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How Bats Hunt

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Flying around all night is pretty exhausting for bats and many of them roost for periods of time to conserve energy. Perch and wait is a strategy to sit, or rather hang upside down, until an insect flies by. Bats also use their incredible hearing to locate insects that are walking around on crop or tree leaves and then swoop down and pluck them off the actual plants. This ability means that caterpillars and other larval forms of insects that don’t fly or even adults that seldom fly are a large part of bat diets, even ants on the ground are eaten as bats are incredibly maneuverable in flight. Bats value in pesticide use reduction is easier to measure in agricultural crops but Susan Loeb, US Forestry Agent stationed at Clemson, said they are equally important in eating harmful insects in our woodlands.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.