Bats

mrscoyleFebruary 11, 2007

Has anyone ever tried to install a bat house to help control bugs? Pros? Cons? In the last year and a half my husband and I have trapped and released 3 bats inside our house. We live in Bangor and thought this would never happen but it did so we know they are around. Are they any good to keep the bugs away from the garden in the warmer months. I have been reading up on them and, of couse, all the "pro" bat websites say it's the way to go but I want to hear all the good and bad stories.

Thanks.

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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

They are supposed to have voracious appetites for mosquitos. Does that mean that if you have bats, you won't have any mosquitos? Doubtful, but a big enough population of bats helps.

My husband built a "bat house" a few years ago, but so far no bats have moved in. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any bats in our yard ever.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 6:43AM
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mrscoyle

Well for some reason my family (or me anyway) seems to have no problem attracting bats. About 2 years ago I caught and released a bat in my parents house (also in Bangor). If I wasn't so worried about the "rabies" thing I would certainly try to attract more. I guess that's what is stopping me. I am hoping to hear that they are truly, really very harmless.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 8:19AM
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ginny12

My friend just had a bat in the house in early January. She spoke to her kids' pediatrician who said that the medical protocol now is to require rabies shots to everyone who lives in the house where a bat is found. Evidently a nine-year-old girl in Greenwich CT died of rabies contracted from a bat that bit her when she was sleeping in her bedroom. The bite is tiny and it doesn't necessarily wake you up.

My friend had to bring her kids to Children's Hospital in Boston for the series of shots. She and her husband also had to get them. They finished this week. It was not very painful but it was expensive. FYI.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:47PM
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mrscoyle

WOW !

Thanks for the information. Ok - no, on the bat house. Thanks.

J

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 8:20AM
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ginny12

I should add a couple of things. They had to go to Boston because the rabies medication must be stored under special conditions and is expensive, so local pharmacies and physicians don't want to keep a supply on-hand for something there is not a lot of demand for.

Also, and most important, once rabies symptoms are apparent, it is almost always too late for a cure. Hence, the precaution of giving the medication if there is the slightest chance of a bite.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 10:22AM
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bberry_gw

A few things to know about bats is that they are very good insect feeders. They use a sonar method of locating insects. That may or may not repel some insects. I have built six very large houses that are supposed to allow up to 50 bats in them. I placed them around my blueberry fields but never found more that a few in them over the years. I have watched them feed for countless hours and have concluded that they are over rated as mosquito catchers. Their main prey is almost always moths of one type or another. That is still a good thing and getting them near crops would be beneficial. Getting them near children playing in a back yard would not be a wise idea.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 9:27PM
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tricot

Bats are very picky about their homes and their preferences are not well understood. Not only does a bat house have to be just right for a particular species of bat, but it has to be sited properly (right amount of sun/shade/breeze) or the bats will not move in. Bat houses are a neat idea, but I think you would have to be either a very dedicated bat lover, willing to experiment a lot to get your bat house just right, or plain lucky, to get the bats to move into a bat house.

There is lots of information at Bat Conservation International, including a discussion of rabies transmission from bats. If you are kinda interested in bats but worried about health issues, you might want to check out that page at http://www.batcon.org/home/index.asp?idPage=91&idSubPage=62 .

Mrscoyle there is also a short discussion on that page of how to keep bats out of your house. For what it's worth. It does not sound easier than keeping mice out, and I have found that to be impossible! :-)

Bat houses may not attract bats but I don't think that fear of rabies is a good reason to be worried about bats. Vaccinate your pets and teach the kiddos to never, ever touch wild animals, especially bats, especially if they seem "tame" (i.e., sick), and the chances of contracting rabies are truly miniscule.

Becky
Who just recently moved to mid-coast Maine from Bat City USA (Austin, TX, home of the largest urban bat colony in N. America)

Here is a link that might be useful: Bat Conservation International

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 5:46PM
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mrscoyle

Becky,

Thanks for the follow up. We haven't seen a single bat since that last one but I realize that doesn't mean we won't have more. I just wish I could figure out how they got in to begin with. I don't think we happen to have a bat "problem" I just think a few snuck (sneaked) in somehow. There are worse things (I know, I moved up from NYC!).

Thanks again,

Jennifer

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 7:36PM
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