Pest Control History: Going Batty over Mosquitoes



Do you know anyone with bats in their belfry? Chances are they don’t have trouble with mosquitoes. Part of Florida was once nicknamed “The Mosquito Coast” because of the quantity and quality of these pests. As a matter of fact, the Humphrey Bogart movie “The African Queen” was actually filmed in Florida because of the resemblance to the jungles of the Amazon.

Down in the Florida Keys there stands a monument to the folly of trying to use bats to control the mosquito population. The saddest part of the equation is not so much the fact that it didn’t work as the fact that this is not the only bat tower that was built. I must say that if it had worked there would probably be many more. I am sure that many people have looked at inventions and thought that they would never work, and then were very surprised that people just couldn’t live without them. Look at television for instance. When the first TV was invented there were no television stations or shows. So, maybe if the bat towers had worked there would be lots of them, but the only man who was able to get rich off of the idea was the designer and author of the plan.

Dr. Charles A. Campbell theorized that a concentrated bat population could rid areas of malaria, by controlling mosquitoes. Other methods of reducing the malaria outbreaks were more costly than Campbell’s plan, but his first bat roost was not successful. His second took a lot of work because he basically scared the bats from their regular roosts until his was the only one they would use. The plan worked in Texas, but not in Florida. Richter Clyde Perky built the Perky Bat Tower on Sugarloaf Key in the 1920s to eliminate mosquitoes and thereby promote his fishing resort. Perhaps he should have checked on the bats first; Florida Keys were pretty much devoid of the creatures until a colony was confirmed in 1996.

Today there are about three of the bat towers that still stand although dozens were built. Biological pest control continues to be the ultimate goal, until then we have pest management professionals dedicated to using a balanced integrated approach. Termite Treatment in Mesa can help you achieve the perfect balance between nature and your home. Promotion of beneficial species on or near your property can assist in keeping the damaging pests away.


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