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Living with Bats

Big-eared Bat

Bats flying in your back yard should be a welcome sight and not cause for alarm. Bats don't deserve the bad reputation they've inherited from scary movies and myths. Bats are passive, shy mammals and prefer to avoid contact with humans. They are extremely valuable in controlling insect pests. A single little brown bat can consume 1200 mosquitoes in one hour. Bats save us billions of dollars annually by consuming agricultural insect pests such as moths, cucumber beetles, corn earworms, and grasshoppers. Montana has 15 species of bats. Some bats live in groups and others are solitary. Some might roost in a house if access is available and others would never enter a house. Several species have declined in numbers over the past few decades. Because of their beneficial contribution to reducing insect populations bats should be encouraged. Should a problem arise, home owners can exclude bats using humane, non-lethal methods.