Sullivan Catskills Bats are Our Buddies
Sullivan Catskills resident Truth Muller is on a mission: to change how people view bats. As the founder of Buddies for Bats, Truth is a community ambassador for these furry flying mammals. In Truth’s eyes, bats are our friends – not frightening foes. In fact, if you love local produce, you should REALLY buddy up to bats because they help farmers across the world. According to Truth:
“Bats absolutely benefit farmers, be they casual gardeners or major operations with acres of crops.”
#1 Bats Save the US Agriculture Industry $22.7 Billion Per Year
The savings come from the fact that bats eat insect pests, this saves valuable crops from destruction and cuts down on costly pesticides.
Insects that bats eat locally include the Corn Earworm Moth, which grows from a caterpillar that is one of the #1 enemies of corn growers (the bats eat the moths before they lay eggs in the corn, thus destroying hundreds of future corn-munchers at a time!), Cucumber Beetles, Cutworms (attacks beans), Leafhoppers, Stinkbugs (various plants including apples, peaches, cotton, peppers, berries, and beans), and June Beetles including the invasive Japanese Beetle which attacks everything right down to your rose bushes!
#2 Nature’s Mosquito Killers
We of course cannot forget mosquitoes, which a big brown bat, one of New York’s most common species, can pack away 1,000 of every night. All of this adds up to hundreds of thousands of tons of insects removed naturally from the food chain, and reduces the prevalence of diseases such as malaria, zika, and west nile virus across the globe by large percentages.
#3 Bats are One of the World’s Four Greatest Pollinators
In addition, bats in Southern states, rainforests and the tropics are one of the world’s four greatest pollinators, on par with butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. They are responsible for the continued existence of over 500 species of plants, including such notable flora as the Saguaro Cactuses (centerpiece of a national park and nesting habitat for Gila Woodpeckers, Pygmy Owls and Cactus Wrens), the Agave Plant (tequila & sweeteners!), mangoes, bananas, sisal (rope) and the Kapok tree (buoyant stuffing for life preservers and jackets).
#4 Rainforest Regrowth
Last but not least, 95% of all rainforest regrowth can be traced back to fruit bats, which eat hundreds of species of fruit and spread the seeds, combatting deforestation and helping to restore the source of 40% of the oxygen we breath. We would be living in quite a different world if not for bats!