It's Bat Appreciation Day
No, no, not the bats you find at the ballpark. Today we appreciate the ones that fly, and eat mosquitoes. "Appreciate" may seem like an odd word choice. The only reason I can find to truly be thankful for the bat population is their insatiable appetite for mosquitoes. If you've ever visited the swamps of Waycross or floated down the Savannah River, you know the misery of mosquito bites.
The average bat can consume between 600 and 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour. They can eat their body weight in mosquitoes and other insects. In my book, that is reason enought to celebrate them, at least this one day of the year. If nothing else, appreciate some of these wildly (is that a stretch?) interesting facts about bats.
Random bat facts to impress your friends
- Bats are mammals. Ponder that for a moment. That means they are warm-blooded, have hair or fur and give birth to live young. Baby bats are called "pups," but probably not the kind you want to cuddle up with or let lick your face.
- Most female bats have only one pup per year. In the US, bat pups are born in May and June. Some bats fly south for winter, while others hibernate. Like Anna from the Disney movie, hibernating bats can even survive being completely frozen in ice.
- There are more than 1,000 species of bats worldwide, 40 of which can be found in the United States. There are only 3 species of vampire bats feeding solely on blood meals, also known as hematophagy. You'll find the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat and the white-winged vampire bat in the southern parts of North America and throughout Central and South America.
- One size does not fit all! The Flying Fox Bat has a wingspan up to 6 feet, while the Bumble Bee Bat is smaller than a nickel. But you won't find either in the US.
- Bat droppings are called guano, and are very rich fertilizers. In fact, Texas once exported more guano than oil.
- It's illegal to kill bats. Most are state protected, and some bats are federally protected. Populations of half the bat species found in the US are in decline or even endangered.
- Bats use echolocation to navigate and find food in the dark. That means they send out sound waves from their mouth or nose like dolphins and use the reflected sounds to locate objects.
Good looking bats
Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, George Clooney and Val Kilmer have all played Batman on screen. Okay, that is not really a bat fact, but one I thought the ladies might appreciate!
If you are trying to get rid of mosquitoes, you could start a bat colony in your home. Not appealing? An easier approach may be to contact a professional pest control company in your area. Cingo provides pest control across Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Milledgeville and Douglas, and in Charleston, South Carolina. We'd be happy to help you eliminate mosquitoes from your yard.
Companies specializing in mosquito treatments charge an average $75 per monthly application. For a similar rate, Cingo offers protection from not just mosquitoes, but also termites, roaches, mice, bed bugs and pretty much any insect or critter that threatens your home.