The Benefits of Bats

You can’t have a party without
bats. True story. Bats bring the party. Globally bats, pollinate 300 to 500
species of plants. This includes agave. You want the tequila at your party? Avocado, if you want guacamole, they pollinate the avocados. Mango, you want mango salsa? You need it. They also pollinate cocoa beans, so if
you want chocolate we’re going to need bats. They’ll eat the fruit in the forest and
then fly across open lands where they clear-cut complete rainforest and poop
out those seeds. They reforest 99 percent of the forest globally, so that’s just really important. They feed on crop pests and they also
feed on mosquitoes, so one bat can eat a thousand to three thousand mosquitoes a night. If we didn’t have bats, it would greatly
increase for the agricultural industry the amount of pesticides needed
in order to grow and keep the crop production to the extent it is now. That would take me a ton of time to do. I would never have the time to do all of that. We also do passive monitoring, which is a
bat detector that you can leave on site. It looks a lot like an animal cam and
so we just hook them up on trees at a variety of locations and what we do with that is we monitor bats’ migration patterns. Particularly what we use it for
is to be part of the greater Chicagoland network on bat monitoring to collect
data that is necessary to control habitat or provide the necessary habitat
for the existence of bats. Over time after we get a couple years,
we’ll be able to tell a lot of information and the combination of all of
the data that we collect, the echometer data, the anabat data, the passive and
the active bat monitoring that we did with the mist netting and that older
version of the anabat, all of that data combined can tell us a lot of things. It can tell us what bats are here, the relative abundance of them, and then over
time we will be able to see if let’s say the white-nose syndrome that’s affecting
bats right now, we’ll be able to see if those species are
declining here in Will County because of all the monitoring we’re doing. We’ve done everything humanely possible
to try to get them to relocate, but they have decided otherwise. The bats definitely shown their signs that they have no interest in moving out. Just given the design of the shelter, it
is a old CCC shelter and it has little nooks and crannies and within the
shelter that the bats find favorable. Big browns are probably the most common
bat and probably because they’re a species that roost in colonies that
they have female, like the maternity colonies, so when you come across big
brown bats, you will get a lot of them at one time. Big brown specialize in hard bodied bugs. They like grasshoppers or
corn earworm. So that’s what they specialize in. Little brown bats are the
mosquito specialist, so it’d be great if we had some colonies of little brown
bats here in Will County, but to the best of my knowledge we just got some bachelors. Most of my recordings are just like a handful of little brown bats. They are all very important. We need bats.

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