Yes, yes I do--and it's likely you do, too.

In the spring and summer, when it’s not too terribly hot, we'll sit on the porch in the evenings and enjoy the peacefulness that comes with the end of a busy day. The last bit of sunlight puts on quite a show as it peaks through the large trees from the west. Just as it begins to get dim, another little show begins. Bats! A while back I was visiting with my mother and sister and I made a comment about these bats, to which my mother exclaimed, “You have bats!?”

So, what is the deal with these bats? Are these Dracula bats? Should we run for the hills? Everyone protects your jugular! Maybe not. Let’s shed some light — er, darkness on the subject.

A quick peek on the internet reveals that moviemakers in Hollywood weren’t the first to villain-ize these little flying creatures. European cultures viewed bats as malicious, associating them with death and darkness. According to Wikipedia, even American Indian tribes like the Creek, Cherokee, and Apache considered the bat, “a trickster spirit.” In China, a much different view exists that “bats have been associated with happiness, joy and good fortune.”

That’s all well and good, but what of these little guys who dip and dive over our East Texas homes every evening? According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, these are known as Evening Bats, or Nycticeius humeralis. Uh, we’ll stick with Evening Bats. Our little bats do something fantastic. Rather than morphing in and out of a Dracula persona —they eat insects. Not only that, but they flitter about using sound waves to find things like mosquitoes, flying ants, and other flying insects. I don’t know about you, but one thing we could use less of is MOSQUITOES!

These bats are found all over the country, not just in foreboding caves and castles. Actually, they hang out in trees in our part of the country. If they run short of trees, they will set up shop in your barn or shed. Don’t worry, they really aren’t interested in you.

So, there you have it. “You have bats!?” Yes, and so do you. Turns out they do a darn lot of good and are rather entertaining to watch in the evenings.