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Natural Bat Control

Natural Bat Control

Bat, one of the group of wing-handed, flying mammals, of the order chiroptera, having the fore limbs peculiarly modified so as to serve for flight. Bats are animals of the twilight and darkness and are common in temperate and warm regions, but they are most numerous and largest in the tropics. All European bats are small and have a mouse-like skin. The body of the largest British species is less than that of a mouse, but its wings stretch about fifteen inches. During the day it remains in caverns, in the crevices of ruins, hollow trees and other lurking places, and flits out at evening in search of food, which consists of insects. Several species of the same genus are common in North America.

Natural Bat Control Bat Houses

by Michael O'Brien

Considered to be pests by many folks, bats do hold a special and beneficial place in the ecosystem. Most species of bats found in North America are not harmful to people or animals and bats do help control insect pests like mosquitoes, eating many thousands of the biting insects during an average nights feeding, perhaps as many as six hundred mosquitoes an hour. On the downside, many bats can carry rabies and can occasionally pass the rabies virus along to humans through a bite or if an animal comes in contact with a dead bat. In general, we have little to fear from these furry fliers though having them take up residence in or around your home can prove to be a nuisance.

Like many small animal pests, bats like to nest in a comfortable environment and holes or other points of entry in the exterior of your home can be an open invitation for bats to nest. Large numbers of bats may find an undisturbed barn or other outbuilding an inviting place to sleep during the day. If you are concerned about the presence of bats around your home there are ways to control bats that do not involve the use of chemicals or that would otherwise harm the bat.

One way to control where bats hang out, literally, is to give them an alternative to your home or outbuildings. Bat houses can be an effective, inexpensive and fun way to provide the bats with a suitable habitat while you enjoy the benefit of having them around to control flying insect pests.

A quick look on the internet or at your local nursery or home improvement store will yield any number of designs for bat houses. Bat houses can be purchased complete or you can make them yourself. Getting the kids involved in the construction of your bat houses can be both fun and educational. Since many stories and mythology put bats in bad repute, humans often develop an unjustified fear of bats. Making use of bat houses is a great way for kids and adults to allay those fears. There are literally dozens of designs used in the construction of bat houses and it is important to find a design that is based on the most up-to-date knowledge of bats and their behavior patterns. A poorly designed bat house may not only fail to solve your bat problem, it may result in unnecessary harm to the bat and increase the likelihood of the bats being exposed to and spreading diseases and parasites.

Many experts advocate the use of an open-bottom design for bat houses. An open-bottom design helps to reduce or eliminate the accumulation of bat guano and parasites. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, guano is the fecal waste the bats produce. There is a thriving business in harvesting bat guano and using it as fertilizer. There is debate among some experts on whether the color of the bat matters to the bat. In fact, a dark color may help to retain heat and make the house more inviting to the bats. If you decide to build your own bat house avoid using recycled or treated wood. Treated wood may contain chemicals harmful bats, people and pets. Not knowing the source of recycled wood means not knowing if the wood has been exposed to harmful chemicals.

The location of your bat house is very important especially if your goal is to draw the bats away from your home. Avoid placing the bat near your house or near bright exterior lights. Bright exterior lighting can attract insects and many species of bat would see that as an invitation to dinner.

Bat houses, properly constructed and placed in the right location can help keep these flying mammals away from your home and help control other pesky insect pests.

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