Volusia County Council member suggests using bats to help control mosquito population

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A Volusia County Council member says bats may be the solution to keeping the area’s mosquito population under control.

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District 3 Representative Danny Robins proposed the idea on Facebook.

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The county spends nearly $11 million a year on its mosquito control.

The solution Robins suggested involves building boxes for the bats to live in, and placing them in areas with mosquito problems.

Mosquito Control is a growing area within Volusia Counties Budget. - It is said that a single bat can eat 1000-1200...

Posted by Danny Robins, Volusia County Council, District 3 on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

A single box can cost approximately $35 and hold around 75 bats.

Robins says one bat can eat upwards of 3,000 insects, and would provide an alternative to spraying chemicals.

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It’s not a new idea. Hillsborough County recently received a grant for one of its neighborhoods to build houses to accommodate approximately 400 bats. However, there’s been no data collected on its effectiveness.

“There’s not a lot of studies that have demonstrated that,” University of Central Florida Biology Professor Patrick Bohlen said.

According to Bohlen, while bats do eat mosquitoes, they are not their ideal source of food.

“If you had a million mosquitoes together, it can add up to a lot of food energy,” Bohlen said. “An individual mosquito is not a particularly good energetic meal for a bat. They’d be better off eating a moth or a beetle.”

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Robins says he plans to bring up the idea at one of the next two County Council meetings.

He has also proposed using jail inmates or students to help build the bat boxes to cut down on the cost. Robins says Volusia County residents can also build them on their own.

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