Economic importance of bats in the ‘billions a year’ range

April 1, 2011 TENNESSEE – Bats in North America are under a two-pronged attack but they are not the only victim — so is the U.S. economy. Gary McCracken, head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, analyzed the economic impact of the loss of bats in North America in agriculture and found it to be in the $3.7 to $53 billion a year range. Since 2006, more than a million bats have died due to a fungal disease called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). At the same time, several migratory tree-dwelling species are being killed in unprecedented numbers by wind turbines. This hurts the economy because bats’ diet of pest insects reduces the damage the insects cause to crops and decreases the need for pesticides. According to the researchers, a single colony of 150 big brown bats in Indiana eat nearly 1.3 million insects a year — insects that could potentially be damaging to crops. WNS infects the skin of bats while they hibernate. Some species such as the little brown bat are likely to go extinct in parts of North America. The disease has quickly spread from Canada to Tennessee, Missouri and Oklahoma and actions to slow or stop it have proven unsuccessful. It is unknown how many bats have died due to wind turbines, but the scientists estimate by 2020, wind turbines will have killed 33,000 to 111,000 annually in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands alone. Why migratory tree-dwelling species are drawn to the turbines remains a mystery. “Not acting is not an option because the life histories of these flying, nocturnal mammals — characterized by long generation times and low reproductive rates — mean that population recovery is unlikely for decades or even centuries, if at all,” said McCracken. –Science Daily
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Environmental Threat, Food chain unraveling, Mass animal deaths. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Economic importance of bats in the ‘billions a year’ range

  1. Bogdan Asciu says:

    The turbines probably give off a high frequency sound from the generator or from the wing tips moving at high speed… (even if the center of the propeller is turning slow, at 75 ft the tip of each blade is moving at an extremely high speed, cutting the air and potentially making an ultrasonic sound that attracts or better yet, disorients the bats.)

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  2. Byron Wilkins says:

    Another part of our fragile earth meeting it’s untimely death, they just keep adding up. The bats are going to cause more famine for many people. I have been watching the event unfold for a couple years now and can’t help but wonder if the bugs they eat have not already consumed a toxic cocktail of pesticides that won’t kill the bats right away but mutate them enough to become sick and die from thier food source. Maybe there immune systems were always able to fight this enemy but now are comprimised. Just like barium in chemtrails does to ours.

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