments, misting systems, portable mosquito control as well as our all-natural green services. Our licensed technicians are available to answer any questions you may have, so contact us today! We offer free estimates and free consultations to find out if MosquitoNix services are right for you.
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Probably the last thing in the world that residents of the Houston, Texas, area would like are more bugs. Harris County already has one of the worst mosquito problems in the nation. The warm, humid climate is a prime breeding ground for the dangerous insects, and it’s been made worse recently by weather that’s even warmer and wetter than usual.