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Florida Official Wants To Use Bats To Reduce Mosquitoes

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
University of Florida
The Florida Channel
A bat house managed by the University of Florida stands in a field.

A Florida official has proposed using bats to reduce mosquito populations.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla says she is working with the Florida Bat Conservancy to install bat houses across her district. Bats are touted as an environmentally-friendly way to fight mosquitoes, which are related to illnesses such as Zika and West Nile.

A National Institutes of Health study says bats can eat hundreds of mosquitoes per hour. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bats are the nation's most common source of human rabies, of which there are about two cases per year.

County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says she'd rather be bitten by mosquitoes than get rabies, referencing a local 6-year-old Florida boy who died in January after contracting rabies from a bat.