“Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.”
“Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?”
“On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.”
William Shakespeare Five years ago, a friend gave me a house-warming gift. It was built by her boyfriend out of cedar and it came with easy operating instructions.
Still and yet, I was skeptical, so I put it in an outdoor utility room and there it sat for about three years.
Two summers ago, I was sitting in the backyard of a neighbor. I’d been visiting for nearly an hour when I realized something seemed very different from my own backyard.
Not a single dastardly mosquito had drilled into my skin the entire time I’d been sitting there.
Yet, less than a half mile down the street, all I had to do was step out my back door and hundreds of blood-thirsty skeeters were dining on my limbs.
That’s probably a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.
“Why do you have no mosquitoes in your yard,” I asked my neighbors.
The couple looked at each other, smiled and then pointed skyward.
I looked up and saw it. Hanging about 12 feet high, near the top of a pole, facing southeast.
It was a bat house.
“You’re kidding?” I said to my neighbors. “They really work?”
“They work amazingly well,” the couple, true believers, said in near unison.
I went home that evening determined to hang my own bat house and rid my yard of pesky mosquitoes.
Last summer, the house was hung, but I learned too late the house was facing the wrong direction, which apparently matters much to mosquitoes.
A month ago, a friend and co-worker agreed to climb a tall ladder and rehang the bat house facing the correct direction.
Since then, I’ve been practicing patience.
Some things I’ve read about bats and bat houses say it often takes a year for bats to take up residence in the bat house. Other articles claim it may take only a few months.
It really matters little to me when they arrive in my backyard; I just hope fervently they will move in at some point.
For lots of folks, the bat has a well deserved bad reputation. But they seem to have an amazing ability to control insects, especially disease-carrying mosquitoes. Many of the bats who call the United States home, thrive on an insect diet.
Several websites claim a single bat has the capacity to consume up to 1,200 mosquitoes every hour.
They also enjoy a delectible moth, fly and gnat on occasion.
Each evening when I walk into my backyard to gaze at my garden or play ball with George the dog, and slap at blood-sucking mosquitoes on my arms and legs, I look skyward.
I pray for patience.
And for bats.