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White Nose Syndrome in Bats

BatsAs exterminators, we aim to protect you and your family from unwanted pests, critters, rodents and anything else that you don’t want in your house. For some, this may mean bats as well. After all, bats present a health risk because they may carry rabies, along with providing a feeding ground for dangerous fungus in their feces. Naturally, nobody wants a bat infestation in their home. But, bats play an integral role in the agricultural world and are interestingly one of nature’s most effective pest eliminators.

According to the US Geological Service, a single brown bat, which is typically the size of an adult thumb, eats 4-8 grams of insects every night. This translates to roughly 1,000 insects each and every night. Bats are a vital role as natural born insect predators because they target pests that attack crops (or possibly bite people). As a result, the US Department of Agriculture estimates bats save farmers billions in pest control.

Bats are our most important natural predators of night-flying insects consuming mosquitoes, moths, beetles, crickets, leafhoppers, chinch bugs, and much more! Many of these insects are serious agricultural or forests pests, and others spread disease to humans or livestock. Every year bats save us billions of dollars in pest control by simply eating insects.

We take pride in our ability to protect your home and property from pests, but recognize the impressive skillset of bats. As noted, bats do represent a risk if they are found in your home, but outside, they are relatively harmless to humans and provide a significant benefit to society. So when we begin seeing them die by the thousands…it’s time to take notice.

What is White Nose Syndrome?

White nose syndrome is a disease that impacts hibernating bats. The disease is caused by a fungus that grows on bats’ skin, which results in dehydration, starvation and frequently death. The fungus thrives in cold weather (between 40-60 degrees) and moves quickly through hibernating bat colonies that pack together in closed spaces to stay warm.

Initially found in 2006 (in New York), white nose syndrome spread to 35 states (and even Canada) while impacting 12 of the roughly 40 species of North American bats. Additionally, in the past five years, the fungus, which is scientifically known as pseudogymnoascus destructans, has killed over a billion bats. The fungus spreads across the muzzle and wings as it grows, which eats away at its skin. Eventually, all that’s left are fragile bones and scarred wings no thicker than tissue paper. According to the USGS, one common bat species declined over 90% in less than 10 years. Finally, scientists continue to study the disease because there is no cure.

As a result of the bat population decline, the agriculture industry may suffer downstream effects. To start, bats save farmers an estimated $3.7 billion annually in pest control services. Additionally, without natural predators, an excess of insects present unknown consequences on the environment and potentially human health.

How Does White Nose Syndrome Impact the Bat Population?

Unfortunately, white nose syndrome impacts the bat population in a few ways. Undoubtedly, the total number of estimated bat deaths is severe, but white nose syndrome also impacts bats behavior. For example, the disease actually disrupts bats’ ability to sleep, along with their hibernation cycles. The disorienting behavior causes them to become agitated and fly off with erratic timing. Additionally, white nose syndrome is known to cause bats to leave their roosts during the day or even abandon hibernation to fly off in the winter. All of this is extremely dangerous for bats because they have a significantly reduced immune system during the winter. As white nose syndrome thrives in cooler temperatures (40 – 60 degrees), the disease is far more likely to be contracted by bats during hibernation. Plus, the fungus then spreads quickly through the group as they roost wing to wing in their natural efforts to stay warm. Before long, entire populations are infected and wiped out.

White nose syndrome presents a serious disease to bats, but also impacts society as a whole because of the role they play in the natural ecosystem. Bats provide the first line of defense in pest control against insects and pests that eats crops. As a result, we want to make sure they stick around in New England, but not our homes, for a long time to come.


Due to the destruction of the species, bats are legally protected and should be removed from homes and buildings in a humane way. As a result, do not employ potentially lethal techniques to try to rid yourself of bats and contact a trained pest control team to remove any bats from your home or property. The trained technicians at Eliminate ’Em can humanely remove bats from your home and close up points of entry. The best time for bat removal services is during the fall or early spring. Interestingly, bat proofing isn’t done between May and mid-August because mothers are providing food for their pups and could be shut out of a house causing death to the young ones. We want to do our part to maintain an active bat population in their natural environment (and not your home).

Don’t hesitate to call for a FREE ESTIMATE NOW for professional and human bat removal services! If you have bats or anything else creeping or flying into your house, call Eliminate ‘Em NOW! 1-866-906-9070 (7378).