Have you noticed your neighbors putting up some extra large and extra high birdhouses recently? Seems weird right? Actually, they aren’t birdhouses at all, they are bat houses. It makes a little more sense now doesn’t it, especially the height. But why are they doing it? Although technically bats aren’t rodents they kind of seem like them, so who wants more of those? You might once we tell you that bats eat mosquitoes and it’s possible that they eat quite a lot of them.
Mother Nature Network reports research has shown bats to eat up to 10 mosquitoes per minute in a controlled study. (That is 600 mosquitoes in an hour!) Small brown bats are believed to eat up to 100 flying insects a night, though they may not all be mosquitoes.
The Case for Protecting Bats
With such a variety of numbers, a research group lead by Amy Wray, a doctoral student in forest and wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wanted to know more. They visited 22 colonies of large and small brown bats across farm and wild land in Wisconsin, collecting droppings to analyze for mosquito DNA. What they found made a strong case for bats as tools in mosquito control. In the small brown bat colonies, 100% of the droppings collected carried mosquito DNA. In the large bat colonies, 60% of the droppings carried mosquito DNA. They were also able to identify 9 types of mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus, the most harmful mosquito-borne illness to humans in the United States.
Wray says that more research is required to understand completely how this affects humans and if bats really have an effect on suppressing mosquito populations, but the study does appear to show bats eat more mosquitoes more frequently than previously thought. All of this is a strong case for continued research as well as conservation of the bats themselves. With the loss of habitat and increased disease, the number of bats in existence is being threatened globally. Considering the disease threat that mosquitoes carry, if bats are a viable option in control it would serve humanity well to focus on preserving them.
Immediate Mosquito Protection
Until we are sure if bats are really a helpful tool in mosquito control we suggest you stick to what you know (although the addition of a bat house certainly can’t hurt, right?). When you are away from home be sure to keep your insect repellent handy and wear protective clothing. As far as when you are at home, let Mosquito Squad of Fall River and South Shore handle mosquito control for you. Our barrier treatment will eliminate 85-90% of existing mosquitoes in your yard and continue to keep them out for up to 3 weeks. We are excited to see where this research goes in the future, but we all want to avoid any chance of itching and scratching and disease now. Call us today to schedule a quote. 508-536-4855