The nectar bat, Glossophaga soricina, as a pest of bananas in Panama

C.S. Stephens, E.L. Tyson


The most common of the abundant bats on banana plantations is the nectar bat, Glossophaga soricina. While visiting a freshly exposed hand, the bat turns head down to feed on nectar, scratching and severely blemishing young fingers with its hind claws. This species lives in houses in the banana zone and hollow trees in the nearby rain forests, but the most common habitat is flood control tunnels under levees in banana farms. In one tunnel, 70 per cent of 453 bats were nectar bats. The remainder were fruit bats, mostly Carollia perspicillata. Bats in tunnels were destroyed by closing the entrances and inserting diesel oil torches to generate smoke. Fruit is protected by placing a polyethylene bag on the raceme before hands open.

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