Tuesday, March 25, 2008

As Bats Disappear, New York State May Be in For a Bad Summer

In today's New York Times there is a story which could not be more dire. It spells certain concern for farmers throughout the Hudson River Valley, farms throughout New York State, especially on the eastern side of the state, and New England. The effects on grape growers and vintners could be substantial.

According to the Times, bats are dying off in record numbers and no one seems to know why. Three distinct species are dying off without explanation. As many as 90% of bats in some wintering caves have died off during the hibernation period. Lack of white and brown fat is evident as well as other tell-tale symptoms.

What does this have to do with wine, you ask? Bats eat bugs. And the bat population is responsible for eating a large chunck of bugs born every year. Without the tens and hundreds of thousands of bats (a doomsday prediction of as many as 250,000 bats might perish), that many more bugs will infest crops up and down the Hudson Valley as well as northern and central New York. Vermont and other New England farms will be affected as well.

To read more about this unidentified and scary epidemic, read the following article from the Times: