Mosquitoes are becoming more of a danger with each passing year. With the constant, threatening reality of the Zika Virus it is more important than ever to do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones from being bitten and possibly infected with Zika and other diseases, such as the West Nile virus, yellow fever, and malaria (just to name a few.) Mosquitoes can also cause heartworm disease in dogs and cats.
To help eliminate mosquitoes, people are now turning to ‘bat houses’ and are having great success in controlling the mosquito population in their surrounding area. No pesticides and harsh chemicals. Just nature taking its course.
Unfortunately, most people are afraid of bats because of how the bat has been portrayed throughout the years, especially in Hollywood films and, of course, Halloween. Scary decorations with skulls, spider webs, and bats fill many homes every October to give that eerie and spooky feeling. It has become second nature for humans to fear these creatures.
The truth is, bats are beneficial in so many ways. In my opinion, with the constant threat of viruses you can contract through a single mosquito bite, bats have also become necessary. Before I go any further, let’s get to know the bat a little bit. If you’re anything like I was (before my research), you’re apprehensive. The thought of building a house that would purposely invite bats onto my 6 acre piece of property ‘to live’ did creep me out at first…but, after researching, I have become a lot less afraid of these fascinating creatures.
Bats – The Facts
There are so many facts about bats that most people are probably not aware of. Here are some interesting facts I want to share that should clear up any myths about this incredible mammal.
- Bats can live more than 30 years and can fly at speeds of up to 60 mph.
- Many bats eat insects. Bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour and often consume their body weight in insects every night, helping keep bug populations in check. This is not only beneficial to humans, but can also protect your garden as well as some insects can almost ruin an entire garden.
- In many ecosystems, they play a key role in pollinating plants.
- There are more than 1,300 species of bats in the world.
- Most female bats give birth to only a single pup each year, making them very vulnerable to extinction. Bats are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size.
- Contrary to popular myths, most bats have very good eyesight, have excellent echolocation so they do not become entangled in human hair, and seldom transmit disease to other animals or humans.
- All mammals can contract rabies; however, the less than half of 1% of bats that do contract rabies, normally bite only in self-defense and pose very little threat to humans.
- They’re contributing to human health. Scientists have extracted a compound from vampire bat saliva and turned it into medicine (aptly named Draculin). Studies have found this anticoagulant drug to be very useful for stroke patients. Scientists are also studying bats’ resistance to DNA damage and malaria parasites in hopes of learning more about human DNA damage and how to better deal with malaria. (Info via blog.nwf.org)
In my opinion, bat houses can prove beneficial for you and your loved ones. Harsh chemicals used to deter mosquitoes can not only harm your health with long-term use, but can also harm the environment.
Also, due the decline of natural habitat for these mammals you will provide a safe haven for them, as some bat species are becoming endangered.
Or… you can save a little money and build one yourself!
Whichever route you take, you’ll be doing a great service for yourself, your family, and the bats themselves. It’s a win-win!
If you’ve had success with controlling the mosquito population with bat houses we would love to hear from you! Share your story in the comments below.
Check out these articles from us here at Survival Life on other methods to deter mosquitoes (and other pests):
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Also, check out this great article from our friends at DIY Ready: