By, Holly Michaels
In many cultures across the world, bats are symbols of good luck and happiness. That comes from the recognition that bats help flowers, fruits and other crops by pollinating plants, dispersing seeds and eating agricultural pests. Healthy crops and bigger harvests brought wealth, health and happiness.
This is especially true in China and Japan. The Chinese word for bat means “good luck” and both cultures have honored bats for centuries in their art, buildings, fabrics and stories. In China, bats are often carved into the beautiful designs of temples and homes. Mothers may sew tiny carved bats made of green jade onto their babies’ hats.
Throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, bats help maintain ecological balance, in tandem with bees, birds and other wildlife. For thousands of years, people have understood bats are essential to communities and ecosystems.
In the Pacific Northwest, bats are insect-eaters and provide impressive pest control to farmers, saving millions of dollars each year. Studies by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture show that nationally, bats save farmers $3 Billion per year in crop damage and pesticide costs. Worldwide, the savings rise to $53 Billion.
Locally, we can help our communities, farms and backyard gardens to thrive by providing healthy habitat for our 3 small but mighty champions—hummingbirds, bees and bats! That trio certainly gives us an extra dose of luck!
A great place to start if you want more information on bats is to visit the Bat Conservation International website at www.batcon.org. Our BYBS stores have a wide selection of bat houses and tips for creating a bat-friendly habitat.
P.S. If you love chocolate or tequila…thank a bat. Batman will be proud of you.