WNPR

Report: Fewer Bats, More Bugs, Big Problem

Jul 11, 2017

Bats eat an enormous amount of bugs. It’s the kind of feeding that keeps pests down and agriculture stable.

But a newly updated report from the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality says the cave-dwelling bat population is down, and that’s a reason for concern.

“I know bats are not the most loved creatures by everyone, but they have a big role to play in the ecology of Connecticut,” said Karl Wagener, the council’s executive director. “There are so many fewer bats out there than there used to be… Of the eight species of bats that live in Connecticut, there’s only one that’s not classified as a either endangered or of special concern.”

Wagener’s report from June says that the relative lack of bats at night means nocturnal moths and beetles are able to spread unchecked.

“The impacts to agriculture, which people don’t think about much, are huge,” Wagener said. “In the billions of dollars. Because so many insect pests are...booming because they’re not getting preyed upon by bats.”

A fungal disease called white-nose syndrome has decimated the bat population, attacking them while they hibernate. The populations of some cave-dwelling species have declined by 90 percent.