Rabies and walnuts are not two items commonly discussed at the same time. It’s an odd combination to discuss for us as well. However, these two things have one very important thing in common; bats.
Santa Clarita Valley, California has officially surpassed the 50% mark of rabid bats for those tested this year. This is a staggering statistic given the fact that scientific research has proven that only between 3-5% of all bats have rabies. Why this percentage is so high in the Santa Clarita Valley is unclear but I do caution you to keep in mind this is only based off the bats caught and tested.
Before we go on a path of being afraid of bats as a whole I would like to discuss the benefits these bats have to one of California’s largest agricultural products.
Bats in California Agriculture
California produces almost all of the nation’s walnuts. The state’s farmers grow around 500,000 tons of walnuts on 290,000 acres with an annual crop value running around $2 billion every year. While not the largest crop to come out of California, it is by far the most valuable.
Walnuts are often besieged by the codling moth. The codling moth is the most threatening insect to walnut farmers because their larvae burrow into the walnuts. If the codling moth gets even a little out of control in a walnut orchard the results could be financially devastating. Here is where we cue the bats…
Walnut Orchard Pest Control
Bats are a natural form of pest control. Experts estimate nationwide that bats provide billions of dollars in pest control annually. Of the seven species of bats found in California only one, the Mexican Long-Tongued Bat, is a fruit eater and even this species will eat insects and pollen as well. The other six live strictly off of insects. A pregnant bat can eat up to 2/3 her body weight a night while out hunting.
Walnut orchard owners have believed in the power of encouraging bat colonies to stay on their property for years. Bat boxes are found in abundance on their orchards. But how do you measure exactly how much these bats are contributing to the farmers pest control? That’s easy, collect their guano.
Scientists from UC Davis have been out in force in the last month studying the impact these wonderful creatures have on walnut orchards. Collecting guano in a bag. Once the guano is collected they then take it back to their labs and test the guano for codling moth DNA. Cool, but gross.
Humane Bat Removal is Important
We certainly don’t want you to LIVE with bats in your home or business. But, before you set about trying to “exterminate” them, think of all the good they provide the economy.
We are experts at humane bat removal. Make sure whoever you have evaluating your bat issues practices an eco-friendly solution. If you find yourself in a situation and need to remove bats from your home or business, we’d love to help you find a humane solution to your bat problems.
Your local bat removal expert,