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Northern Yellow 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.

Northern Yellow Bat

Northern Yellow Bat

Clumps of Spanish moss make good daytime roosting places for northern yellow bats. Small groups of males or slightly larger groups of females are often found roosting together in forested areas near a permanent source of water. They are seldom found roosting in houses or other manmade structures. They feed over open spaces: they are seen over golf courses, beaches, and along the edges of ponds, hunting for mosquitoes, flies, and other insect prey. Barn owls are known to prey on them. Unlike most other Lasiurus bats, they have only two nipples, and if a female gives birth to more than two offspring, usually only two survive. Young are born in May or June and are flying by June or July.

A large, yellowish-brown bat with short ears and long, silky fur; membranes brownish; membrane between hind legs well haired on basal third or half, the terminal half and underside are nearly naked. Dental formula as in L. ega. External measurements average: total length, 140 mm; tail, 51 mm; foot, 11 mm; forearm, 58 mm.

Habits: Little is known about this uncommon bat. The distribution of this bat in the United States closely coincides with that of Spanish moss, which is its preferred roosting site. In South Texas, however, these bats roost in palm trees, where they are well concealed beneath the large, drooping fronds. A single roosting site may contain several bats and such groups are often quite noisy, especially when young are present, and their bickering gives them away from below. Migration and winter habits are poorly known.

Northern yellow bats forage over open, grassy areas such as pastures, lake edges, golf courses, and along forest edges. In Florida they often form groups while feeding. Such foraging groups are segregated by sex; males are rarely found in such groups, and they seem to be more solitary in their habits than are females. Specific prey items include leafhoppers, dragonflies, flies, diving beetles, ants, and mosquitoes.

Northern Yellow Bat

Northern Yellow Bat

Life cycle:Like many species of the Family Vespertilionidae, this species breeds in the fall but fertilization and embryo development do not occur until the following spring. (This phenomenon is called “delayed fertilization.”) Two or three young are born in late May or June. Young of the year have been taken in flight as early as June. Females do not carry their young on nocturnal feeding flights, but may transport them from daytime roosts if disturbed. Females may join together to form a “nursery colony” in the spring and summer.

The Northern Yellow Bat generally inhabits hardwood and pine forests near permanent water, but has also been found in palm groves. Clumps of Spanish Moss Tillandsia usneoides form a favored daytime roost, but trees are used as well. The Northern Yellow Bat is generally solitary during the warm months, with the exception of nursery colonies of females. During the winter months it will congregate in small colonies in the northern portions of its range. The Northern Yellow Bat can be active all year, except during periods on the coldest nights in the winter when it will remain in its roost in a torpid condition. This species forages at night at heights of 4.6 – 6.1 m (15 – 20 ft) over meadows and above the treetops along lake and forest edges. It feeds on flies, dragonflies, beetles, true bugs, and wasps. The Barn Owl is a known predator of Northern Yellow Bats.

Re-Production: Lasiurus intermedius breeds in late fall; however, fertilization and embryo development do not occur until the following spring (specifically referred to as “delayed fertilization”). The females generally carry 3-4 embryos, but only 2-3 young are born. Birth occurs in late May/early June. The young are born naked and helpless with small and undeveloped wings, but they mature and grow rapidly and are generally able to take to flight by late June of the year they are born. The complete extent of the mating season and its reproduction is not fully understood. The females do not take the young out on nocturnal flights but may transport them if the daytime roosts are disturbed.

Northern Yellow Bat

Northern Yellow Bat

Conservation Status: Lasiurus intermedius is generally considered to be a rare bat, although it is common across the state of Florida. Its major population threat comes from the destruction of their habitats (forest trees, palms, etc.) by humans. Temperate North American bats are now threatened by a fungal disease called “white-nose syndrome.” This disease has devastated eastern North American bat populations at hibernation sites since 2007. The fungus, Geomyces destructans, grows best in cold, humid conditions that are typical of many bat hibernacula.

The fungus grows on, and in some cases invades, the bodies of hibernating bats and seems to result in disturbance from hibernation, causing a debilitating loss of important metabolic resources and mass deaths. Mortality rates at some hibernation sites have been as high as 90%. While there are currently no reports of Lasiurus intermedius mortalities as a result of white-nose syndrome, the disease continues to expand its range in North America.

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