For as many years as we have lived here we have had a family of bats. They have kept our mosquito population in check. Three years ago we had at least 6 bats and the following year only about 3-4 bats. I built a bat house off plans that I downloaded from a web site that is devoted to preserving bats. Most folks believe that bats are disease carriers and while they can be, they also keep the insect population in balance. The benefits of having bats far exceeds the few drawbacks they present. They are very beneficial to have around if you can attract them. Every once in a great while we would have one fall down the chimney and get trapped in the wood stove. I'd get a towel and catch them in it and redeposit them outdoors.
Bats have a tough life and ours migrate each year to what we think is New Mexico. They particularly like mines/caves and many of the old mines have been sealed off for safety reasons. Here in Colorado when they seal off mines they put bars across the entrance so bats can still use the mine as home. Some places they simply collapse the entrance and seal in the bats to a sure death.
Then there is the newly discovered disease called White Nose Syndrome. It has effected 9 different species of bats, Our family of bats just happens belong to one of those species. This disease has killed over a million bats since 2007. I don't know who goes around counting dead bats but someone sure does. Probably one of those jobs no one wants but someone has to do it. We fear our family of bats has become victim of one of these two bat killers. They have not appeared this year as they usually do.
White Nose Syndrome causes emaciation that robs the bat of fat that is needed to survive the winter and hibernation. Bats are said to eat 1 1/2 times of their body weight in mosquitoes a night. They are beneficial in eating harmful or annoying insects. The symbiotic relationship between bats and farmers is now at great risk. Their loss will put crop production in jeopardy and chemicals will have to be employed to a greater extent than they already are. Bats are beneficial and we actually miss our bat family that has lived at our house for many years up until this year. Hopefully we will be able to attract more but with all they have to face just to survive, it is doubtful.
It seems that we are constantly trying to improve on mother nature and when we do we mess things up worse than if we had left them alone to balance themselves. One day I fear we will wake up and be on the extinction list ourselves.