A study out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale suggests that bats save farmers across the globe from the loss of $1 billion a year in crop damages.
Graduate Student Josiah Maine’s study found that crops that were protected from bats had a corn earworm population 60 percent higher than crops exposed to bats.
Graves County Ag Extension Agent Trent Murdock said most corn in western Kentucky is genetically modified to resist such pests. But, he said, the benefits from species that feed on agricultural pests should not be undervalued.
“The more natural predation we have on the pest insects the better off we are, the less insecticides we have to use,” Murdock said. “They’re important parts of our ecosystems. You know, the help keep insect pressures off of other plants not just crop plants.”
The study, funded by Bat Conservation International, also found bat’s reduction of pests led to lower crop fungus rates.