Halloween is the time of spooky things that go bump in the night. But according to author and scientist Rachael Long, one nocturnal creature should inspire admiration, not fear, especially among local farmers.

Bats may be squeaky, fluttery and live in caves, but they do only positive things for county residents wanting fewer disease-carrying mosquitoes, fruit-eating moths and other pests.

"They can eat, like, 600 mosquitoes in an hour," said Long, a bat expert who works as a farm advisor for UC Cooperative Extension.

In fact, the region's many species of bats eat their own weight in bugs per night - including serious agricultural pests such as cucumber beetles, stink bugs, leafhoppers, codling moths, cutworms and corn earworms.

That role includes tamping down the codling moth population in Yolo County's pear, apple and walnut orchards. Bats especially love to hunt among the trees, Long said, so they can be highly effective in thinning the moths' numbers, resulting in fewer larvae eating the produce.

For more, see: Bats not so creepy for Yolo County farmers