- Author: Belinda J. Messenger-Sikes
Are bats good for the environment or are they pests? How about both? Almost all of the 25 species of bats in California eat lots of flying insects during their night flights, making them an important part of the ecosystem. But when they roost in buildings such as your home, they can become pests.
Bats roosting in outbuildings away from dwellings aren't much of a problem. Some people even place bat houses on their property to attract bats for assistance with pest control. But a colony of bats in your attic is cause for concern. Bats can spread human diseases like rabies and their droppings (called guano) can make a smelly mess.
If bats are a problem in your home, UC...
Bat Week is an annual event to celebrate this small, flying mammal, and what better time to talk bats than at Halloween? Although they are often depicted as spooky, blood-sucking creatures, in reality, most bats eat insects and are helpful to people.
Bats in the Landscape
California is home to over 25 bat species, but most people never see them because they are nocturnal. Bats can be helpful predators in the landscape. For example, did you know that some bats will eat stink bugs, cucumber beetles, mosquitoes, and flies? Or that some bats can eat their body weight in insects every night?
Bats as Pests
Unfortunately, sometimes bats can concern people, especially.../h2>/h2>
Halloween is the perfect time to talk about bats, since many people hang spooky bat decorations depicting them as black, blood-sucking, mysterious creatures flying over a haunted house.
But did you know that bats are actually beneficial and eat insects? Here are a few myths about bats that you likely have heard:
Myth #1: Bats are blind
You've heard the term “blind as a bat.” Bats actually have excellent vision, but also use echolocation to help them pinpoint the exact location of an insect so they can more easily find it while flying at night.
Myth #2: Bats are vampires that suck blood
Most of the bats that live in California eat night-flying insects, and...
Most people in California have had some experience with skunks, whether getting a whiff of their distinctive skunk scent in the air or having the unfortunate experience of a pet that's been sprayed.
Two skunk species call California home: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. About half the size of a house cat, the striped skunk is mostly active at dawn, dusk and at night, but can be active during the daytime, especially in human-use areas; the spotted skunk rarely ventures outside during the daytime.
Skunks are attracted to residential areas due to the availability of food, water, and shelter and often den under decks, porches, or buildings. Most people never see the skunks that travel through their...