Cancerfighter’s Weblog

Alternative cancer therapies and ideas

The bats and the bees – are we heading for a natural catastrophe?

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on May 5, 2008

Are mobile phones responsible for the disappearance of the
bees?  And now the disappearance of the bats?  Read on to
find out what is becoming glaringly apparent…

1. First It Was Bees, Now It’s Bats That Are Dying
   April 11, 2008 – by Heidi Stevenson

Though bats are a bit spooky looking, inviting thoughts of
Dracula, the real horror story is that bats are becoming sick
and perishing. A massive bat die-off is happening. Their
extinction in the United States is threatening — and no one
knows why.

Just as news of the massive bee die off is fading away —
though not actually ending — the plight of bats in the United
States is starting to come out. The loss of bats may be an even
worse concern than the loss of bees, which are exclusively tame
and mass-raised — over-stressed, over-bred, and grown to be
over-sized. They’re used to pollinate crops, especially ones
that are not natural to the areas in which they’re grown, such
as almonds in California. Wild bees are doing just fine.

In contrast, the lost bats are all wild. They are the world’s
greatest insect eaters. A single nursing bat can eat half its
weight in insects every day. A small brown bat can eat as many
as 600 mosquitoes in an hour. The implications for agriculture
are enormous. The spread of severe communicable diseases could
be devastating.

The epicenter of this annihilation is New York, but there are
reports of die offs from as far away as Texas. Reports began
trickling in last year. It started with hikers noticing dead
and dying bats littered outside the caves where they hibernate.
They do not normally fly during the winter or daytime, and it
was quickly realized that bats flying when they should be
hibernating do not survive. They are, therefore, being called
“dead bats flying”. The loss of bats has cascaded this winter
to the point where researchers are expressing fear that an
extinction is underway.

The cause is unknown, though there is a name for the
phenomenon, White Nose Syndrome. It’s the result of a fungus
that’s particularly obvious on the nose and face, though it’s
found dotted all over the bats’ bodies. It is believed, though,
to be only a symptom of an underlying problem, as yet unknown.
There are theories, of course. Causes like virus and bacterial
infections are possible. Many bats have been found to have
pneumonia, but it is considered to be a secondary symptom, like
the fungus.

A more likely cause of bat die off is the use of pesticides.
Bats are known to be sensitive to the same toxins used to kill
insects — just as we humans are. The fact that there are
newly-introduced pesticides, specifically designed to stop West
Nile Virus, is suspicious. It may be that the bats are starving
from lack of food as a result of the new pesticides’
effectiveness. This could be the worst possible scenario, since
the ultimate effect of all pesticides has been the development
of pesticide-resistant insects. If the bats disappear because
of starvation, then eventually, when the insects have become
resistant, there will be nothing to control them.

There is reason to believe that starvation is the primary cause
of death. Dead bats’ fat reserves are depleted. Whether this is
the result of infection, toxins, or loss of food is unknown.

The bats’ behavior is severely disturbed. As previously noted,
they never fly during the day or in winter. Only sick and dying
bats have been emerging from their caves during the day in the
winter, when they are normally hibernating. They are also noted
to be hibernating close the the caves’ entrances, in contrast
with their usual inclination to go deeper inside. This might be
the result of being forced to search for food, but may also be
caused by another disturbance. Many diseases change the
behavior of their victims. A well-known example of this is
aggressiveness and fear of water in rabies victims.

What Bat Die-Off Means to Humanity

The first problem people note may be a profusion of mosquitoes
this year. Bats are nature’s primary means of controlling
mosquito populations. Although it’s possible that the excessive
use of pesticides will keep this under control temporarily, the
day must come when the piper will be paid, as new toxin-
resistant mosquitoes develop. Ultimately, these diseases are
likely to multiply aggressively — but by then, the bats that
keep them under control may be gone.

Major diseases borne by mosquitoes include West Nile Fever,
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Malaria, and Dengue Fever. All of
them are severe and life-threatening.

Crops may be affected. Bats are significant controllers of many
crop-destructive insects. As with diseases, the severity of the
risk is dependent on how long it takes to manifest — the
longer, the worse the effects. If pesticide use results in crop
loss occurring later, after the bats are gone, then it is
likely to be devastating.

What the Experts Are Saying

The president of Bat Conservation International, Merlin Tuttle,
has stated, “So far as we can tell at this point, this may be
the most serious threat to North American bats we’ve
experienced in recorded history.”

A wildlife biologist with Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife
Department, Scott Darling says, “Logic dictates when you are
potentially losing as many as a half a million bats in this
region, there are going to be ramifications for insect
abundance in the coming summer.” “Ramifications for insect
abundance” can be translated as massive mosquito outbreaks.

Unfortunately, there is much about bats that is unknown. Even
how many exist is in question, as new hibernacula (caves where
bats hibernate) are being discovered as bat bodies littered at
previously unknown cave entrances are discovered. This means
that the benefits of bats’ voracious insect-eating habits have
gone unrecorded, indicating that the cost of their loss may be
even greater than realized. Elizabeth Buckles, an assistant
professor at Cornell who coordinates bat research, has said,
“We’re going to learn an awful lot about bats in a
comprehensive way that very few animal species have been looked
at. That’s good. But it’s unfortunate it has to be under these

A study of the impact of Brazilian free-tailed bats of
southwestern Texas has shown their economic value to cotton
farmers to be worth between one-eighth and one-sixth of the
commercial value of the crops.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that most bats can
raise only one offspring a year. Thomas French, assistant
director for natural heritage and endangered species of
MassWildLife in Massachusetts, says, “High bat mortality is a
major concern because bats have a low reproductive rate. Most
bats raise one pup per year. It will take decades for bat
populations to rebound after a large die-off.”

Al Hicks, of New York’s Environmental Conservation Department,
was the first New Yorker to study the issue. Ironically, he
came into this issue attempting to delist a species called
pink-nosed bats. Now, though, he says, “If we assume only 50
percent decline at the new sites, we are talking hundreds of
thousands of bats that could die.” New York has seen at least
one bat cave’s population crash by 90% this winter.


Once again, we’re seeing the results of arrogance in ignoring
nature’s balance. In thinking that we can do it better than
nature, the result is devastation. Whether it’s pesticides or
something else wrought by behavior that results from short-term
profit-oriented thinking, rather than concern for the planet
that has nurtured us, the bats are under threat. Whether it’s
the loss of bees or bats or some other creature or plant, in
the end, we lose, too. Ultimately, the lesson that Mother
Nature cannot be fooled will be learned. Will it require the
extinction of humans?

About the author

Heidi Stevenson
Fellow, British Institute of Homeopathy
Gaia Therapy (
The author is a homeopath who became concerned with medically-
induced harm as a result of her own experiences and those of
family members. She says that allopathic medicine is the arena
that best describes the motto, “Buyer beware.”

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