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Helping the Bats



You don’t want bats in the house. You may not like them hanging out in the barn. But they can be a big help on the farm even if agriculture isn’t always helpful to the bats. But some farmers are learning how to help bats, so bats can support them.


Bats help farmers by protecting crops by eating insects and other pests. They also help to pollinate crops. But farming can take away foraging and roosting habitat.


RELATED: Science Direct has background on bats’ diet and behavior. Learn about that here. 


Modern Farmer shows how some farmers use bats instead of pesticides to control insects. Bats like to munch on corn earworms, which are a significant threat to popcorn’s development.


Pecan farmers can also use bats as protection. Bats prey on walnut caterpillars, which are among the insects that feed on the pecan crop.


RELATED: Modern Farmer talks to farmers who utilize bats to pollinate crops and reduce their reliance on pesticides in exchange for providing the bats with the environment that they need to flourish. Read that article here. 


Bats can save farmland owners money, as well. “By eating insects, bats save U.S. agriculture billions of dollars per year in pest control,” The U.S. Geological Society reported.


Studies vary widely according to the USGS. But those studies show that bats could provide farmers with a service that is worth anywhere between $3.7 billion and $53 billion per year.


But the USGS said those figures don’t fully value the bats’ overall contributions. “This value does not, however, take into account the volume of insects eaten by bats in forest ecosystems and the degree to which that benefits industries like lumber. It also doesn’t take into account the critical importance of bats as plant and crop pollinators.”


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American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains

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