A colony of fruit bats is believed to be behind a spate of mysterious power outages plaguing Queensland sugar cane growers.
The disruptions have played havoc with pumped irrigation systems for 30 growers near Bundaberg across a dry summer growing period.
"The growers thought they were irrigating their crop all night but they'd get up and their pumps had shut down," Canegrowers Isis manager Angela Williams told AAP on Tuesday.
The culprits behind the outages remained a mystery until Friday when it was discovered members of Isis District Historical Society may have been collecting electrocuted bats' carcasses.
It appears the well-meaning townsfolk had been cleaning up early each morning masking the problem from investigators for months.
The bats' wings were shorting the power supply when they connected with two lines at once, Ms Wiliams says.
"We've got a lot of fruit crops here, like mangoes, avocados and lychees - the bats like lychees."
It's caused costly delays to cane growers, who are currently receiving below cost-of-production prices and preparing to harvest.
Canegrowers are hoping the problem has been solved after Ergon Energy increased the distance between the powerlines.
"I've checked with the growers and they haven't had any issues since it was resolved," Ms Williams says.
Australian Associated Press