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Greener Postures


Illustration by Kagan McLeod  

Bat houses attract bats, bats eat mosquitoes. Instead of spraying your garden with malathion and your toddler with DEET, why not put up a bat house?
Because I don’t want to live on the set of Nosferatu. Bats are just bigger, thirstier mosquitoes.
Not unless you’re in the tropics of the Western Hemisphere, to which vampire bats are confined.
Okay, but they’re still creepy, and maybe rabid.
Human deaths from rabies in the U.S. average less than five per year, compared to around 170 from mosquito-borne diseases. A single bat can eat 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour.
Only if there’s nothing else on the tapas menu. In real life, there are beetles, moths, and other things that give a bigger bang for the swoop. One study of bat poop found that mosquitoes made up less than 2% of their diet. Bats won’t solve my skeeter problem.
Maybe not, but they can’t hurt.

VERDICT: Thumbs down for mosquito control, thumbs up for helping an imperiled genus. Fortunately, we have two thumbs.


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