An educational release about bats and spiders, published around Halloween.

Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources News Release Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Spiders and bats are Halloween spooks, but actually benefit people Oct. 15, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Hayley Lynch 1-800-858-1549, ext. 4493 Frankfort, Ky. – Halloween abounds with images of creepy, crawly critters and spooky ghosts, witches and black cats. Two common themes are bats and spiders. Both of these critters make most people cringe. But they also benefit humans. “Spiders play a tremendous role, probably more than any other animal group on earth, in controlling insect populations,” explained John MacGregor, a biologist in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ wildlife diversity program. “Most people just don’t like them – probably because they have more than two legs.” Despite a spider’s unsettling appearance, people are probably more comfortable with spiders around. Consider a walk in the woods. Many hikers hate accidentally walking through a spider web. But that hike could result in far more insect bites if the eight-legged creatures weren’t nearby. “Members of the orb-weaver family spin those webs that catch people’s faces. They also control flies and mosquitoes around the trail,” MacGregor said. “I’d rather have some spider web on my face than mosquitoes and deer flies on my neck.” Despite their benefits, people should be cautious around the brown recluse, black widow and sac spiders, all of which are common in Kentucky. “All spiders are venomous, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s how they subdue their prey,” said MacGregor. “But there are some groups that have pretty serious bites.”
Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources News Release  Kentucky Afield Outdoors  Spiders and bats are Halloween spook...
To keep the leggy critters outside where they belong, maintain your house’s weather stripping and make sure windows are shut tightly. According to MacGregor, spraying insecticide does little to control spiders around your home. But your house should harbor few spiders if it is kept weather-tight. Another symbol of Halloween is the seemingly spooky bat. Many myths abound surrounding this creature. “People think they all have rabies,” said Traci Hemberger, also a wildlife diversity biologist with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “But the incidence of rabies in bats is about one-half of one percent.” Hemberger said it’s also a common myth that bats get in people’s hair and even lay eggs. A lot of people think they are birds. Bats are flying mammals, however, and therefore do not lay eggs. People sometimes believe that bats feed on blood. However, only three of the world’s more than 1,000 bat species do so. Those bats feed on the blood of animals, not humans, and the species don’t even occur in the United States. Also, bats don’t attack humans as some people think. It’s more a matter of people being in lighted places at night. “Insects hang out around light sources at night, so this attracts bats,” said Hemberger. “Bats have erratic flight when they’re catching insects, so that spooks people.” Before you wish those swooping creatures away, however, remember that a bat can eat 3,000 pesky, biting bugs in a single night. They eat fruit and spread seeds throughout tropical rainforests. They pollinate and maintain the genetic diversity of bananas, cashews and figs in the wild. In fact, bats are so important that an outbreak of white-nose syndrome in the northeastern United States is causing major concern among biologists. “We’ve lost over a million bats in the northeast over the last few years, and the disease seems to be coming down this way,” said Hemberger. “They say you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. We’d have a lot more insects if it weren’t for bats.” So this Halloween, when you see spooky bats or creepy spiders adorning someone’s house, remember that these species are actually beneficial to us.
To keep the leggy critters outside where they belong, maintain your house   s weather stripping and make sure windows are ...
Though shadowed in myth and misconception, they play their own important part in our world. Author Hayley Lynch is an award-winning writer and associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She loves deer hunting, shotgun sports and introducing women to the outdoors. (Editors: Photos are available by emailing hayley.lynch@ky.gov.) -30The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. For more information on the department, visit our web site at fw.ky.gov.
Though shadowed in myth and misconception, they play their own important part in our world.  Author Hayley Lynch is an awa...