Archive for May 30th, 2012

Bats and Agriculture

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

This is Passport to Texas

Millions of Mexican Free-tailed bats are back in Texas where they will bear young and eat tons of pesky insects.

05—The Mexican free-tailed bat in particular is really valuable for agricultural purposes.

Meg Goodman is a bat biologist.

13—Current research has shown that these bats can save farmers up to two sprays of pesticides per year because of all the insect pests that they’re eating. They’re eating things like the corn earworm moth and the cotton boll worm moth, among other crop pest species.

In addition to eating their weight in crop pests and other annoying insects, their nightly flights from inside caves and under bridges attract tourists.

14—Just their numbers and nightly emergences bring in a lot of tourist dollars to a lot of small communities and big communities like Austin. It’s one of our top tourist destinations right here in Austin. But they do provide a lot of dollars through nature tourism through a lot of our smaller communities throughout the state.

The Ann Richards Congress AV Bridge in Austin is home to more than 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats.

Beginning in late spring, people line the bridge to witness adult bats emerge about sunset and head to the agricultural land east of Austin where they begin their nightly feeding.

Our show receives support from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program…which funds conservation projects throughout Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.