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Vampire bat (MGN)

Meet the man fighting Zika by building homes for mosquito-eating bats


Meet the man fighting Zika by building homes for mosquito-eating bats

As mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus spread across the U.S., all kinds of pesticides are being brought in to stop the bugs. 

But the most effective mosquito killer might be the insect's natural enemy: Bats. 

1,000 mosquitoes an hour

Reggie Regan, owner of Lone Star Woodcraft in Garden Ridge, Texas, said his sales of speciality "bat boxes" have increased 68 percent since last year.

The habitats are essentially birdhouses for bats -- roughly rectangular, but with holes at the bottom and horizontal beams for bats to perch on. And they're very efficient; the smallest bat box fits 100 bats and costs about $100.

And bats have huge appetites, capable of eating up to 1,000 mosquitoes in just an hour. 

I don't want people to have a false sense of security that they put it out there and then 'Oh, I'm protected.'
Reggie Regan

Of course, it's not a foolproof plan. Regan warned customers that bat boxes were no excuse to ignore the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines to avoid the virus. 

"You can't put a bat house up as your form of protection against Zika," he told KABB.

Jay Lee in east Nashville has earned the "Batman" title by also building bat habitats.

Lee calls bats "a very important part of our ecosystem."

One of his customers told WZTV the bat habitats give him "peace of mind."

More Zika coverage from Circa:

Would you use bats to Zika-proof your home?

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