Why should I want bats?

Because they eat bugs! Almost like tiny little vacuum cleaners that fly around all night catching bugs.

How about mosquitoes?

Varies by species, but yes, most bats in the United States are insectivores and do eat some mosquitoes.

600 mosquitoes in a single hour?

Um, no. This myth has been perpetuated by overly optimistic vendors misinterpreting and exaggerating a study that found hungry "bats can eat up to 600 mosquito sized insects per hour" Extremely misleading at the very least since sadly neither mosquitoes nor tiny mosquito sized insects are the preferred 'bug' in the diet of any known North American species of bat.

A conservative 250 insects per hour will add up to over 2,000 'mosquito sized equivalents' per night. If only 1% are actually mosquitoes that seems very disappointing until you consider that a maternity colony sized bat house can easily hold over 200 bats. 200 X 20 = 4,000 mosquitoes. 4,000 fewer mosquitoes night after night, all summer long.

Many bat house landlords have reported a noticeable decrease in the number of mosquitoes and mosquito bites in the first few minutes after their bats emerge in the evening. I personally feel these early evening snacks are why
mosquitoes are under reported in studies of bats diets. When they return from their nightly feeding grounds after having dined on mostly larger bugs for many hours they have little remaining trace of those first meals in their system. So until we find out for sure, let's all quit exaggerating what these wonderful little critters can do and just accept that "Bats Eat Bugs!"

Fruit bat at a zoo

Well, all of them except this incredibly cute fruit bat my brother photographed in a zoo somewhere.

Other reasons to want bats?

Glad you asked! Watching bats exit on a warm summer evening is a wonderfull event to share with a spouse or visitors. Small children especially enjoy seeing them fly out so fast.

If your feeling a bit selfish, nothing can beat a morning return. Some days they are strictly business, they land and crawl straight in the bat house. Other mornings they are like little kids playing and reluctant to go to bed. 'Touch and go' landings then circle around and do it again. Delightful to watch unless you were trying to count them.

 Just you, a cup of coffee, and 'your' bats!

Thanks for visiting!

William Bagwell

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