Nature’s Best Mosquito Control

by Sarah Green LivingComments: 10

A few years ago, I took my children to a summer program at the local library put on by the Florida Bat Conservancy.    For those of you unfamiliar with the habits of our winged mammalian cousins, bats spend their days sleeping in a warm, enclosed space (like a dead tree trunk) and come out at dusk to start feasting on insects all night long.   In the case of the Florida bat, mosquitoes are the insect of choice. One bat can consume up to 3000 mosquitoes in a single night!

By the end of the very informative, entertaining lecture (complete with live bats), I was convinced that the best way to control mosquitoes on our 2 acre property was to install a bat house.    My husband located an average sized bat house that could serve as the sleeping quarters for up to 30 bats (they really pack themselves in tightly).    We figured out which tree in our front yard got enough direct sunlight during the day to qualify as an “ideal” bat house location, borrowed our neighbors giant ladder, and installed the house about 20 feet high.
Then, we waited.    And waited.    And waited some more ….
After 3 years of eagerly anticipating a family of bats to take up shop in the bat house, I honestly forgot we even had one!    The Bat Conservancy had warned me that it might take awhile for the bats to find the house, especially since the numbers of native Florida bats are dwindling due to rapid loss of habitat.     At the time, I thought six months might be the longest amount of time we might have to wait.  After 3 years, though, I had basically given up all hope!

Well, never give up hope where nature is concerned!  About a month ago, I casually mentioned to my husband that there didn’t seem to be any mosquitoes at all around our front porch and that I could sit out at dusk and not be eaten alive like in years past.  This unusual lack of mozzies despite the extremely wet winter we’ve had and the enormous amount of standing water in the swamps and ponds around the neighborhood.  Funny that it didn’t even occur to me that the bat house might finally be occupied and providing mosquito control!

This past Friday night was a beautiful evening at our house, dry, cool and clear.  Perfect spring time weather.   Suddenly, one of my  boys comes racing into the house and shouts “Mom, we’ve got BATS!”   Excitedly, I ran outside to witness a family of bats, swooping and diving in the fading sunlight as they feasted on the airborne insects in our front yard!

If you haven’t considered a bat house for your home as the best ever mosquito control, I highly recommend it.  Even if you don’t have a tree to attach one to, you can attach one to a pole instead.  You may have to wait awhile (hopefully, not 3 years!), but like many of the best things in life, it is so worth the wait!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

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