Houston's bat population hit hard by winter storm

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Thousands of Mexican Free-tail bats died all across Texas during last month's winter storm.

Many were reported dead or injured underneath Texas bridges and overpasses. Our colony under Houston's Waugh Bridge also took a hit.

We had people from multiple organizations and agencies working to get as many bats into rehab as possible.

Susanne Jurek, the communication chair with the Houston Area Bat Team, was there helping to rescue them.

"Most of the bats that were found dead were younger bats that were probably born last summer didn't have the experience to build up like they maybe should have," she said.

Most had dehydration issues, they were cold, and weak and some even suffered broken wings after falling.
It's still unclear just how many of these vital migratory bats Texas lost.

"It was significant to the number of bats that were here, but our colonies here were not at peak. They will be when all the bats migrating back from Mexico get here," Jurek explained.

She said they actually took a bigger hit during Hurricane Harvey.

Now to the other question, so what does this mean for the mosquito ridden-season?

We know the Mexican Free-tail bats are vital for our ecosystem eating many pesky insects and more.

"They provide amazing amount of pest control for our farmers," Jurek said.

Jurek said we will be just fine. Many of the Mexican Free-tail bats are still migrating.

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