Geauga County: Bat colonies in danger from fungus

6:44 PM, Apr 25, 2011   |    comments
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GEAUGA COUNTY -- For insect control, they can't be beat. We're talking bats and they're just starting to come out of hibernation.

But these bug-eating machines are in danger from a strange fungus that was recently detected in Ohio.

WKYC Photojournalist Carl Bachtel tells us more about "White Nose Syndrome" and how it may affect Ohio's bat population, plus all of us.

At Jeff Knierim's Geauga County farm, summer brings tens of thousands of little brown bats. But colonies like this one are in danger from a cold weather fungus.

"It's already killed millions of bats through the Northeast part of the country and has spread to 15 different states," he said, "and that includes Ohio."

It's passed from bat to bat through close contact during hibernation.

It shows up as white tufts on their noses, waking them up early from their winter sleep.

They wake up, they don't have the resources for them to eat, and essentially, starve to death.

Without bats, summer's onslaught of insects will go unchecked.

These bugs can be pests to humans, like mosquitos that can spread West Nile Virus, but also pests to our forests and crops.

WKYC-TV

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