Hate mosquitos? You’re not alone! Although they are an important part of the ecosystem, too many mosquitos can create quite a nuisance. They buzz in your ear and leave red, itchy welts when they bite, and some even transmit diseases like West Nile Virus and malaria.
Luckily, nature has provided us with many natural mosquito predators to help keep them under control.
Bats in temperate areas of the world tend to be insectivorous, with voracious appetites for mosquitos and other flying insect pests. A single bat can eat about 1,200 insects an hour, and about 6,000-8,000 insects a night. Female bats that are nursing young may even eat up to their weight in insects nightly.
Insectivorous birds like purple martins, swallows, eastern kingbirds, and yellow warblers are also known for eating flying insects, including mosquitos, though to a lesser extent.
So if you have a problem with mosquitos and other flying pest insects, try enhancing your site’s habitat to attract these natural insect predators. You could install artificial structures that provide nesting and roosting habitat, such as nest boxes for birds and bat houses or other artificial roosts for bats. You should also make sure the surrounding habitat provides the resources and complexity needed by the species you want to attract, including plenty of native vegetation that will provide additional food sources and cover habitat. Not only will you contribute to conservation of these species, you’ll also be helping yourself!
It’s important to remember that none of these species will provide a singular solution to controlling mosquitos in all locations. Rather, attracting natural predators is an important step in long-term planning for reducing mosquito numbers in your area.