Fungus Causing White-Nose Syndrome In Bats Is Spreading

Kelli Wiese
May 08, 2019 - 1:56 pm
Flying Pipistrelle bat

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DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats is spreading more into parts of Central, South, and East Texas. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife mammologist Jonah Evans says, "This year it's been detected at 22 sites in 16 counties." He says there are now 21 counties in the state where the fungus has been detected. Evans says, "The amount the fungus has spread this year is concerning. But, we have yet to find any signs of white-nose syndrome."

The syndrome has killed millions of hibernating bats in the eastern parts of the United States. It only poses a risk to bats and does not pose any threat to humans.

It's believed white-nose syndrome stared in Europe where bats appear to be resistant to the fungus.

Treatments for white-nose syndrome are in early phases of development.

Bats play an really important role in the ecosystem by consuming large numbers of insects. Recent studies show the value of insect control by bats to agriculture is $1.4 billion annually in Texas alone. This value includes reduced crop loss to insect pests, reduced spread of crop diseases, and reduced need for pesticide application.