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SCDNR Press Release:
Bats are nature’s pest patrol and the major predator of night-flying insects, according to Mary Bunch, biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). All of South Carolina’s bats are insect-eaters, and since bats forage for several hours a night, a single colony can provide significant local control for flying insects, including mosquitoes.
Since bats are such an important natural form of insect pest control, feasting on agricultural pests such as corn borers, June bugs, gypsy moths, grain moths, cutworm moths, potato beetles and even grasshoppers, it is in our own best interests to protect them, Bunch said.
What can people do to help? Avoid disturbing maternity colonies and hibernating bats—even slight disturbance is harmful‑and never shoot, poison or otherwise harm bats. Nuisance bats can be encouraged to move elsewhere without killing them. “Bat exclusion is the only effective way to evict unwanted bats,” Bunch said, “and it doesn’t require the use of any chemicals. In fact, there are no effective bat repellents. Exclusion uses one-way exits; bats leave to forage in warm weather, and when they return, they can’t get back in.”
Bat houses provide shelter for bats and are becoming increasingly popular as the public becomes more aware of the beneficial nature of bats. Bat boxes are available in many lawn and garden stores, and do-it-yourselfers can build a good one relatively cheaply.
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