White-Nosed Syndrome: Bats
White-nose Syndrome in bats is threatening to
destroy whole colonies of bats or even worse.
Why is this important to you?
Bats consume large numbers of crop and timber damaging insects. Fewer bats mean more insects, more crop damage and higher costs for everyone. Higher costs for other means of controlling crop-damaging insects means an overall increase in prices for the consumer as the goods reach the stores. As WNS continues to spread, we risk losing entire species of bats, such as the already endangered Indiana bat and many others. To date over 1,000,000 bats have already died from this disease just in the northeast region of the US.
How is WNS spread?
Transmission of the WNS fungus occurs through bat to bat contact, and inadvertently by humans who visit infected roosting sites such as caves and underground mines. So far there is no evidence that WNS is infectious to humans since the disease does not grow at temperatures above 68°F. There are currently no effective or practical treatments available for bats that already have the disease, prevention is the best option currently.
Signs of WNS in bats
Bats flying during daytime hours or roosting on the outside of buildings during winter.
Bats having difficulty flying especially during winter.
Large numbers of dying or dead bats (6 or more) especially at the opening of a cave or mine in winter.
Hibernating bats with white fungus on their face or wings during winter.
Bats with scarred or misshaped wings or tails at any time of the year.
If you see a bat showing any of these signs you are asked to notify the DNRE immediately.
For more information on what you can do please check out the following sites:
Michigan Organization for Bat Conservation (800) 276-7074
DNRE's Wildlife Disease Lab (517) 336- 5030