Bats aid in reducing mosquito population - FOX 32 News Chicago

Bats aid in reducing mosquito population

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(Carlos Silvestre/Flickr) (Carlos Silvestre/Flickr)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Bats usually don’t have the best reputation. However, when it comes to handling mosquitoes, there’s nothing better than them.

"We have about 12 species of bats that come in and out of Illinois throughout the year," said Tim Sullivan, Curator for the Brookfield Zoo.

At dusk and dawn in Illinois, every bat species darting around the sky loves to gorge itself on bugs.

"They have no need for people. They want to eat bugs," Sullivan said.

One pesky little insect in particular is a bat’s favorite snack, that being the mosquito. These disease carrying pests are no match for a bats incredible appetite.

"Bats can eat 3,000 mosquitoes a night. Those mosquitoes will stay very close to where they were born. The bats in that area will eat the mosquitoes in your area, keeping your area clean and safe," added Sullivan.

That's why Sullivan suggested putting a bat house in your yard.

FOX 32 News found some at area home improvement stores for about $10. If you are the ‘do it yourself’ type, there are web sites that show you step by step how to build a bat house.

The bats’ habit of devouring harmful bugs also benefits the agriculture industry. Sullivan said bats help save farmers over $3 billion a year just by eating insects that would otherwise damage crops.

Also, the bats’ waste called ‘guano’ is used as a fertilizer to help protect and grow crops. Bat droppings are also used in the production of certain fuels.

Sullivan did have some words of caution, though. If you see a bat on the ground, or come across one that is ‘down for the count,’ don't pick it up. It could cause the bat to bite in self-defense.

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