Texas bats are closely monitored by more organizations than bats are anywhere else.
- Bat Conservation International
- The Texas Department of Agriculture
- Texas Parks and Wildlife
- Texas A&M University
Just to name a few!
The bats of Texas are important for so many reasons. Which is what makes the discovery of white nose syndrome in Texas in 2017 so devastating to the community as a whole.
Why Are Texas Bats So Important?
Texas bats provide a huge economical and financial boost to the community. That’s right, a financial boost. How you may ask? Pest control.
Bats in Texas are the number one predator of many varieties of flying insects. Insects are the number one problem for farmers trying to grow crops. Farmers only have two options; pesticides or natural pest control.
Pesticides are harmful for the environment, harmful for the food we are about to ingest, and cost farmers a lot of money.
Bats are a benefit to the environment, don’t contaminate our food, and are a free resource for farmers.
It’s estimated that bats across the US save our agricultural community billions of dollars a year. Kind of a no-brainer, right?
Fungus that Causes White-nose Syndrome in Bats Detected in Texas
Samples collected between January 11th and February 22nd, 2017 by biologists from Bat Conservation International and Texas A&M University’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences and Institute of Renewable Natural Resources were analyzed as part of a National Science Foundation funded project led by University of California at Santa Cruz.
The fungus was detected on species of hibernating bats in six North Texas Counties: Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Hardeman, King, and Scurry. Surveys of sites in seven other counties didn’t detect the fungus — those counties are Coryell, Freestone, Leon, Panola, San Saba, Shelby, and Wheeler.
The three species of Texas bats that were found to be infected were the tri-colored bat, the cave myotis, and the Townsend’s big-eared bat. This is the first detection of the fungus on both the cave myotis and the Townsend’s big-eared bats. The Townsend’s big-eared bat has an isolated subspecies in the East, the Virginia Big Eared Bat that has already tested positive for the fungus.
White-nose syndrome does not infect humans and is only known to affect hibernating bats. The fungus thrives in cold, humid environments and invades the skin of bats, disrupting their hibernation and depleting their fat stores. Migratory Mexican free-tailed bats, which roost in the millions at popular sites such as Bracken Bat Cave, the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, and Old Tunnel State Park, do not hibernate for long periods during the winter, and are not expected to be at high risk for the disease. Although there is no known cure for white-nose syndrome, wildlife disease experts are actively working on several treatments to help improve survival.
How Can You Help Texas Bats With White Nose Syndrome?
There are two main ways that we know of for you to help Texas bats individually:
- Researchers have publicly asked for private landowners help finding caves of hibernating bats so they can do more sampling. If you own land where bats hibernate, please consider contacting the researchers at Texas A&M.
- Don’t kill bats you find in your home. If you find bats roosting in your home, please call us to humanely exclude them.
Right now, Texas bats need all the help they can get fighting white nose syndrome and keeping their numbers up. Let’s all do our part.
If you want to contribute to Bat Conservation International (which is a great organization we contribute to monthly) you can contact them here: http://www.batcon.org/
If you need help with a bat infestation in your home, call us today at 877-264-2287 or click the link below to have us call you.
Your local bat removal expert,