Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bat Die-Off Great Concern

The news hasn't ended on the bee die-off which affects so many of our crops, and now there's great concern about bats. The bat loss implications for agriculture are enormous.

This massive bat die-off in the United States is threatening and nobody knows why yet. The epicenter of this is New York, but reports of die-offs are coming in from as far away as Texas.

Reports began trickling in last year. The loss of bats has cascaded this winter to the point where researchers are expressing fear that an extinction is underway.

The spread of severe communicable diseases could be devastating. Bats are the world's greatest insect eaters. A small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in an hour.

The cause is unknown, but it's thought to be the result of a fungus, but this is only a symptom of an underlying problem, as yet unknown. Theories include virus and bacterial infections since many bats have been found with pneumonia, but it's a secondary symptom, like the fungus.

A more likely cause is the increased use of pesticides introduced to stop West Nile Virus. Bats are sensitive to the same toxins used to kill insects, just as we humans are.

The Little Brown Bat has sustained the largest number of deaths.

It could be that the bats are starving from lack of insects since they have been found flying about during the day which would indicate they were working overtime for a food supply.

This would be the worst possible cause since the ultimate effect of all pesticides has been the development of pesticide-resistant insects. If the bats disappear because of starvation, then eventually, when the insects have become resistant, there will be nothing to control them.

Pesticides are also linked as a possibile reason for the bee die-off.

Read the entire article.

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