JeffCO H2O: Going Batty

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Besides being high on many people’s list of creepy animals, most of us really don’t know too much about bats.  These primarily nocturnal creatures usually live in trees, buildings, caves, and other sheltered places.  While most of us sleep, bats perform some vital functions that directly benefit humans.  Several varieties of bats feed on nectar, and serve as important pollinators for plants like bananas, mangoes and cocoa. (Think about that next time you have a piece of chocolate!)  The majority of bats feed on insects and have such voracious appetites that just one small bat can eat more than 1000 mosquitoes in one night.  Mosquitoes are not just pesky; they also can carry dangerous viruses.  So it makes sense that attracting bats to come and live in your yard can provide a chemical free, low cost way to help make a dent in the number of mosquitoes that can plague you and your family.  Purchasing or building a few bat houses and installing them on poles or on the side of your house that gets the most sun will provide an invitation for bats to come live and work in your yard.  Since they are nocturnal, chances are good that you will never even see them!  Another proactive measure to cut down on the mosquito population is to take steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property in the first place.  Walk around your yard and remove any items which can hold standing water, such as buckets or empty containers.  If there are elements in your landscape like low areas that can hold water but you cannot do anything to change them, consider using mosquito dunks on a monthly basis in these areas to kill mosquito larvae.  While these efforts will not completely eliminate mosquitoes from your yard, they will help reduce the opportunities for mosquitoes to breed and feed.

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Lyn DiClemente
Jefferson County Department of Storm Water Management
B-210 Jefferson County Courthouse Annex
716 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL  35203
205.325.8741
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