should I want bats?
Because they eat bugs! Almost like tiny little vacuum cleaners that fly
around all night catching bugs.
Varies by species, but yes, most bats in the United States are
insectivores and do eat some mosquitoes.
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
mosquitoes nor tiny mosquito sized insects are the preferred
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!"
all of them except this incredibly cute
fruit bat my
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!