Download This Lesson: Bug Buster
Brief Description: Students will research, observe, and read for information on pest control, and nature’s food chain. Using this information students will understand and recognize that bats and other natural predators help control insect population and in doing so will find a deeper understanding of nature’s food chain.
Focus Skills: observing, researching, reading for information
- To recognize that bats help control the insect population
- To understand nature’s food chain
- How do bats help to control the insect population?
- What would happen to insect populations without natural predators such as bats?
- Bats help to control insect populations without using insecticides. Some species of bats are capable of eating 250 tons of insects in one night.
- If there were no natural predators such as bats, insects would overrun the world.
Although few people ever see a bat, many are afraid of them. Bats are often associated with witches, ghosts, and other scary things. In reality, these nocturnal creatures are shy and gentle animals. Like elephants, dogs, and cats, bats are mammals and not birds, like many people think. They are warm-blooded and give birth to live babies instead of hatching their babies from eggs as birds do. They are very special mammals because they are the only ones that can fly.
There are about 1,000 different kinds (species) of bats. Some are very small, like the hog-nosed bat that weighs less than 1/14 of an ounce.
Others can be quite large such as the great flying fox with its 5-foot wingspan.
Bats can live all over the world except on very cold continents like Antarctica. Whatever continent they inhabit, they are enormous insect-eaters. The Mexican free-tailed bat that lives in Texas eats almost 250 tons (227,000 kg) of insects in one night. The brown bat, which is the most common bat found in North America, can eat 600 insects an hour.
Bats are blind, but they are able to hunt using a special type of radar called echolocation. They can fly in complete darkness by emitting sound waves that bounce, or reflect, off objects. The reflected sound waves, or echoes, are heard by the bat and allow it to sense the position and size of objects. This is how they “see” in the dark.
Although most bats can live to be 10 to 14 years old, many bats are facing serious threats from human populations. Development destroys bat habitats along with air pollution and using pesticides to kill insects that damage crops. Without bats, the number of insects in the world would soar out of control as they lived and reproduced unchecked by natural predators. Bats play an important role in the balance of nature. In the United States, almost one half of all bat species are endangered.
balance when the predator population is the right size for the population of prey and vice-versa
bat a small, winged, nocturnal mammal
echolocation the method a bat uses to locate prey
insect a cold blooded animal with six legs that is usually hatched from an egg
insecticide a chemical used to control insect pests
mammal a warm blooded animal with a skeleton on the inside that gives birth to living young
nature the natural environment and its ecosystems that plants and animals, including us, inhabit
predator a creature that hunts other animals for food
prey animals hunted by others for food
reptile a cold blooded animal with a skeleton inside whose young hatch from eggs
Time: 30 to 45 minutes (additional time may be needed to complete the bat facts research project), Group Size: 2 to 25, Space: a classroom
- Izzy puppet *
- Overhead 1 “Biodiversity Pie” *
- Overhead 2 “A Bat” *
- Handout 1 “Bat Pattern” *
- multiple boxes of paper clips
- books Bats by Gail Gibbons or Stella Luna by Janell Cannon
* single copy provided
- Make copies of the bat pattern.
- Obtain the book Bats by Gail Gibbons or Stella Luna by Janell Cannon
Correlations to State of Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction
ELA = English Language Arts, HE/PE = Health Education and Physical Education, MA = Mathematics, SCI = Science, SS = Social Studies, VPA = Visual and Performing Arts
** Alignment possible only if lesson extension is done
Maine Learning Results
ELA – Reading Informational Texts
MA – B. Data
(**Extension: Students show tally results in a picture graph.)
ELA – Reading Informational Texts
MA – B. Data
(**Extension 3rd: Students show tally results in a bar graph.)
(**Extension 4th: Students show tally results in a bar graph.)
(**Extension 5th: Students show tally results in a line graph.)
SCE – A. Systems