Watch out on cave trips as you could spread white-nose syndrome.
Bats are dying and that is a big problem for agriculture. Bats eat a lot of bugs and also help pollinate plants.
In fact, bats consume over half of their body weight in insects each night. It is estimated that if we lose our bat populations the agricultural damage sustained would be $53 billion each year. That’s billion with a B people!
The disease affecting bats is called white-nose syndrome. It is from a previously unknown cold loving fungus called Geomyces destructans. This fungus thrives in cave environments where the humidity is high and the temperatures are low.
It is not known exactly how this fungus kills bats but bats affected by it awaken during hibernation. This causes the bats to use up their fat reserves that they rely on to survive the winter. Unfortunately, white-nose syndrome has spread rapidly from where it was first detected in a cave in New York in 2006.
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