Monday, April 29, 2013

Bat Population in Pennsylvania in Peril

Little brown bat infected with
white-nose syndrome
I wanted to share with you an article and an update concerning the bat population in Pennsylvania. Many of you may have heard of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), I am not sure if many of you realize just how serious this disease is. It has literally decimated the cave dwelling bat population here in Pennsylvania and throughout the northeast and has now been detected as far south as Alabama.

WNS was first documented in New York in the winter of 2006-07 and first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2008.  It began killing cave bats in 2009. WNS refers to a white fungus on the muzzles and wing membranes of affected bats. This fungus is a cold-loving fungus affecting bats while they hibernate. While the fungus has been confirmed to be the causative agent of the disease, the specific mechanism on how it causes mortality is not fully understood. The Pennsylvania Game Commission web site has a lot of additional informaiton, including videos, fact sheets, and a range map. There is also a link to the US Fish and Wildlife Service's WNS site.

A number of bat species are now being considered for listing as either endangered or threatened. It is yet to be seen what that will mean for the forestry/timber harvesting community. We do know one thing for sure, the loss of bats will most certainly cause an increase in the insect population. Bats are insect eating machines, with a single bat having the ability to consume nearly a million insects per year. This is bad news for farmers and foresters as potential loss of crops could become increasing great. Risk of transmission of diseases like West Nile Virus may increase as well.

Ninety-eight percent of cave-hibernating bats have died in Pennsylvania, say biologists
Monday, April 15, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Natural News.Com

They serve a critical role in pollinating crops, killing insects, and fertilizing soil, but their presence throughout the state of Pennsylvania is in a disastrously serious decline. According to a new report by, 99.99 percent of bats living in Pennsylvania's second largest bat habitat were recently discovered to be dead, and a cohort of biologists currently studying the issue estimates that a shocking 98 percent of bats living throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania are now dead as well.

For many generations, tens of thousands of bats have made their home at an old abandoned iron ore mine in the Upper Bucks area of Central Pennsylvania. At least six different bat species resided in the mine, which has long been a key hibernation spot for bats during the cold winter months. But a recent inspection of the mine revealed that a mere handful of the approximately 10,000 bats that were believed to have lived there previously are now gone, and most of the few remaining bats are ill with a disease that will likely kill them.

To read the complete story click here.

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