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Mosquitoes Make Tasty Snacks

What’s covered in fur and flies at night, even though it has no wings? Not sure? Let’s try another one. What creature can eat 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour? Coming up blank? One more and then you get the answer. What mammal, other than the dolphin, uses its own sonar system to hunt for food?

If you answered “bat” you’re right on target. According to the Connecticut Department of the Environmental Protection, eight species of bats are found in Connecticut. The two most common are the little brown bat ( Myotis lucifugus ) and the big brown bat ( Eptesicus fuscus ).

If you have a colony of bats living in your yard you can cut down on chemical insect repellants. Bats have a voracious appetite for bugs. When you see them zipping through the air at dusk like manic kamikaze pilots it's because they’re hoovering up the mosquitoes that might otherwise be biting you.

If you don’t have bats living close by, maybe you should think about inviting them over. Bats like to live in close quarters, preferably in the dark. They can squeeze through gaps as small as one-quarter inch, which is how they can get between the siding on your house and the inner walls. Another favorite spot is behind shutters, as house painters know only too well.

A better place for them to live is in their own bat house. Building one isn’t too difficult if you’re handy. This link takes you to a site that shows how. But you can also buy ready-made bat homes for as little as $23 for a mini-condo, which accommodates 12 bats. If you have a big mosquito problem, try a multi-family, four-chambered hotel, which holds 150 bats and which will set you back just over $100.

Bat populations have recently been decimated by a mysterious disease called white-nose syndrome , originally discovered in winter hibernating caves in New York State. Wildlife biologists are trying to determine the origin of the disease and its implications. A decline in the bat population could have a significant effect on agriculture since bats consume large quantities of moths and other insects that damage crops.

Would you encourage bats to move in to your yard? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Contact me at fpearson@mainstreetconnect.us.

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