As Halloween approaches, images of bats becomes more prevalent. Bats have a bad reputation for carrying diseases and getting tangled in hair. However, these tiny flying mammals provide great benefits to humans.
BENEFITS OF BATS
Bats are the only major predators of night flying insects.
- Bats play an important role in controlling many insect pests.
- A single bat can consume as many as 500 insects in just one hour, or nearly 3,000 insects every night.
- A colony of 100 little brown bats, may consume more than a quarter of a million mosquitos and other insects per night.
Healthy bat populations decrease the demand for chemical pesticides.
- Bats benefit farmers by eating agricultural pests such as June bugs, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, and corn rootworms.
Bats are great pollinators.
- Bats helps to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs.
Bats help to maintain forest health.
- Some bats feed on forest pests such as tent caterpillar moths.
Bat droppings in caves support ecosystems of unique organisms
- Cave bat droppings support bacteria that is used in detoxifying wastes, improving detergents and producing antibiotics.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT BATS?
Once people learn the beneficial role that bats play in controlling insects, they often want to attract bats to their yards and garden.
Bat boxes provide shelter opportunities for bats. Plans for bat boxes can be found on the Game Commission website. A bat box may remain vacant because of other roosts in the area. However if roosts are scarce, bats may move in quickly.
A Homeowner’s Guide to Northeastern Bats and Bat Problems, Penn State Extension
and Year of the Bat 2011-12, Bat Facts, Bat Conservation International