What do you feel when you see a bat, not the baseball kind but the flying ones? Many people are afraid of bats, perhaps because they have watched too many vampire movies or possibly, the reason is that bats fly at night and are hard to see. However you look at it bats get a bad rep, why bad, because, like all living beings they perform a function and we humans, all too often are unaware of what that function is, or what will happen when a particular species no longer exists.
Take the case of the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). This is the bat most of us are likely to have met , one way or another, as the little brown bat has adapted well to human settlements, being fond of building walls and warm attics. Both of which provide it with a relatively safe shelter from the elements and enemies.
However, this may not be much of a problem for home owners, as the little brown bat is dying from a fungus-like disease called white nose syndrome, which is believed to have traveled from Europe to North America.
In New Brunswick for example, according to the CBC, the population of little brown bats has been nearly wiped out. .
Now, if you hate bats, you may say, so, that is good news but consider this, bats eat insects and are therefore, a natural means of insect control. The little brown bat dines on moths, beetles, caddis flies, mayflies, termites, leafhoppers, midges, and mosquitoes. Although given a choice between moths and mosquitoes, the bat is going for the moth, just like I would for a steak over a hot dog.
Many of the bugs the bat eats are the same ones that enjoy devouring our gardens and chowing down on the vegetables meant for our table. So the bats are protecting our food supply.
If the grower loses the assistance the bats provide, it is possible that the grower will have to rely on pesticides to get the job done. This will increase the cost of food production, a cost that will eventually make its way to your table.
Another, and perhaps even more important cost, is the harm that pesticides do to the environment. Do we really want to spray artificial chemicals on the food we consume when there is a natural way to get the job done?
All living things play a role in our world, we are all inhabiting an ecosystem that is replete with interactions and connections, many of which we cannot even identify. The saying everything is connected is right on.