By Anna Giles

YOLO COUNTY (CBS 13) — It’s that time of year when hundreds of thousands of bats flock to our region. These creatures of the night are a huge help to local farmers.

A drive on I80 from Sacramento to Davis will take you over what about 250,000 of these bats call home. The Mexican free-tailed bats come here for the heat as well as one of the best bug buffets Sacramento has to offer.

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“The weather has warmed up, the rice has been planted and there are many crops throughout the county and the Sacramento area that have been planted,” said Corky Quirk with the Yolo Basin Foundation.

Those crops, especially rice, attract different kinds of moths. Quirk said the bats crave them as well as beetles and mosquitoes. She said most of the bats living under the causeway are pregnant, hungry females. Over the summer, they will give birth and nurse their young.

“The bridge sort of serves like a cave. They’re in those little crevices and they’re safe up there,” Quirk said.

She said these bats save U.S. farmers more than $30 billion per year by eating harmful bugs. This reduces a farmer’s crop loss and the amount of pesticides they have to use.

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The bats start their hunt around sunset, something people all over the Sacramento area often stop to see.

“They kind of circle and then they exit. I call it a ribbon. Because it seems like they just go on and on and on,” Quirk said.

Quirk uses her passion for these nocturnal creatures to help people seem them differently. Hopefully as something not out of a horror movie.

“I’m trying really hard to help people overcome fears. Nocturnal animals get a lot of bad press,” she said.

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To help with that mission, the Yolo basin Foundation gives tours to show people the bats and explain how they help the region. Those tours are in person and start on June 8th