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Home arrow Environment arrow Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

Combined Methods of Mitigation

In India, partially covering vulnerable sections of the canopy of fruit trees, illumination and scaring with noises saved 4.5, 6 and 11 % of the fruits of sapota, respectively (Chakravarthy and Girish 2003). However, the effectiveness of these methods was temporary, and for longer term protection, three methods were recommended: planting non-commercial species of figs attractive to the bats; dividing orchards into smaller plots so that trees may be covered with sprigs of foliage, thatch or nylon net; and covering bunches of grapes with dry sprigs of foliage, netting, use of firecrackers or electric fencing. Also in India, Verghese (1998) found that grapes in vineyards could be protected from bat damage if nylon netting is erected around the trellis-grown bower up to bower height, combined with using twigs and briers to cover canopy gaps in the bower.

A combination of lights, noises and plastic flags is widely used in Mauritius (V. Tatayah, pers. comm.).

Biological Control Agent—Weaver Ants Oecophylla longinoda

During an interview survey in Guinea, west Africa, almost half of farmers reported that bats fear the weaver ant Oecophylla longinoda, and more than half appreciate that orchards with abundant weaver ants experience less fruit damage due to the ants' protective role, possibly because bats are repelled by the smell of the ants. However, 40 % of farmers also felt that the weaver ant itself is also a form of pest, as it rolls up leaves and is a nuisance during harvest (Van Mele et al. 2009). Yet this species is considered by entomologists and ecologists to be a potential biological control agent (Van Mele 2008). Lokkers (1990) has also suggested the potential of using weaver ants to reduce fruit damage by bats in Australia. However, this proposed method would require a native weaver ant species and requires further research and field trials.

 
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