2 May 2008

First bees die, now bats?

Having just posted on this blog an item on bees, I again have talked with a guy in Australia who is offering to come over in the next month and talk about how he is preventing bee colony die off - he needs two hives with numbers going down - please contact me if you are interested in being part of the experiment.

Meanwhile interest in bees has been very strong locally amongst Green party members and my email box so there are now talks of a public meeting, seminar or conference later in the summer. Again if you are interested in helping please let me know and I can put you in touch with the possible organisers.

Anyway one item that was posted to me in response to the last item re bees was that a similar situation is arising with bats - and of course others have talked about bird populations falling. While I am not sure I wholly agree with Homeopath Heidi Stevenson's comments re bees, she wrote mainly concerning bats: "(bats) are the world's greatest insect eaters. A single nursing bat can eat half its weight in insects every day. A small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in an hour. The implications for agriculture are enormous. The spread of severe communicable diseases could be devastating. The epicenter of this annihilation is New York, but there are reports of die offs from as far away as Texas. Reports began trickling in last year. It started with hikers noticing dead and dying bats littered outside the caves where they hibernate. They do not normally fly during the winter or daytime, and it was quickly realized that bats flying when they should be hibernating do not survive. They are, therefore, being called 'dead bats flying'. The loss of bats has cascaded this winter to the point where researchers are expressing fear that an extinction is underway."

No-one is clear of the causes of die-off - the use of pesticides has been suggested - starvation is thought to be the primary cause of death as dead bats' fat reserves are depleted. Whether this is the result of infection, toxins, or loss of food is unknown.
"So far as we can tell at this point, this may be the most serious threat to North American bats we’ve experienced in recorded history."
The president of Bat Conservation International, Merlin Tuttle
Bats are significant controllers of many crop-destructive insects so the implications could be very grave - massive mosquito outbreaks are forecast. See full article here and click on label below for further info re bees.

No comments: