Pest Control News:

Beneficial Bats at Risk



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Most people in the eastern states don’t even realize that they are seeing bats as they fly under street lamps in eastern suburbs, snatching up the insects that are attracted to the light. Bats are extremely beneficial for farmers who save an estimated $3 billion in pest control costs because the bats take care of the night flying insects. There is a new threat, however, that is causing bats to starve to death in winter.

The threat is a fungus that thrives in cold weather states, geomyces destructans. The fungus causes a disease in the bats called white-nose syndrome which causes them to wake from their winter slumber and use up the stored calories that keep them alive. The fungus was first identified and documented in New York just six short years ago. The disease is decimating the bat population in nineteen states and parts of Canada. Endangered bat species could disappear entirely from the wild.

Right now the fungus hasn’t yet spread to Mississippi, so some of the states may be safe simply because of the ambient temperature. The fact that more than a third of the continental US states are affected should be cause for concern, however. Bats do more than just eat insects; some provide pollination and even spread seeds in some areas. They are an integral part of our agriculture and our ecosystem. Remember that as go the crops so goes the economy.

It’s important to remember how delicate our ecological balance is and how closely that balance relates to the global economy. When a natural predator is reduced in the rural areas the result is more expense on production. The added expense of using pesticides to protect the crops translates to a higher price when coming to the marketplace. The loss of a great number of bats will also mean that some crops do not mature and that affects imports and exports in this country.

Arizona is not yet affected by white-nose syndrome even though caves all over the country could reach the proper temperature to promote the fungus that causes the disease. Please join with pest control in Gilbert by educating people about bats and spread the benefits of conservation by sharing this information.

Learn more about White-Nose Syndrome, how far it has spread and what can be done at




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