Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses Page: 66
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66 TEXAS NATURE OBSERVATIONS AND REMINISCENCES.
stantly, more or less, invade the
towns voluntarily or by being car-
ried there by the elements. For
these reasons it is necessary that
for instance, the mosquito and fly
insects, be constantly given sani-
tary attention during the summer
and fall time and their breeding
places be kept clean and freely
sprinkled with coal oil or copperas
or carbolic acid, etc.
The writer, as far back as 1878
had read original essays before the
West Texas Medical Society and
other bodies on the importance of
being familiar with the fly and
mosquito genera and other insects
as factors in transmitting disease
upon human beings, and to study
their habits, propagation, prophy-
laxis, and extinction.
Among the large variety of
birds which kill and feed on in-
sects, one in particular is a great
destroyer of the mosquito family
and moths-the so-called bullbat,
or goatsucker, or night swallow,
of which several genera exist-a
bird of dark, speckled, reddish-
grey plumage; a large, flat head,
and enormous mouth when opened.
It is nocturnal in habits, and be-
longs to one of the very rare
birds which lay their eggs on the
bare ground, absolutely without
any nest, not even scraping the
ground or using any protection
This interesting and useful bird
has been more fully described and
depicted elsewhere herein.
When night approaches large
numbers of our bullbats can be
seen at nearly every tank or creek
swiftly flying in search of mos-
quito'es, gnats, moths, etc.,' and all
night long they are kept busy in
destroying such insects. When day
break appears they seek the lower
branches of a tree (mostly mes-
quite tree) and sit lengthwise on
such branch until perhaps dis-
turbed, when they spread their
long wings and slowly fly to some
other protected spot.
Of other species of night flyers,
the common bat takes a high place
as one of the most useful animals
in destroying insects, including
vast numbers of mosquitoes, and
gnats. Indeed, on account of the
large amount and the only food
they consume being insects of all
sorts, the bat has been lately
given closer consideration as
a sanitary scavenger by no one
less than our friend and townsman
Dr. C. A. R. Campbell, who has ar-
ranged and patented a practical
device for attracting and harbor-
ing bats by the wholesale, for the
purpose of ridding the surround-
ings of a community of mosquitoes
and other insects. The device is
so arranged that not only the hats
find a lodging place and multiply,
but the .bat manure or guano, from
such bats can be also gathered in
properly arranged barrels and
used as fertilizing material. At the
same time, Dr. Campbell suggests
an arrangement to protect the
small minnow fish in tanks and
creeks from feeding on the eggs
of the dragon fly-the latter also
being an enemy to the culex or
Practical demonstration, only of
course with extensive use of Dr.
Campbell's sugestions, will show
to what extent mosquitoes will be
exterminated by such device, but
the scheme is based on sound nrin-
ciples and it will be a great boon
to humanity indeed if successful.
Since above has been written,
I understand that the experiments
are being conducted with most
satisfactory results, and a large
bat-guano gathering establish-
ment and breeding house for bats
has been created at theGovern-
ment Experiment station on the
Corpus Christi road, and
also at the west side of
the hilly region facing Mitchell
Lake, one of the most prolific in-
sect breeding and marshy lagoons
10 miles south of San Antonio.
Now, let us see to what extent
Here’s what’s next.
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Menger, R. Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses, book, 1913; San Antonio, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143558/m1/70/?q=menger: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.