[Market-farming] Bats for cucumber beetles

Steve Diver steved at ncat.org
Wed Nov 29 14:04:57 EST 2006


The basic approach is "build it and they will come".

I know farmers that erect bat houses as one the pillars
of farmscaping for biological insect control.

There might be an interesting correlation to
high altitude bats and high altitute cucumber
beetles, flying on air currents.

Spotted cuke beetles overwinter in the South,
then migrate into northern states. 

One study showed that spotted cuke beetles can
travel 500 miles in 3 or 4 days by high-altitude air
currents.

Same thing with corn earworms. The numbers
of corn earworms flying up from South Texas
and Mexico are astronomical.

Many studies have showed bats feed
on corn earworms, etc, at high altitudes. 

If you calculate the potential larva control for
striped cucumber beetle, the numbers are even
higher.

Spotted cuke beetles lay 200-300 eggs per
female and striped cuke beetles lay as many
as 1500 eggs per female.   These are laid in
clusters over a period of several weeks.

Cuke beetles are strong fliers and move from
field to field.  So bats can also catch them at
lower levels, swooping around with echolocation.

Steve Diver







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