2017 National Bat Week


WHEREAS, there are seventeen species of bats in Virginia; and

WHEREAS, recent bat population decreases due to White-nose Syndrome and other factors require attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems and to protect environmental and human health concerns; and

WHEREAS,bats provide important ecological services that contribute substantially to the economy of the Commonwealth and the United States by protecting American forests and agriculture from crop-damaging insect pests; and

WHEREAS, a single colony of 150 big brown bats is estimated to eat nearly 1.3 million insects each year, possibly contributing to the local disruption of population cycles of agricultural pests and other pests, including corn earworm moths, June beetles, click beetles, spotted cucumber beetles, Asiatic oak weevils, and green stinkbugs; and

WHEREAS, bats may consume up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour, which may lower the health risks associated with mosquito borne diseases; and

WHEREAS, the estimated value of pest suppression services provided by bats in agricultural areas is approximately $74 per acre for a total savings to Virginia farmers of over $600 million across the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, bats provide pest suppression services to forested lands, but, since no scientifically based estimates of savings per acre exist, one could safely assume the savings to forest landowners could be comparable to the agricultural savings; and

WHEREAS, the development of sonar for ships was partially inspired by bat echolocation systems, and modern research of bat echolocation and locomotion provided inspiration for technological advances in biomedical ultrasound, sensors for autonomous systems, and wireless communication; and

WHEREAS, it is important to continue federal and state efforts, including developing new public-private partnerships and increasing citizen engagement, to promote the health of bat populations; increase the quality and quantity of bat roosting and foraging habitat; and help restore bat populations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize October 24-31, 2017, as NATIONAL BAT WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.