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Bats and Agave

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

We occasionally have had parties watching chimney swifts descend into a towering chimney right on the same part of the house where female mother bats emerge to feed  -- they look like mercury oozing out between the clapboards. – both activities happening at the same time as dusks falls.  When we can safely be together again, we’ll return to hosting these viewing parties where we serve margaritas. I’ve found that bats are the pollinators for the agave plants from which tequila is made. They migrate following the progression of plants coming into flower. Commercial growers have started using vegetatively propagated cuttings drastically reducing the number of flowering agaves and limiting food for bats. Now you can buy bat friendly tequila brands produced by companies that  dedicate certain acreage to plants that are allowed to flower and support these beneficial flying mammals.

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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.