Do Bats Really Help Control Mosquitoes?
One of the most common myths we hear as a professional mosquito control company is do bats really help with mosquito control? Well, it depends on your definition of successful mosquito control. It is definitely not a myth that bats eat many mosquitoes, but is it enough to control a mosquito population? Once and for all, our mosquito control experts break down if bats help control the mosquito population.
A great deal of information and research has been conducted in the last 25 years with thousands of different bat species. It is clear that they play an essential role in nature and are beneficial to our ecosystem but sometimes they get a bad reputation due to their “spooky” behavior. Bats are nocturnal creatures that tend to favor dead or dying trees with bark peeling or loose tree cavities to nestle in. They also like caves or the underpasses of bridges. Pretty much anywhere that is shaded or dark and has an area for them to hang. For some of us, that might even be in our backyard or neighborhood.
Bats thrive on an insect-driven diet. While mosquitoes are a part of their daily diet, they prefer meatier bugs such as beetles or moths. According to Joe Colon, a medical entomologist with the American Mosquito Control Association, less than 1% of a bat’s diet is mosquitoes. “They would starve if they relied on mosquitoes alone.” Mosquitoes tend to prefer meatier bugs like moths or beetles. On average, a bat will consume about 1200 small insects every hour and eats between 6000 to 8000 insects each night. This includes but is not limited to mosquitoes
Are Bats Mosquito Control Experts?
Now that we know the behaviors and lifestyles of bats, we can discuss their mosquito control abilities. The “bats as an effective form of mosquito control” craze began in early 2016. While this myth has been around long before then with some traces dating back to the 1950s, businesses began to capitalize on this idea right around the time the Zika virus emerged. Sales of bat houses began to increase dramatically as everyone wanted to put these small boxes up in their backyard. Right around this time, marketers began to advertise bat houses as a “natural alternative” to mosquito misting solutions. There was only one problem with this, bats are not an effective method of mosquito control.
In fact, the State of Florida has already tried to use bats for mosquito control. Shelly Redovan, head of the Florida Mosquito Control Association, said they tried bat towers and bat houses and they failed quite largely. The State of Florida found that bats don’t actually like coming to homes as much as they prefer to be in the wild alone. In Florida’s case, that was palm trees. It is even less likely that mosquitoes that feed on humans would interact with bats at a high enough rate to survive. There is no evidence to suggest that increasing the bat population in a certain area will reduce the number of mosquitoes enough to affect human biting rates.
What Does This Mean?
The bottom line is that bats are not an effective means of mosquito control. However, there are many ways that you can effectively control the mosquito population on your property or neighborhood. At Palmetto Mosquito, we have multiple different solutions for professional mosquito control. Our residential program combines the mosquito misting system with pest management to kill, repel and control mosquitoes and gnats where you live. The mosquito misting system uses an irrigation system similar to the water irrigation system you probably already have in your yard. Another option to consider is our mosquito barrier treatment. This is a cost-effective approach to killing and repelling mosquitoes and gnats. Our mosquito control professionals will customize a treatment program to meet your specific needs and come to your home every 2-4 weeks during mosquito season to surface spray the treatment on the targeted area. Don’t rely on bats to control your mosquito problem, leave it to the experts! Contact us today for your free, no-obligation mosquito inspection.