Winegrowers Befriending Bats in France


In a very unexpected circumstance, French wine growers have found a friend in a specific animal family: bats. While it may not seem like there is a direct correlation between bats and wine production in France, it has been shown that they frequently help by providing population control of moths that otherwise prove detrimental to the wine growing process.

How does this happen? The specific types of moths that pose a threat to wine growers, grapevine moths and cochylis moths burrow holes in the vines, greatly affecting the rate at which wine can be produced.

According to a study, conducted by France’s Animal Protection League and Bird Protection League, it is now apparent that bats may be able to act as a natural way of taking care of moths without the use of potentially harmful pesticides. The study discovered this by observing bats from 23 different plots of land in Gironde, a southwest neighboring region to Bordeaux during the period of May to October 2017.

In some situations it was apparent that over 85% of local bat breeds were feeding on the moth populations, an unprecedented result showing how the bats can indeed contribute to a mutually beneficial ecosystem.

In an interview with AFP, Yohann Charbonnier, a member of the Bird Protection League, said that “We weren’t expecting so many species of bats to be frequenting the vines, which were not previously known for their biodiversity.”

It is too soon to say whether or not these results mean that bats should be used on a regular basis to deal with moth populations with regards to growing wine. Though they are helpful in this specific situation, bats are naturally more inclined to their natural habitat of being in the wild and will undoubtedly prefer that to any man-made situation.

This doesn’t mean there is no way to fuse an understanding of human practicality with natural occurrence, though. There simply needs to be more studies conducted, particularly from the perspective of the most efficient ways to encourage bats to feast on local moths.

Hopefully there is a solution in the future that will inspire farmers to drop the chemicals currently used when battling moth populations and begin utilizing a more natural way of population control!

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