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Bless the Bats

By: Chris Bennett

Little bats play a giant role in agriculture.

They account for approximately a quarter of all mammals — a massive army that operates as the scourge of the insect world. Their appetite for insect destruction translates to about $3.7 billion worth of pest control in North America each year, and that estimate is probably on the low end.

Moths, beetles, stink bugs, leafhoppers and the rest — bats consume the crop-eaters without much discrimination. (Bats also pollinate over 300 types of fruit across the globe.)

From a 2011 report in Science: “Estimating the economic importance of bats in agricultural systems is challenging, but published estimates of the value of pest suppression services provided by bats ranges from about $12 to $173/acre (with a most likely scenario of $74/acre) in a cotton-dominated agricultural landscape in south-central Texas.”

Read more at Western Farm Press.

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