Posts Tagged Bats as insect predators
The bat is a familiar image used to evoke fear and creepiness throughout the year and especially during the Halloween holiday. The infamous vampire bat is used to emulate a shape shifting capability that the vampires of Hollywood have become famous for. But even though we think of the bat as an icon of o-hallows-eve, the bat is as beneficial as it is spooky. Bats like many other birds, fish and mammals live primarily off of a diet of insects, and among those insects on the bat’s menu is the mosquito.
Bats are broken down into two suborders, megabats and microbats. Megabats primarily feed off of fruit nectar and pollen while microbats feed on insects. Microbats are considered to be a mosquito predator and can greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes that are likely to feed off of us as well as infect us with the diseases that they harbor. Bats come out to feed at dusk or right after dark and can eat a whopping 600 to 1,00 insects per hour. This is a substantial amount considering that the population of bats within a fusion can measure into the thousands. When you isolate a single bat eating mosquitoes it doesn’t paint the whole picture as accurately as taking the number of bats feeding off mosquitoes and other insects in one isolated area can.
Contrary to popular belief bats are not blind. Their eyes are quite small and underdeveloped, therefore the bat uses their heightened senses of hearing in order to locate and catch their prey. The bat uses a high-pitched sound that only other bats can hear and when the echoes from this sound hit an insect or another animal the echoes from their sound will bounce back off the prey and lead them to it. This incredible process is called echolocation.
Microbats begin hunting and feeding on their own at around 6-8 weeks of age, and a single microbat can live up to 20 years. Research has indicated that if bats were to become extinct the insect population would explode at an alarming rate putting all of us at a greater risk for insect-borne illnesses and diseases. A group of one thousand bats can eat up to four tons of insects in a years time, this is proof positive that bats play a crucial role in keeping insect populations down and keeping us safer by doing so.
Next time you see a bat at dusk quickly darting through the twilight skies at breakneck speed, take into consideration just how much good that little creature is doing for us by reigning supreme as a natural mosquito predator. As a society we should think of the bat as the crown prince of mosquito control instead of an icon of the prince of darkness.
We thought our barrier control mosquito and tick prevention was pretty good by lasting 2-3 weeks with one barrier spray to your yard. Well, outside of bats, barrier spraying your yard is the next best thing.
Visit our Mosquito Squad website to learn more about our safe and effective mosquito and tick control programs. Or, look at our location list for a mosquito and tick control location near you.