The Role of BatsBats play a crucial role in pest control, plan pollution and seed dispersal. Experts estimate that bats consume enough insects to save the U.S. corn industry $1 billion per year in crop damage. Across other agricultural system segments, bats save U.S. taxpayers more than $3 billion each year. While some varieties of bats eat harmful insects, others provide critical pollination to a multitude of plants. Bats are the primary pollinator of a variety of plants like bananas, agaves, and cloves. Further, bats are responsible for as much as 90% of the seed dispersal in rainforests worldwide.
- Pest control: Not all varieties of bats consume insects but the types that do are called insectivorous. Bats are active during the night and the pests they consume result in more than $4 billion worth of pest control annually in the U.S. When bats consume pests, farmers don’t need to spend as much money on pesticides and there are fewer insects around to damage crops.
- Pollinators: The tropical areas of North and South America are heavily reliant on bats for pollination and seed dispersal. Bats are the sole pollinators of many plants, such as the blue agave plant. Without bats, the agave plant would likely become existent within a short period.
- Seed dispersal: Not all bats eat insects. Many types of bats are herbivorous. Fruit-eating bats play a vital role in maintaining plants and forests by dispersing seeds. Without seed dispersal, plant diversity would suffer and some plants may become extinct.