Did you know bats can eat more than 1,000 mosquitos in one night?

At the Feb. 15 meeting, Dr. Rada Petric from the Highlands Biological Station presented an entertaining and educational program about her research on bats in Western North Carolina.

Our natural environment makes the area a haven for bats; there are 17 species of bats in North Carolina. Bats eat pests, help pollinate plants, disperse seeds and guano is a natural fertilizer. Some of the threats to the bat population include pesticides, human overpopulation and white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed millions of bats across the country.

Dr. Petric discussed their BatPak Project along the Appalachian Trail, which monitors the species and bat count along the trail and how the population is influenced by habitat preferences, elevation, season and temperature. They have surveyed 32 sites, recorded 100,000 bat calls and collected 50,000 insects.

Dr. Petric also shared tips for erecting bat boxes:

  • Place the bat box 12-20 feet high
  • Avoid mounting on trees
  • Place where the box gets 6-8 hours of sun (especially in the morning)
  • Locate near a water source if possible
  • Paint the outside medium-dark brown

For more resources about bats and bat houses, visit Bat Conservation International at batcon.org.

Contact for Dr. Petric: r_petric@uncg.edu