Butte County Calif.-- This week's warmer weather is likely to cause a breeding ground for mosquitoes but nature has its own way of combating the pesky bugs: bats.
Turns out, these nocturnal creatures are extremely beneficial, especially to Butte County's agricultural enterprises.
25 different species call California home, and they play an essential role to our local ecosystem.
Typically out and about at night, bats regularly have to beat a 'bad rap' as creatures who would pose a threat, but researchers stress that bats in our area are a good thing.
Butte college bat researcher Dr. Shahroukh Mistry presented an informational session on bats as part of the Butte County master gardeners series taking place at Patrick Ranch.
He explains, the role of bats is crucial to the regional agricultural system.
He says the creatures consume large amounts of insects and serve as a natural population control for mosquitoes.
Bats help pollinate valuable crops and because they do eat so many bugs, he says they provide a huge economic benefit to the region. because we live in an agricultural area, a lot of the insects they consume are insects that might affect crop production.
"In Butte County alone we estimate that there's about a 1.4 million dollar year benefit of having bats in this already," said Mistry.
Mistry has spent much of his career studying bats and is currently studying bat diversity in Butte County.
To those still uncertain about bats, Dr. Mistry says if you do come across a bat - on the ground or it appears sick, don't handle the creature - there are cases of bats carrying rabies, but he says less than 1% of bats carry the disease.