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'Bat Appreciation Month' Brings Good, Bad News about Furry Fliers

October 17, 2013 5:51 pm

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense to designate October as 'Bat Appreciation
Month.' These mostly tiny flying critters have been a boon and a curse to homeowners through
the ages - depending on if the bats stay outside, or get inside.

According to the Cincinnati, Ohio based wildlife outfitters bestnest.com, the presence of bats
in and around your yard provide a number of health-related advantages. Because bats are
sensitive to high pollution and pesticide levels, they are useful as a warning sign to potential
environmental problems.

Bats can also be important weapons in combating insects that are actually dangerous to
humans. Since the West Nile Virus is primarily spread through mosquitoes, which make up a
significant portion of a bat’s diet, bats can help reduce the likelihood of getting infected.
A small bat can capture more than 1,200 mosquitoes in a single hour, according to the post,
and bats cannot contract the West Nile Virus by eating infected mosquitoes.

Besides mosquitoes, bats can help control the populations of beetles, moths, and leafhoppers.
Many insects can hear bats up to 100 feet away and will avoid those areas occupied by bats.
The effectiveness of bats in some areas diminishes the need for pesticides that can harm both
the pests and their natural predators.

On the other hand, if a bat gets into your house, it's no fun for you or the bat. And in most
cases, it's the bat who comes out the loser. With that in mind, our friends at batsintheattic.org
publish a list of ways to humanely and safely remove a bat if it gets into the house.

The site advises the following:
1) Watch the bat, and wait for it to land, then drape a towel over it and bunch it up in the towel,
then bring it outside and unfold the towel.
2) If it lands on an unobstructed wall or floor, place a plastic container over the bat, then slide
paper under the container to trap it.
3) Open windows and doors and wait for it to fly out - although this is the alternative least likely
to work.
 

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