While some people think bats are pests, some bats are actually pest controllers eating thousands of insects every night. UK bats won’t bite you or suck your blood – but they will help clear the air of bloodsucking mosquitoes!

All bats in the UK are insectivores – they only eat insects. Insect-eating bats are great for keeping bugs away from crops, as well as the places where the bats roost. The Brazilian free-tailed bat has been recognised as an important “pest management service” in cotton farming. Because bats eat so many insects in some regions, they can also reduce the need for pesticide sprays.

While bats can provide a valuable service for agriculture, some agricultural practices can have a detrimental impact on bats. Increased use of pesticides may mean that bats go hungry from the lack of insect prey. The destruction of hedgerows and woods in farmland is also concerning, as bats rely on these features for roosting, hunting and getting around.

Bats as pest controllers

Daniel Hargreaves