White-nose fungus, also called White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), is a fungal disease that is killing bats in the United States and Canada. The fungus, whose scientific name is Pseudogymnoascus destructans or Pd for short, is naturally found in Europe. But European bats have developed resistance to the fungus. Unfortunately, the white-nose fungus found its way to North America and has been killing bats since its discovery near Albany, NY in 2006.
How White-nose Fungus Kills
The fungus kills bats by attacking their skin which then irritates them and causes their hibernation to be disrupted. While that may not seem like a big deal it is for bats. Bats simply don’t have a lot of fat to spare. So every time they wake up, they consume precious calories needed to carry them through the winter. If they wake up to often, they essentially starve to death.
Scientists have been following the spread of white-nose fungus across the U.S. starting in the East. Biologists were hopeful that the Rocky Mountains may provide a barrier to the spread of white-nose fungus. But it was found in Washington state. And now with this recent announcement, has now been found in California.
We must be clear, that the full syndrome has not been found in California. Scientists have only found the presence of the fungus on bats. While it is likely that the presence will turn into the deadly syndrome, it is possible that the bats won’t develop the full disease. Time will tell.
In the meantime, it is essential that wildlife control operators use proper bat exclusion techniques to reduce the chances that their activities will spread the fungus to other bats. Consumers will need to demand that their wildlife control operators follow recognized protocols established by the White-Nose Syndrome group. At minimum, this means that one-way doors, also known as bat valves, are cleaned with 10% bleach or Lysol after each use. Other safe practices can be found at Whitenose Syndrome.org or by taking NWCOA’s Bat Standards Training.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel) along with several books (https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/store-2/). Listen to his podcast at PestGeek Podcast (https://pestgeekpodcast.com/). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. If you would like to have Stephen speak at your event or use his consultation services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.