Volume 36
Issue 3

Im looking forward to the end of October. Not just because my daughters are going to dress up as Moana and as Rey from Star Wars and go door to door trick-or-treating, but because every year, in the week leading up to Halloween, BCI celebrates something that has a chance to bring more eyes to all the great things bats do for us, and that is something called Bat Week.

Bat Week uses the opportunity of the Halloween season to educate people about our winged friends the bats. This year, with support from great partners like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service, the focus will be on bats and agriculture.

That makes sense because, as you will read in this issue of Bats magazine, bats provide a huge service to agricultural communities across the United States. At BCIs Bracken Cave just outside of San Antonio, the bats stream out over Texas farm fields to consume 300,000 pounds of bugs each and every night during the growing season. That adds up to real economic benefits. A 2011 study found that bats may be worth as much as $23 billion in pest control services to Americas farmers.

There is another way that agriculture plays an important role in the lives of bats. For some crops, like the agave used to make tequila, the production process can limit the habitat needed for nectar-feeding bats. That is why the Tequila Interchange Project, being led by BCI Science Advisor Dr. Rodrigo Medellin and leading sustainable-tequila importer David Suro, is working to encourage sustainable production of agave and helping producers market their product as bat-friendly tequila.

We will be looking to use Bat Week to call attention to the importance of agave for bat conservation and to the many benefits bats provide to farmers. I hope you will join me in spreading the message, at your bat-themed Halloween party, over the candlelight of a jack-o-lantern, while responsibly sipping sustainable bat-friendly spirits.

Mike Daulton
BCI Executive Director