Whether you prefer tasty hot chocolate, coconut cupcakes, or pumpkin rolls, be sure to thank pest-controllers (like bats!) for all their hard work in making your special snacks.
While pint-sized ghouls and goblins may not be going door-to-door this year, October is still the perfect month to enjoy some tasty treats. Whether you prefer tasty hot chocolate, coconut cupcakes, or pumpkin rolls, be sure to thank pest-controllers (like bats!) for all their hard work in making your special snacks.
Bats have a valuable role in helping farmers protect many crops from pests. Bats love to eat insects and can eat enormous numbers of bugs in a single night – including pests that feast on crop plants. By working as pest-control wonders, bats help farmers across the world reduce their need for strong pesticides.
Many farmers credit birds for chowing down on pesky critters, but scientific experiments have shown that in some regions, bats may be the true stars of insect control. In a Panama forest, research by Dr. Margareta Kalka and colleagues found the common big-eared bat’s (Micronycteris microtis) diet is 70 percent plant-eating insects. They discovered this using infrared video, since traditional methods of analyzing bats’ diets typically involve guano examination, and many soft-bodied insects, like caterpillars, are not very detectable with such methods.
A study conducted in Indonesia by researcher Dr. Bea Maas found when birds and bats were excluded from cacao crops, the yield went down 30 percent. Maas attributed 22 percent of that amount to bats scooping up the tasty insects that devour the plants. Together with birds, bats can play important roles in controlling pests and possibly increasing yields.
Celebrate bats’ hard work with a tasty dish like Batty Hot Chocolate, Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons, Quick Chocolate Banana Pie, or Pumpkin Chocolate Fudge from the Bat Week Cookbook.