Bats versus Bugs
Story by Brooke Fedigan
Bats: By another name, they could be called airborne rodents. Creepy-looking and almost always affiliated with things haunted and ghoulie, they often scare us human folk and send us running in the opposite direction with our hands waving about.
We had three of these unwanted guests flying around our house late one night a few years back. They came in through our chimney, shimmying just past the flue, which is a perfect nesting spot for bats—a dark chimney is their ideal real estate. We’ve since fixed that by attaching wire netting at the top.
There are over 1,000 species of bats, with varied appetites, but those in our area of the Hudson Valley are insectivores. The kind of bugs that bite and make us itch are a bat’s caviar. Throw in moths and beetles, and it’s like a Michelin-star menu for them. The next time you observe a flock of bats in flight at dusk, though it may look like an old-time horror-movie trailer, keep in mind that a single brown bat can eat up to 1,200 bugs in one hour. “Be our guest,” indeed! The more mosquitos these bats eat, the less bug bites I have to worry about. And those moths that use your outdoor lights as a nightclub? All fair prey too. Without these little creatures around, the number of insects would be much higher.