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Desert Red Bat

Bats are mammals, and members of the order Chiroptera. They are the second largest order of mammals in number of species. There are commonly found in caves.

Desert Red Bat

Desert Red Bat

A medium sized bat similar in appearance to the Desert red bat. Pelage coloration is rusty red to brownish and lacks the white-tipped hairs which gives the frosted appearance so characteristic of L. borealis. The posterior one-third of the interfemoral membrane is bare or only sparsely haired. L. blossevillii is slightly smaller than L. borealis and most cranial measurements (greatest length of skull, zygomatic breadth, mastoid breadth, and length of maxillary toothrow) are significantly smaller. External measurements average: total length, 103 mm; tail, 49 mm; foot, 10 mm; ear from notch, 13 mm; forearm, 40 mm.

Habits: Desert red bats appear to prefer riparian areas where they roost in tree foliage. In New Jersey and Connecticut this bat is occasionally captured in riparian habitats dominated by cottonwoods, oaks, sycamores, and walnuts and is rarely found in desert habitats. In Mexico, this bat has been captured in riparian, The Texas specimen was captured over permanent water in desert scrub habitat.

This bat appears to be migratory in the Northeastern United States. Specimens from Arizona, New Mexico, and the Texas specimen are all from summer. A winter withdrawal from this region to Mexico is likely.The food habits and reproductive biology of this bat are poorly known. Females pregnant with three fetuses have been captured, and pregnant bats from New Mexico have been caught from mid-May to late June. L. blossevillii may raise as many as three young annually with parturition occurring in mid-May through late June.

Life cycle:Rousettus aegyptiacus has a relatively short reproductive cycle. It has a 2-3 uninterrupted oestrus cycles . This rather high reproductive potential may actually be to their advantage. In Israel they were the target of a widespread chemical extermination. The bats were thought to be pests and a nuisance to farmers. The caves that they lived in were sprayed with the poison Lindane. This widespread fumigation lead to the elimination of some species of micro bats but it had little effect on the Egyptian fruit bat. It was proposed that the reason for the lack of effect was this higher reproductive rate .

Social System:The red bat is promiscuous. For most of its life, this species is solitary except during mating and when a female cares for her young. Temporary associations occur during foraging, and at least for some, during migration (groups of 100 have landed on ships 100 miles from the Atlantic coast). In some parts of the range, red bats swarm at the entrances to caves in August, although they do not use them as winter shelters. Swarming may facilitate mating.

 Desert Red Bat

Desert Red Bat

While the communication of this species has not been studied, several anecdotal observations suggest a role for vocal and chemical signals in regulating social encounters. Migrating individuals may select the same perches used by red bats during previous nights, perhaps responding to chemical cues placed on the perch. The four sets of facial glands are likely sources of substances. Caged red bats decoy free-ranging individuals, a fact that biologist use to their advantage when attempting to capture this species. In flight, red bats chirp and squeak, as well as emit pulses of high frequency sounds. When handled, they produce raspy, buzzy sounds.

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