ORCHARDIST Guy Gaeta says local fruit growers are in for a rude shock as flying fox numbers swell.
Mr Gaeta said on Sunday night he counted around 5000 flying foxes (bats) flying over the Ploughmans Lane area heading south towards Pinnacle.
“There are plenty of orchards out there, and I think it’s going to be a big problem,” he said.
Mr Gaeta said he believed the bats were mostly young with wing spans of only 500 or 600 centimetres.
“I’ve seen lots of bats over the years so I know they’re young,” he said.
“It’s going to be open slather because there were a lot of them and they’re going somewhere to eat.
“It would be enjoyable to see if they didn’t affect you, I’ve never seen them like that, except in Sydney.
“There’s way more this time than there were three or four years ago.”
Mr Gaeta said despite Orange councillor Reg Kidd saying he was chair of the Orange City Council’s local orchardists working group on flying foxes, and was monitoring bat numbers, that organisation was now defunct.
“I think Reg must be after the Green vote, because the group hasn’t met for years,” he said.
Mr Gaeta said some orchardists fear speaking out about the return of the flying foxes for fear of being labelled an animal hater while others hope to handle the problem themselves.