Cathy Isom travels to the farm at night to find out why a spooky nighttime creature, that’s used to getting a bad rap, is now being praised for being beneficial to agriculture. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Once upon a time bats were not so beloved creatures, especially if found them hanging upside down outside the home or in dark places. They were also feared to be carrying rabies, which further tarnished their name. Who wouldn’t be a little scared with their various sizes – over 1300 species – and with wingspans that range from 4 to 6 feet wide.
It turns out, bats are really not that bad. In fact, you may want to find out how you can get these little guys, or big guys, to hang around your garden or any farm.
Why? For one, they exterminate pests. They are amazing insect hunters and are capable of eating a quarter of their own weight in insects every night.
Bats also like to pollinate plants, like bees. Bats are said to be nectar-loving creatures and are known to pollinate up to 700 species of plants. Some of their favorites include mangos, figs, avocados, peaches, and dates.
Another benefit of having bats around? They are great natural gardeners. While some bats do all of the pollinating, others prefer to go right for the fruit and eat it down to the seeds. Once they’ve finished with their meal they’ll fly around and deposit the seeds as they go. The seeds are then cultivated into the ground and new plants arise not long after.
Convinced yet? All you need to do bring these bats to your yard is build a simple bat box and raise it in a tree about 16 feet off the ground in a place with very little sunlight.
I’m Cathy Isom…