They haven’t gone bats: more Midwesterners are putting up bat houses, hoping to attract the tiny flying mammals, since they eat hundreds or even thousands of mosquitoes in a night. Only one problem…an expert claims it isn’t true.Professor Wayne Rowley is an extension entomologist at Iowa State University, and says while you’ll find a lot of claims about bug-eating bats, there’s little research to back it up. Doctor Rowley did find a study of bats here in the Midwest that showed they eat a lot of “pest insects” like June bugs, beetles, leafhoppers, stinkbugs, and corn rootworms, the most important insect pest in the Midwest. But few mosquitoes. Rowley says watching the bugs and the bats will show you why their paths don’t cross. He says mosquitoes fly close to the ground, and bats fly up at roof level.Rowley has another disappointment for people trying natural insect control, he says purple martins don’t eat many mosquitoes either, but try telling that to someone who has one of those big multi-unit martin houses. Though there are still experts who’ll claim bats help control mosquitoes, Professor Rowley says there isn’t scientific research to back that up.
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