Migrating Bats Help Against Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes

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MISSION – Thousands of bats migrating to the Rio Grande Valley are helping get rid of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Blanca Benitez said Zika is something she worries about.

“I have because there are a lot of concerns and we’ve had many cases,” she said.

According to Mindy Brown who studies the Mexican free-tailed bat, each one can eat an army of mosquitoes.

“I’ve heard 600; I’ve heard 300 an hour. Let’s just say lots and lots of mosquitoes per bat,” she explained.

Brown said recently anywhere between 250,000 to 400,000 Mexican free-tailed bats have arrived in Mission. They’re living in the crevasses of the overpass at the corner of Conway and Expressway 83, but they don’t just feed in Mission.

“I would say probably Harlingen, maybe 75 miles to get there and back home. They are the enemy of Zika and West Nile,” she said.

Brown said all of the hundreds of thousands of bats feed every night and will continue to do so until October when they head back to Mexico.

Benitez said that is good news.

“That makes me feel better because that makes bats a friend of nature and a friend of ours,” she said.

Brown said to see the bats take flight every night is an amazing sight. She said viewers should sign on to the Mission Bats Facebook page to learn the exact times the bats take flight.

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