How many bugs can a bat eat?
The impact your bats will have on the insect population is dependent on how many of them move in, and the prey preferences of their species. Luckily, since bats are hunting at night, they are not preying on butterflies or honey bees. Small Myotis bats are frequent users of bat houses, and research has shown that a single bat is capable of catching up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. In Indiana, a colony of 150 big brown bats (about how many bats could live in a medium-sized bat house) was shown to consume enough cucumber beetles to prevent them from laying up to 33 million eggs in a single summer. Free-tailed bats tend to prefer moths, and just one of them can catch enough corn earworm or armyworm moths in one night to prevent the laying of up to 20,000 or more eggs on a wide variety of crops and yard plants. Bats are a gardener’s secret weapon!