It's Bat Week! (October 24-31)

Oct 27, 2016

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 when migrating bats roost in buildings during warmer months. Bats can also transmit diseases such as rabies, although not all bats carry this disease.

To minimize your risk of disease transmission, never handle bats, avoid breathing dust from their droppings, and vaccinate your dogs and cats against rabies. It's very important to educate children to never touch a bat, dead or alive.

Bats can create unsanitary conditions when their droppings and urine accumulate beneath roosts. This creates odors and attracts insects. More information regarding bats and disease prevention is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exclusion is the best management practice for an infestation of unwanted bats. Learn more about bat pest management and about using bat houses to encourage bats by reading the UC IPM Pest Note: Bats.