Bats Brought In To Battle Mosquitos

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Ooh - never would've put one anywhere near my house anyways, but that is good to know. Bat guano is also dangerous http://www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/histoplasmosis.htm .

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If you want to attract bats faster to a bat house, hand a sock filled with guano near it. That's what we did. Apparently the Eagle Scouts and Boy Scouts did this experiment and it works.
Every winter when most of the bats migrate back to Mexico I go with a mask and shovel up a lot of guano from under the bridge where they dwell. I throw it in the compost pile. Of course I wear gloves, hat and a mask so not to breath the guano dust. I've seen a small five pound bag of guano sell for 8 dollars. I get tons of the stuff for free.
Many municipalities are now building bridges with similar design as those in Texas which have given the bats habitat. They are doing this all over the country. Bats are extremely beneficial and I hope it works the way you'd like it to.
Victoria

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I've heard guano makes wonderful compost. An anthro prof I once had did a lot of excavation in Baja - found burials in caves. First they had to send in the guano cleaners!! He went on and on about archeologists who had gotten very sick from excavating cave burials in the past. This always sticks in my head.
I'm not really putting up bat houses this year thinking they're going to irradicate the mosq pop. This just ain;t going to happen. I would just like to see us right some of the wrongs we have done by cutting down so many of their breeding/summer areas. Tina

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One of the things that concerns me with the Anderson project is how much time they'll give it to see if this helps or how they'll react if the bats decide they do not like the bat houses.
James
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I can understand that. I'm on the side you're on, believe me. I have sacrificed my entire property to the habitat of anything which resides here. Rats eat in our garden, so do squirrels, bats, mice, birds, snakes, skinks, lizards and gecko. We kill nothing. It all works out.
V
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What a great idea! Exchange the chance of getting west nile with the chance of catching rabies! Boy aren't politicians clever! http://tinyurl.com/tddo
Just breed dragonflies...they are the ones eating all the mosquitoes!
BT

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I think that there is a SLIGHTLY larger chance of being bit by a mosquito than a bat. From where I sit I get hundreds of mosquito bites a year - thousands over a life time. I've never been bitten by a bat - and have seen many. My animals have not been bitten by them either. Of course we could instead spray all the swampland with larvacide and spray the bush with DEET. Personally if between bats and martens and swallows and dragonflies, not to mention other mosquito predators, we even decrease the mosquito population around myself by 5% - I will be happier than spraying or destroying wetlands as a control!!! BTW all of the research that I have so far seen on bats or martens not being a good control are minimal and not enought to draw a final conclusion on! The studies will certainly be flying now so we shall see results in the next 5 yrs.

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My apologies - I did put words in your mouth. I am glad that where I live the risk of both is extremely small. We ahve to worry more about rabid stinky skunks!!

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There have been 10 confirmed cases of rabies due to some idiot picking up a sick bat in about a hundred years in the United States.

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Idiots will always die. It is natural selection working at its finest.

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Man, I didn't think posting this article would engender such debate -- it was meant to show that for once local government was actually considering something other than just spraying chemicals that kill other things and wear off too quick to make a big enough impact.
From what I've read, no formal studies have really been conducted to determine just how effective bats, purple martins, swallows, and other such predators are in controlling local mosquito populations. It's certainly worth the try and the benefits are substantial.
I'll be attempting a combination of efforts on my own property to control the buggers next year, including a bathouse, bird houses (purple martin among them), mantids, small ponds (to bring larvae and fishes together in union <Grin>), and dragonflies. We also have a Mosquito Deleto running. I'm hoping that by encouraging all of these factors we can put a dent in the population.
For those interested, this article/story is from the Cincinnati, Ohio area.
James

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Yes, and that has been honored as being a good thing to do. However, it is also good to point out they possibly won't get the results they are seeking. None of what I said was meant with mean spirit. Just factual.

The benefits are not substantial. That's the point. Bats do not eat as many mosquitoes as they are rumored to eat. You can't say it's substantial if it's not so.

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I was not trying to be mean spirited either. I love a good debate and always try to see things in shades of grey. There is no black and white - this has been useful for me - I have learnt something of Austin and how it was overpopulated with bats!!! Cheers, Tina

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Austin markets itself with those bats! It's truly an amazing sight all summer to see those bats fly out from under the bridge by the millions. They swarm out for about an hour or more. Many of them swoop right next to your ears and it is so exciting. Austin is a very hip city. The motto of the city is "Keep Austin Weird." We have more hippies here from the 60s than anywhere outside of possibly California and Woodstock, NY.
If you like bats, this is the place! Victoria
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You missed the point -- there have been no formal studies showing evidence either way. Trying a biological control is worth the try and the benefits of biological controls over chemical controls are substantial. If the experiment is unsuccessful that will not alter the fact that the benefits of biological controls over chemical controls are substantial -- it just means that in this case, the biological control attempted was unsuccessful.
James
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